New Stormwater Regulations Promote Low Impact Development

Aug 1, 2012

Polluted stormwater runoff is the number one threat to clean water in the populated parts of the Northwest. Wednesday, the Washington State Department of Ecology issued new permits to manage the problem.

Every time it rains, pollutants like pesticides, gasoline, heavy metals – all the remnants from our daily activities – are rinsed off the landscape. Paved surfaces provide the perfect conveyor belts to funnel those pollutants into nearby waterways.

Local municipalities are charged with figuring out how to limit or prevent that from happening.

Ted Sturdevant is the head of the Washington State Department of Ecology. He says dealing with stormwater runoff comes down to a simple question:

Sturdevant: “Can millions of people live in a rainy climate on rivers, bays and Puget sound without killing them. I think the answer has to be yes. These stormwater permits aren’t the entire answer but these take a big step forward down that path.”

The new permits promote low-impact development and installing things like rain gardens to absorb runoff.

$5 million have been set aside to train local governments and contractors on how to implement the new requirements over the next five years.

Copyright 2012 KUOW