IW likely to keep stormwater regs

Published 11:52 am Saturday, November 19, 2016

Isle of Wight County’s stormwater division is assessing its options in moving forward with operational and capital spending following the termination of its Virginia Department of Environmental Quality municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permit, which imposed environmental protection regulations on the county’s sewer system and a specific timeline for their implementation.

According to Assistant County Administrator Don Robertson, the county’s MS4 permit was officially terminated this past spring after the county determined that its does not own or operate an MS4 within the regulated area, and the DEQ agreed with the county’s assessment.

“The MS4 permit mandates a heightened level of regulation requiring localities to do certain things to mitigate against pollutants,” Robertson said. “Not having an MS4 permit or having it terminated means those things would not be required; however, we would likely still do them because we want to be good stewards of the environment in our community, but we can now do them on our own time table.”

Isle of Wight County was first issued an MS4 permit in 2010 based on data gathered from a very small but urbanized part of the county.

During the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors’ meeting on Thursday evening, Doug Fritz, senior water resources planner with GKY Associates, gave a presentation on the county’s stormwater system and stated that only approximately 1.5 percent of the county’s stormwater infrastructure and associated watersheds contained population densities high enough to warrant MS4 regulation in 2010. In 2013, the county established a stormwater utility fee of $6 per month, raising about $1.7 million in stormwater funding, to construct the stormwater management facilities mandated in the MS4 permit.

According to Fritz, the county will still maintain erosion and sediment control as mandated in the MS4 regulations and may still opt into local implementation of the Virginia stormwater management program even though the county no longer has an MS4 permit and is no longer legally required to do so. He added that pollution reduction requirements for land uses would remain in effect.

Robertson said that the money raised will still go to the new stormwater facilities it was raised to fund, but that the facilities will likely be constructed in a different order than what the now-terminated MS4 permit would have required.

In his presentation to the board, Fritz cited livestock with direct stream access, untreated stormwater runoff and eroding riparian zones as being some of the most common sources of stormwater pollution in the county.

The county has approximately 10 stormwater facilities they are still required to maintain and an additional five facilities have been proposed for the future.