Department of the Environment Issues Stormwater Permits for Large Maryland Jurisdictions, Advances Climate Resiliency and Equity
The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has issued a series of municipal stormwater permits to advance Chesapeake Bay restoration while reducing flooding and making communities more resilient to the effects of climate change.
Maryland’s Municipal Stormwater Permits
When it rains, stormwater washes excess nutrients, chemicals, and dirt from impervious surfaces, such as buildings, roads, and parking lots into local waters and the Chesapeake Bay. Excess stormwater runoff can also flood local communities, scour sediment from waterways, and degrade the health of stream systems.
MDE’s MS4 permits continue the state’s robust work to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution from stormwater as part of a larger effort that requires all sectors, such as sewage treatment plants and septic systems, in Maryland and the surrounding region to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay.
The MS4 permits are a result of extensive stakeholder engagement. Maintenance of existing infrastructure is essential and the new permits require local jurisdictions to maintain the previous stormwater pollution reduction efforts while also requiring additional stormwater pollution reduction to restore waterways. The additional restoration requirements are to reduce the impacts of impervious surface areas that have little through stormwater treatment with green infrastructure and other techniques. These new permits meet Maryland’sChesapeake Bay commitments and also increase accountability, enhance public education and include innovative and cost-effective monitoring options.
In the next five years the new permits add another 19,000 acres to the 35,000 impervious acres restored under prior permits. This restoration encourages climate resiliency and green infrastructure and at the same time continues to advance innovations such as pay-for-performance contracting, public-private partnerships, and new technologies. The permits also include new incentives for climate resiliency and green and blue infrastructure projects.
Maryland’s 11 phase I urban jurisdictions have established themselves as national leaders in reducing stormwater pollution by collectively investing over $1 billion in clean water infrastructure. Since July 2019, MDE’s Water Quality Finance Administration has guaranteed $117.8 million in low interest loans to counties and local governments for stormwater restoration projects, and another $257 million in low interest loans are pending for planned projects. During the prior MS4 permit term, which started in 2014, the Chesapeake Bay Trust awarded an additional $36.5 million in grants to stormwater programs for restoration projects, which leveraged another $27.7 million in matching funds. Maryland continues to push for additional federal funding for local stormwater projects – especially for those that increase climate resiliency in underserved communities and for those that help sustain our Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts for decades to come.
Advancing Stormwater Resiliency in Maryland
Urban flooding is a growing issue in Maryland. The increasing number of extreme rainfall events that produce intense precipitation will continue to lead to more urban flooding events unless steps are taken to mitigate their impacts. The Maryland General Assembly recognized the need to address urban flooding with the passing of Senate Bill 227. The Bill tasks the Maryland Department of the Environment (Department) with developing plans to evaluate current flooding risks and update regulations to improve urban stormwater flood management. The "Advancing Stormwater Resiliency in Maryland
" report provides a roadmap towards modernizing stormwater management in Maryland.
Where Do We Start?
The Department is taking action through collection of data sets, development of tools and web applications, targeting funding opportunities, developing outreach and education and updating stormwater regulations. Step one is performing a statewide comprehensive urban flood management assessment. With the help of local floodplain and stormwater managers, the Department will identify and characterize Maryland’s urban flooding events and report the current state of local stormwater and flood management programs. For more information on this effort, please visit the Advancing Stormwater Resiliency in Maryland