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StormwaterPA Blog: PA Gets a Flunking Grade In Chesapeake Stormwater Network Scorecard
The StormwaterPA Blog reported this week on a review of Pennsylvania's stormwater management program by the Chesapeake Stormwater Network:

The Chesapeake Bay constitutes the largest watershed in Pennsylvania and by a large measure - without going into a major treatise on pollutant loading - it is fair to say that nonpoint source pollutant loads (as well as point source loads) originating in Pennsylvania are of major importance to water quality and the overall health of the Bay.

Tom Schueler’s Chesapeake Stormwater Network recently released its First Annual Bay-wide Stormwater Performance Scorecard 2009, a comprehensive evaluation of stormwater management program efforts in the 5 states tributary to the Bay (District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia).

Although some progress has occurred, the general sense of the Scorecard is depressing, reflecting the array of water quality monitoring reports that have emerged in recent months showing lack of progress.

Overall, says the report, the Bay states are not fully utilizing their existing regulatory programs to improve the quantity and quality of runoff generated from existing urban lands, despite the fact that most of these programs have been in place for a decade or longer.

So, how does Pennsylvania fare?

Ratings are made across 10 management tools or measures deemed most significant by the Network: stormwater permits for larger communities, stormwater permits for smaller communities, updated stormwater regulations, stormwater manuals/technical guidance, state outreach to municipalities, public outreach, industrial stormwater permitting, construction stormwater permitting, permitting, compliance & enforcement, and state and local stormwater management financing.

Pennsylvania rates very poorly, achieving the lowest Overall Grade of all five states (though Maryland isn’t much better). Just as painful is the “absolute value” of its grade, D, which is about as close to flunking as you can get!

-- Pennsylvania scored especially poorly (Fs) in the Public Outreach and State/Local Financing categories,
-- got a D- in both Permit Enforcement and Construction Permits,
-- and received Ds in both Stormwater Permits for Smaller Communities and MS4 Outreach.
-- Pennsylvania’s only high grade (B) came in the Stormwater Manual category.

Recent weekly blogs here have reported on PADEPs ongoing efforts to undertake revisions to its Pennsylvania Stormwater BMP Manual, an effort which many environmental organizations including the Pennsylvania Campaign for Clean Water worry will reduce the rigor and effectiveness of stormwater management designs across the state.

Even more sobering is the fact that all of this evaluation for the Scorecard has been undertaken many months before the latest round of PADEP budgetary cutbacks, the general sense of which will make stormwater management weaker in Pennsylvania.

The Scorecard Report is an easy 20 page read and sets the stage for the increasingly rigorous legislation relating to the Bay coming out of Washington and EPA. We’ll discuss what’s being proposed and the implications for Pennsylvania, in future weeks.


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