County clarifies compliance with federal court stormwater ruling
Vancouver, WA – Clark County is complying with a recent federal court order, moving forward projects that received final engineering approval before Dec. 28, 2011. Customers who submitted applications after that date will be required to meet a state stormwater standard using the state’s methodology.
Projects that trigger a stormwater flow control provision must comply. The Washington State Department of Ecology’s method requires owners building new commercial spaces or residential subdivisions with large areas of hard surface to make runoff from a major rainstorm drain at the speed it did before the arrival of settlers of European descent.
In early 2010, Ecology and the county agreed to an alternative stormwater flow control program. Managing the amount and speed of runoff during storms prevents erosion and water pollution, and recharges groundwater.
The Rosemere Neighborhood Association, Columbia Riverkeepers and Northwest Environmental Defense Center challenged the program before the state Pollution Control Hearings Board, saying it violated the state’s clean water standards. On Jan. 5, 2011, the hearings board ruled in favor of the challengers. Clark County has asked the Washington State Court of Appeals to overturn the hearings board ruling.
In a ruling late last month, a federal District Court judge ordered the county not to issue any “permit or authorization” for a project that does not meet the state flow control requirements. Final engineering review is when staff determine whether a proposal meets flow control requirements.
To provide clarity to customers, Community Development has issued a memorandum outlining how staff will review and permit development and construction in order to comply with the injunction. For details, go to http://www.clark.wa.gov/development/index.asp and click on “What’s happening” in the bottom right corner.
Clark County will comply with the court order, and continue to work in partnership with the Department of Ecology to provide a targeted, organized and monitored approach to stormwater management, watershed by watershed.
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