Carroll County government has set aside $20.5 million to complete more expensive stormwater runoff projects over the next five years after having already done projects that are "low-hanging fruit."
County staff recently gave a presentation to the Carroll County Planning and Zoning Commission on the status of the county's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit application. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System is a permit program that was created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the 1990s to control water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into U.S. waters.
The permit includes certain requirements for stormwater mitigation and analysis over the span of the five-year permit, according to Tom Devilbiss, deputy director of county Department of Land Use, Planning and Development. The problem, Devilbiss said, is that the county's already done stormwater runoff projects that are easier and less expensive to complete.
Devilbiss said the county has already spent $10.1 million to treat approximately 1,537 acres of impervious surfaces since 2005, so now, the county must do more expensive projects to treat nearly 500 acres of impervious surfaces for the new permit.
Carroll is slated to spend $20.5 million to meet the requirements for the permit. The plan, Devilbiss said, is to upgrade the county's aging infrastructure.
"It's not just a compliance issue, this is an infrastructure maintenance issue," Devilbiss said.
Planning Commission Chairman Alec Yeo noted that the county has spent $6,571 to treat each acre of impervious surface since 2005. Yeo wanted to know what the county thought a measure for success was to treat impervious surfaces during the duration of the next permit.
Devilbiss said it was his goal not to spend more than $25,000 to treat an acre of impervious surface in the county. More urban jurisdictions, like Baltimore City, have had to spend $60,000 to treat impervious surfaces less than an acre in the past.
Devilbiss said the permit will be reviewed by the Maryland Department of the Environment and the EPA. The permit is expected to be issued to the county by the end of the year, he said.
The county's five-year permit expired in 2010. The county applied for a new permit in 2010, but the state has taken a lot of time processing it. During that time, the county has operated under the 2005 NPDES permit.
Reach staff writer Christian Alexandersen at 410-857-7873 or email@example.com.