DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT ANNOUNCES STORMWATER ENFORCEMENT SETTLEMENT WITH PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY
Consent decree includes $475,000 penalty, requirements for additional work to reduce stormwater pollution
BALTIMORE (June 1, 2021) – The Maryland Department of the Environment announced an agreement with Prince George’s County to resolve violations of the county’s municipal stormwater permit.
The agreement, outlined in a consent decree filed in Prince George’s County Circuit Court, imposes a $475,000 penalty for the failure to complete all of the stormwater runoff reduction work required by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit issued by MDE to the county in 2014. The penalty can be satisfied through the construction of one or more MDE-approved supplemental environmental projects by December 31, 2024.
The consent decree also requires timely completion of stormwater work still remaining under the 2014 MS4 permit. The settlement calls for additional penalties for failure to meet progress milestones.
“This enforcement action reflects the state’s priority on preventing stormwater pollution and growing green infrastructure for clean water and climate resilience throughout the Chesapeake Bay,” said Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles. “We appreciate Prince George’s County for stepping up to improve environmental performance under its permit and agreeing to an enforcement decree, including penalties, schedules, and supplemental environmental projects.”
Under the MS4 permit, Prince George’s County was required to implement stormwater treatment practices on 20% of its untreated impervious surface area – totaling 6,105 acres – by the end of the five-year permit term. MDE’s approved restoration total for the county is 2,387 acres, resulting in a deficit of 3,718 impervious acres that have not been restored as required, the consent decree states.
Under the consent decree, the supplemental environmental projects that would satisfy the financial penalty must be projects that will clearly treat stormwater runoff and are located in the county, with a minimum cost of $475,000. MDE is working with the county to identify a supplemental project in a community disproportionately burdened by pollution or historically under resourced. The county cannot count the impervious acres treated through supplemental projects toward its permit requirements.
The consent decree was docketed May 27 by the Prince George’s County Circuit Court. The agreement is subject to court approval.
MDE recognizes that Prince George’s County has continued to work toward completion of its required impervious area restoration since the expiration date of its most recent MS4 Permit. In addition to overseeing implementation of the consent decree, MDE expects to issue another MS4 Permit to the county in draft form for public comment before the end of the year.
MDE has proposed a series of municipal stormwater permits to counties and Baltimore city to advance Chesapeake Bay restoration while reducing flooding and making communities more resilient to the effects of climate change.
To help support this statewide work, in 2019, MDE’s Water Quality Finance Administration guaranteed $108.3 million in low interest loans to counties and local governments for stormwater restoration projects, and another $213.2 million in low interest loans are pending for planned projects. The Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund awarded an additional $36.5 million in grants to stormwater programs for restoration projects. 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 Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts for decades to come. In addition to providing financial and technical support, MDE has helped to streamline and improve the agency’s permitting process for local stream and wetland restoration projects.
# # #