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Virginia Issues First Big Runoff Permit

Some good news on the stormwater runoff front...

Earlier this week, Virginia approved a major runoff pollution permit for Arlington County, Va. The permit, designed to better treat polluted stormwater running off Arlington streets and parking lots, should lead to cleaner local streams, a less polluted Potomac River, and a healthier Chesapeake Bay.

“This permit -- the first of 11 to be issued by Virginia to the state’s largest localities -- marks a major step forward in meeting the Commonwealth’s Chesapeake Bay clean water goals,” says Peggy Sanner, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Virginia senior attorney. “It will help ensure more effective treatment of polluted urban runoff before it can harm local streams.”

StormwaterThe permit is technically called an MS4 permit (for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) and is good for five years. It requires Arlington, a highly urbanized Washington, D.C. suburb, to cut its nutrient and sediment pollution in runoff by 5 percent by 2018. The permit also requires Arlington to plan ahead to further reduce runoff pollution by an additional 35% by 2023.

The permit allows Arlington two years to develop a detailed plan known as a Chesapeake Bay Action Plan to comply with the pollution reduction commitments Virginia made in its Clean Water Blueprint for restoring the Bay. The public will have an opportunity to review and comment on the plan, and after the plan is approved by the state, the county will have three years to implement it.

“If the permit is fully implemented over the coming years and similar permits are in place for the state’s remaining localities, Virginia will make significant progress toward achieving its clean water commitments to citizens, the region, and the Bay,” Sanner added.

Paddle for the Bay

Want to get wet, have fun, exercise, and help restore the Bay, all in just a few hours? Then sign up for Paddle for the Bay, a paddling event open to all ages and abilities on Saturday, August 10, in Norfolk, Va.

Paddle4Bay 8.7.10 011The event features a 6-mile race in the Chesapeake Bay among kayaks, outrigger canoes, stand-up paddle boards, and surf skis. Or if you’re not the racing sort, relax and paddle a 3-mile fun course in the Bay. It’s all to benefit the conservation efforts of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF).

Advanced registration is $25 and includes a free one-year CBF membership. For more information, contact Tim Jones at or call 757/404-6603.

Chuck Epes

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

(Top photo, courtesy of Arlington County)


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