In 2010, the federal government required states to meet new standards under the Clean Water Act to address stormwater runoff pollution from impervious areas such as rooftops, sidewalks, driveways, roadways, and parking lots. To meet this mandate, Maryland’s governor signed into law House Bill 987 (PDF) requiring nine Maryland counties and the City of Baltimore to collect a fee from property owners to implement a program to help clean up stormwater runoff pollution from impervious areas.
Local Watershed Protection & Restoration Fund
In 2013, in response to this mandate, the Prince George’s County Council passed 2 pieces of legislation. The 1st bill, CB-45-2013, establishes a Clean Water Program, as required by state law; and provides for the setting, collection, and deposit of a Clean Water Act Fee into a local fund. This fund, the Local Watershed Protection and Restoration Fund, will be used for the following purposes:
Capital improvements for stormwater management, including stream and wetland restoration projects
Operation and maintenance of stormwater management facilities and systems
Public education and outreach relating to stormwater management or stream and wetland restoration
Stormwater management planning
Review of stormwater management plans and permit applications for new development
Grants to nonprofit organizations for up to 100% of a project’s cost for watershed restoration and rehabilitation projects
Reasonable costs necessary to administer the Local Watershed Protection and Restoration Fund
The 2nd piece of legislation (CR-59-2013) establishes a schedule of fees to be collected in order to fund the Clean Water Program. The County has developed regulations that establish procedures for determining the Clean Water Act Fee charge to properties, and the criteria by which certain properties may qualify for financial hardship, fee appeals, fee reduction credits, and alternative compliance. This fee will be paid annually by property owners through their property tax bill.