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Polluted Runoff

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By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | August 20, 2010
To be truly green, you have to get down and dirty, it seems. As Baltimore officials begin to tackle the polluted runoff fouling the harbor and the Chesapeake Bay, they are turning to a technique long used by farmers. It's not enough simply to strip off some of the city's ubiquitous pavement and plant grass. The ground beneath that asphalt and concrete often remains as hard and impervious as the man-made surface it's replacing. And the rainfall will just keep running off — washing fertilizer, pet waste, oil and other contaminants into storm drains and nearby streams.
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NEWS
July 3, 2014
The Maryland and Delaware Atlantic Ocean beach resorts got a bit of good news to kick off the summer season this past week. The latest survey by the National Resources Defense Council rates both states as having some of the cleanest beach water in the country. Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency water quality standards for swimmer safety (and the prevalence of disease-causing bacteria or viruses), Maryland had the fourth safest coastal beaches in the country. Delaware was the best overall.
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By Timothy B. Wheeler and Timothy B. Wheeler,SUN STAFF | October 7, 1997
Maryland and other states must do more to curb the polluted farm runoff that may have helped trigger outbreaks of a toxic microorganism in Chesapeake Bay this summer, federal officials told a state commission yesterday.But Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, a Republican who represents the Eastern Shore, warned members of the panel investigating Pfiesteria piscicida that the region's huge poultry industry would "crumble" if regulations are imposed on farmers' use of fertilizer."Any immediate mandatory regime would give us very little environmental benefits," Gilchrest said.
NEWS
By Wenonah Hauter and Julie Gouldener | March 7, 2014
We have taxed nearly every Marylander to pay for significant nutrient removal at wastewater treatment plants through the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fee, known as the flush tax, amounting to $60 per year for each household. Gov. Martin O'Malley also supported the so-called "rain tax" to manage urban storm water pollution. But when it comes to agriculture, the polluter-pays concept is discarded, and agriculture is instead offered hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to do what it ought to be already doing to reduce pollution runoff.
NEWS
By Scott Faber | October 3, 2000
WASHINGTON -- That nitrogen found in polluted runoff is poisoning many of the nation's rivers, lakes and estuaries is not surprising to many Americans. What is shocking is that the federal government is turning away farmers who want to be better stewards of the land. Every day, 40 percent of the farmers seeking financial and technical assistance to reform their tillage practices, install buffer strips and restore lost wetlands are being turned away by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, the nation's primary private land conservation agency.
NEWS
By Chris Trumbauer | September 20, 2013
I listened with curiosity to Harford County Executive (and Republican gubernatorial candidate) David Craig's broadside against clean water this week. I realize that as we close in on Maryland's 2014 election, campaign fodder often overtakes serious debate, but even so I was surprised at his rant against county stormwater legislation that he himself introduced and then signed into law. Polluted runoff is a serious problem. In Anne Arundel County, it is responsible for a blanket advisory from our health department warning our residents against water contact within 48 hours after a rainfall.
EXPLORE
June 10, 2013
Residents will see clear benefits from paying storm water fee Most people probably wouldn't let their child bathe in a storm drain. Yet allowing him or her to swim or wade in many of the creeks and rivers of Carroll County after a heavy rainstorm is virtually the same thing. That's because of storm water. It's not an everyday term, storm water. But it's a genuine problem. Storm water pollution is increasing around the region. Thanks to cooperation between government, business and citizens, water pollution from farms, sewage plants, and other sources has been reduced.
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler and Timothy B. Wheeler,Sun reporter | February 7, 2008
O'Malley administration officials urged lawmakers yesterday to leave them the flexibility to determine how best to spend a new $50 million Chesapeake Bay cleanup fund. But they pledged to rely on scientists' advice and on the administration's new computerized BayStat system to underwrite projects most likely to curtail polluted runoff from farms, suburbs and cities. "We realize resources in government and nongovernment are very tight," Natural Resources Secretary John R. Griffin told members of the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | June 20, 2012
Toll Brothers, one of the nation's largest home-building companies, has agreed to pay $741,000 in penalties for allowing polluted runoff from construction sites in Maryland and 22 other states, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday. The Pennsylvania-based builder was accused of failing to stabilize disturbed soil or properly install and maintain runoff controls such as silt fences, swales and sediment ponds. Forty of the 370 building sites found in violation by EPA are in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, where officials say storm-water runoff is a significant and growing source of pollution.
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler and Timothy B. Wheeler,tim.wheeler@baltsun.com | July 25, 2009
The latest round of state budget cuts is taking a couple of bites out of Maryland's efforts to restore the Chesapeake Bay, trimming plans to tackle polluted runoff from city and suburban streets and curtailing monitoring of the bay's health. State officials are cutting $2 million from the Bay Trust Fund, a special pot of money lawmakers had agreed on three years ago to earmark for curbing polluted runoff - a growing and particularly difficult problem for the bay. Originally meant to accelerate the pace of bay cleanup, the fund has been shrinking since its inception.
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | November 6, 2013
Turning up the heat on local politicians over a contentious stormwater fee, Maryland officials warned Carroll County that it faces fines of up to $10,000 per day for refusing to impose the mandatory pollution cleanup charge, and cautioned two other counties that they could be next. In a letter released Tuesday, the state attorney general's office notified Carroll officials that the county is in violation of a 2012 state law that required Baltimore City and Maryland's nine largest counties to adopt stormwater fees by July 1. The charges are to help pay for projects in each community to reduce polluted runoff from streets, parking lots and buildings.
NEWS
By Chris Trumbauer | September 20, 2013
I listened with curiosity to Harford County Executive (and Republican gubernatorial candidate) David Craig's broadside against clean water this week. I realize that as we close in on Maryland's 2014 election, campaign fodder often overtakes serious debate, but even so I was surprised at his rant against county stormwater legislation that he himself introduced and then signed into law. Polluted runoff is a serious problem. In Anne Arundel County, it is responsible for a blanket advisory from our health department warning our residents against water contact within 48 hours after a rainfall.
FEATURES
Tim Wheeler | September 20, 2013
Scientists and others engaged in protecting Maryland's rivers and streams are rising to the defense of the state's storm-water management laws in the wake of Harford County Executive David Craig 's call for their repeal. Craig, a leading Republican candidate for governor in next year's election, said earlier this week that he would push for repeal of at least three state environmental laws, including one requiring property owners in Baltimore City and the state's nine largest counties to pay a fee for reducing storm-water runoff in their communities.
EXPLORE
June 10, 2013
Residents will see clear benefits from paying storm water fee Most people probably wouldn't let their child bathe in a storm drain. Yet allowing him or her to swim or wade in many of the creeks and rivers of Carroll County after a heavy rainstorm is virtually the same thing. That's because of storm water. It's not an everyday term, storm water. But it's a genuine problem. Storm water pollution is increasing around the region. Thanks to cooperation between government, business and citizens, water pollution from farms, sewage plants, and other sources has been reduced.
FEATURES
Tim Wheeler | August 24, 2012
The Chesapeake Bay region's fledgling pollution "trading" programs are getting an infusion of federal funds aimed at encouraging farmers to participate. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Friday that it's awarding five grants totaling $2.6 $2.35 million to boost pollution trading efforts in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. They're part of $26 million in "conservation innovation" grants being handed out nationwide, including funds to support other water-quality trading along the Ohio River and in Oregon.
FEATURES
Tim Wheeler | August 13, 2012
The costly struggle to reduce storm-water pollution in Maryland may be harder than previously thought - because much of what's been done so far to control runoff has been misreported, allowed to deteriorate - or perhaps never even done. That's the upshot of a new survey by Owings Mills environmental consultant Richard Klein. Of 175 storm-water retention ponds, rain gardens and other "best management practices" for capturing runoff that he checked out in Baltimore city and nine of Maryland's largest counties, Klein found that 40 percent of them were either misidentified or impossible to find at all. Klein, founder and head of Community & Environmental Defense Services , relied for his survey on " StormPrint ," a computerized data base of storm-water controls that's been developed by the Maryland Department of the Environment.
FEATURES
Tim Wheeler | August 24, 2012
The Chesapeake Bay region's fledgling pollution "trading" programs are getting an infusion of federal funds aimed at encouraging farmers to participate. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Friday that it's awarding five grants totaling $2.6 $2.35 million to boost pollution trading efforts in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. They're part of $26 million in "conservation innovation" grants being handed out nationwide, including funds to support other water-quality trading along the Ohio River and in Oregon.
NEWS
By Carl M. Cannon and Carl M. Cannon,SUN NATIONAL STAFF | February 19, 1998
WASHINGTON -- In a daylong visit to Baltimore today, President Clinton will unveil an ambitious and detailed blueprint for improving the quality of America's rivers, lakes and coastal waters, including the Chesapeake Bay.The administration's $10.5 billion Clean Water Action Plan, obtained last night by The Sun, lists 110 "key action steps" intended to restore the estimated 40 percent of the nation's waterways that are too polluted for safe fishing or...
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | June 20, 2012
Toll Brothers, one of the nation's largest home-building companies, has agreed to pay $741,000 in penalties for allowing polluted runoff from construction sites in Maryland and 22 other states, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday. The Pennsylvania-based builder was accused of failing to stabilize disturbed soil or properly install and maintain runoff controls such as silt fences, swales and sediment ponds. Forty of the 370 building sites found in violation by EPA are in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, where officials say storm-water runoff is a significant and growing source of pollution.
NEWS
September 20, 2010
Imagine that you live near an industry that you suspect pollutes a river, a bunch of sewage treatment plants perhaps. You ask state government for records of how the plants have been regulated and what standards they must meet. Although the agency is required to provide those public documents, officials hem and haw and, unbeknownst to you, reach out to a trade group that then files a legal challenge to stop the release of information. A local judge agrees to issue a temporary restraining order.
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