Savage Branch library to receive stormwater improvements

The Howard County Library System's Savage Branch will be the county's next site for stormwater improvements, County Executive Ken Ulman announced Thursday.

Site renovations, which are scheduled to begin Feb. 13, will include adding pervious pavement to the library's parking area, a bioretention drainage swale and a cistern to collect rainwater that will flow from the library's roof. 

These projects and other stormwater improvements on the site will cost $1 million, according to county officials. The improvements are expected to be completed in June. 

"Every project we undertake is built with an eye toward environmental sustainability," Ulman said in a statement. "Our residents want us to do all we can to protect the Chesapeake Bay, and this means reducing polluted runoff from public facilities. We hope our residents recognize the value of this project, and the many more to come, and the positive impact these investments will play in our efforts to preserve this vital watershed." 

County Council member Jen Terrasa, whose district includes the Savage Branch, said the library "will be a model for stormwater management.

"We can and should lead by example," she said in a statement. 

The Savage Branch stormwater project is part of a county effort to mitigate stormwater runoff. Ulman has committed $22 million over the past two years for stormwater projects. In July, the County Council approved its version of a state-mandated stormwater fee that charges Howard residents between $15 and $90 a year, based on property size. The stormwater fee is projected to collect $9.5 million a year for stormwater projects, according to the county. 

Federal guidelines require the county to treat 20 percent of its impervious surfaces by 2019. 

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