Carroll County News

County, towns to share costs of stormwater projects

An agreement is close to being signed that would put Carroll County and its eight municipalities under the same federal permit and result in proportional sharing of the anticipated $12 million cost of federally-required stormwater mitigation projects.

The county and municipalities are seeking to be put under the same National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Phase 1 permit. They have previously been under two separate permits with the more populated county under Phase 1 and less populated municipalities under Phase 2.


Under the proposed agreement, the costs of stormwater mitigation projects within the boundaries of the municipalities would be split, with the county paying for 80 percent and the municipalities paying 20 percent. Roughly $9 million in anticipated costs would be the responsibility of the county, while the municipalities would be responsible for about $2.2 million in anticipated costs.

In addition, the county government also would be responsible for covering the full amount of stormwater management projects outside the municipal borders, adding $12 million to the county's projected total.


The Carroll County Board of Commissioners are expected to vote on a memorandum of agreement on the arrangement at the end of the month.

State and federal agencies will review the NPDES MS4 permit application and are expected to issue the permit at the end of the year.

Had the county decided not to cover a large portion of the costs expected to be incurred by the municipalities' projects, the result would have been "extreme financial burden on our towns," said Commissioner Richard Rothschild, R-District 4.

The municipalities, he said, have had to cover a lot of costs due to environmental regulations and requirements.

"To hit them again with these kinds of costs [would have] really jeopardized the economic viability of our towns," Rothschild said. "It jeopardized our businesses, it jeopardized our farmers, it jeopardized out entire human and natural environment in our towns.

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"The county had to step in to rescue our towns from the detrimental effects of these mandates."

Commissioner Haven Shoemaker, R-District 2, said he wouldn't characterize the county's funding participation as a "rescue."

"A more apt description is a recognition of the fact that we're all in this together," Shoemaker said. "We're pooling our resources to deal with what we have coming down the line."


The NPDES MS4 permit program was established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the 1990s to control water pollution by regulating pollutants discharged into U.S. waters at identifiable locations, or "point sources." Jurisdictions must pay for projects that mitigate the effects of impervious surfaces, which block water from getting into the ground and replenishing aquifers.

Brenda Dinner, special projects coordinator for the county, said the benefit of the county and municipalities being under a unified permit, is that all jurisdictions get credit for stormwater mitigation projects wherever they are performed in the county.

"Once we all come under one permit, and the jurisdictional boundaries are gone, every project, everyone gets credit for," she said. "A project in one place isn't for one specific jurisdiction, it's for all of us."

Reach staff writer Christian Alexandersen at 410-857-7873 or christian.