In nature, storm water is absorbed by the soil, which acts as a natural filter, removing harmful toxins before the water seeps into streams, ponds, lakes, and underground aquifers. Storm water run-off, meanwhile, is rain or snowmelt that flows over land and does not permeate the soil because of manmade surfaces, such as roads, sidewalks, and parking lots. In urban areas, storm water falls directly on cement and asphalt pavements and has nowhere to filter out harmful contaminants. As a result, those contaminants are washed into waterways without undergoing natural filtration. This is a very serious problem that can result in severe stream bank erosion, flooding, and the degradation of the biological habitat of these waterways.
Storm water run-off can also impact us in other ways, including:
- Reducing infiltration can lower ground water levels
- Reducing infiltration can affect drinking water supplies
- As storm water runoff moves across surfaces, it picks up trash, debris, and pollutants such as sediment, oil and grease, pesticides and other toxins.
- Changes in ambient water temperature, sediment, and pollutants from storm water runoff can be detrimental to aquatic life, wildlife, habitat, and human health.
The New Impervious Surfaces Tax (“Rain Tax”)
There are three certainties in life: death, rain, and taxes. We are already taxed when we die (death tax), so why not tax us when it rains?
In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency ordered Maryland to reduce storm water runoff in the Chesapeake Bay to reduce nitrogen levels by 22% and phosphorus levels by 15%. And what is the cost to do this? $14.8 billion. And how do we pay for this? You guessed it, taxes.
By taxing “impervious surfaces,” or any surface that prevents rain water from naturally seeping into the earth, Maryland’s Montgomery, Prince George’s, Howard, Anne Arundel, Carroll, Harford, Charles, Frederick, Baltimore counties will work towards raising the $14.8 billion needed to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. The money will be used to build and maintain stream and wetland restoration projects, public outreach and education, grants to nonprofit organizations, as well as the “monitoring, inspection, enforcement, review of stormwater management plans and permit applications and mapping of impervious surfaces.”
The 10 rain tax counties must raise $482 million annually in order to finance the $14.8 billion storm water cleanup bonds by 2025. 75% will be funded by homeowners, while 25% will come from non-residential property owners.
Storm Water Management
Storm water management involves the planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, financing and regulating the facilities that collect, store, control and convey storm water. Storm water management and the maintenance of storm water management facilities require the expert knowledge of a professional, like Reliable Contracting. Our Utility Division is responsible for installing water and sewer lines, storm drains and storm water management systems – creating strong foundations for efficient and environmentally-friendly commercial and residential land development in Maryland.
The benefits of effective storm water management include:
- Minimizing polluted storm water
- Reducing the impact of polluted storm water on Maryland’s waterways
- Reducing the risk of erosion
- Maintaining an uninterrupted water cycle
- Minimizing health risks
- Reducing the risk of urban flooding
- And more!
If you have any questions about The Impact of Storm Water Run-off & the New “Rain Tax” in Maryland, please contact Reliable Contracting today by calling 410-987-0313 or visit our website. You can also follow Reliable Contracting on Facebook and Twitter!
Reliable Contracting serves Central-Southern Maryland.