Failing Runoff Grade

By: Shane Symolon Email
By: Shane Symolon Email

Valley communities received a failing grade for how they are handling runoff that is polluting rivers and streams.

The Department of Recreation and Conservation says only one out of 11 regional communities passed.

Farmers are trying to help by setting up buffers between their fields and waterways so soil doesn't runoff, polluting streams. However the DCR says developers aren't doing not enough to get a passing grade.

"It’s polluting our streams and rivers and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay," says Augusta County Supervisor Wendell Coleman.

So the County is working to come up with stricter ordinances for builders, especially with high growth in the Fishersville area.

"All of a sudden, up the hill they start building more houses and if they don't put in the proper controls, then the first rain event we get, all the dirt washes down stream and gets in our streams," says Coleman.

Coleman says it's not just about making new rules. It's making sure things like silt fences are put in the right way.

"Install them properly. It's not just a matter of driving some oak stakes in the ground and stretching that black silt fence. You've got to dig down," says Coleman.

The county has also found a way to get more people to enforce the laws. After a downturn in the economy, building inspectors have more time to inspect for sediment control.

"We now know building is down by one third, and so they're already trained and licensed by the state to do inspections, so they'll be working with our community planning staff," says Coleman.


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