SELC Combats Watered-Down Runoff Controls in Alabama
With every square foot of new pavement and every acre of land cleared for development comes the increased threat of polluted runoff, the leading cause of poor water quality in the Southeast. With encouragement from SELC and its partners, EPA has sent Alabama back to the drawing board on a new permit for regulating the runoff that drains from streets, parking lots, sidewalks, and construction sites in small cities and towns that have their own municipal sewer systems. Under pressure from developers and other interests, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management weakened its initial draft of the permit substantially, removing clear, enforceable standards and inserting fuzzy language that makes it easy to wriggle out of compliance. Echoing many of the objections we raised in a detailed critique we filed with the agency, EPA is demanding that ADEM toughen up the permit to meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act.