Storm Water Runoff Issue Moves to Forefront After Recent Storms - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Storm Water Runoff Issue Moves to Forefront After Recent Storms

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The heavy flooding across the area over the last few weeks not only has short-term inconveniences, but long-term storm water runoff can wash harmful chemicals into untreated waterways.

It can pollute our drinking water and affect local wildlife.

"Storm water is an issue that can affect every single one of us," Cave Spring Supervisor Catherine Moore says. "Especially due to the storms, I think people now know how powerful water is when we have storm damage."

Moore is helping bring the issue of storm water runoff to the forefront by bringing together local leaders and the community to continue taking action.

"We need to be aware of what we put in our storm drains and what goes into storm drains," Moore says.

A number of speakers asked the public to do their part by doing things like keeping trash cans covered, picking up after pets, and creating a rain garden.

However, with new Environmental Protection Agency regulations set to take place next year, many leaders can agree fixing all the drainage issues in the region will be a costly venture.

The standards will be much stricter on the amount of storm water runoff allowed. If the regulations aren't met, it can result in big fines for each locality.

"Bottom line: this is going to cost money," Williamson Road Area Executive Director Wendy Jones says. "You can't do any initiative without having to pay for it. So, we need to be aware and be involved and we need to have some input."

Jones came to the meeting representing several businesses on Williamson Road in the county and city.

She says she wants to be able to prepare the owners for possible storm water utility fees.

"Everyone needs to know what's coming down the pipe and we all need to make it work the best for our community," she says.

Many counties, including Roanoke, are kicking initiatives into high gear, hoping to beat the looming EPA deadlines by next summer.