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Harrisonburg continues working to educate and inform its citizenry about polluted runoff, stormwater runoff, stormwater management, regulations, and the responsibility that is shared by the entire community. We want to know, what do you want to know about this topic?

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In 2015, the city will begin working on a Stormwater Improvement Plan that will identify drainage areas within the city, identify and prioritzes stormwater projects, and provide planning for required Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) pollutant reductions. What areas of the city should staff consider for the Stormwater Improvement Plan? What stormwater practices do you recommend?

4 Responses

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Peaceful Yard about 5 years ago

What storm water practices do you recommend?

Use City authority under 7-6-7 to ban coal tar parking lot sealant, the biggest human pollution source of PAH, the first know chemical carcinogen and a major and expensive threat to aquatic environments. For more see http://peacefulyard.com/flier.html

The main use of this product is to paint parking lots black so stripes will stand out. Alternatives exist at about the same cost but 1000 times less toxic.

Some businesses know this. A local high end shopping center applied an unknown sealant only under its striping. At least two low end shopping centers painted their entire lots with coal tar. To see and report possible contaminated locations see http://peacefulyard.com/map3.html

For a stormwater professional perspective on this issue see: http://www.stormh2o.com/SW/Articles/26041.aspx For code Harrisonburg can use toward such a ban see:

Sec. 7-6-7. Requirements to Prevent, Control, and Reduce Stormwater Pollutants by the Use of Best Management Practices.: "The City may require the use of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for any activity, operation or facility which may cause or contribute to pollution or contamination of the MS4."

from https://harrisonburg-va.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=A&ID=317410&GUID=B4567BD6-7EAF-4D8C-8C83-AE763DD020C0

0 Supports
 
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Sherrie Good almost 5 years ago

Rain Gardens! The more the merrier. They would look beautiful landscaped in all over town, and are the best natural way to control runoff. Stop the antiquated practice of asphalt paving parking lots, and use porous material instead. There has to be a way. Then put rain gardens all around the parking lots. Build more parking decks to take up less space. And for crying out loud start working to uncover Black's Run! Open it up and incorporate it like behind Beyond.

2 Supports
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Peaceful Yard almost 5 years ago

We need to shift attitudes to make this work: The Department of Community Development's refusal to relent on 16-6-58, Tall Grass and Weeds, started with opposition to bio-retention activity (rain gardens) within the city. 16-6-58 has been widely documented to have a chilling effect on deviating from conventional green space throughout the city, from church meadows to front yard gardens. One community leader specifically pointed out the rain garden at Liberty Park as something that is not appropriate within the city before learning that this was intentional and good. The city needs to take the lead by repealing this ordinance so people can feel like it is ok to try something different.

We similarly have a harmful attitude toward parking lot space. Not only are we not following the practices you suggest, we actually make our parking lots extra toxic by dumping a toxic byproduct of the steel industry on them- coal tar parking lot sealant. For details, listen to the webinar by experts from the USGS, the sole earth science agency for the US Department of the Interior. They are charged with providing impartial information on the health of the nation's ecosystems and environment, among other things: http://t.co/22XWLkR5LA

As posted above, the city can easily ban this product. Doing so would make it more difficult mislead business about the lifetime cost of a traditional parking lot and might encourage consideration of alternatives like those you mention. It would at least make existing parking lots far less toxic.

0 Supports
 
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Peaceful Yard almost 5 years ago

Sorry for the double, but it is not possible to edit these comments, so here is what I intended to post:

We need to shift attitudes to make this work: The Department of Community Development's refusal to relent on 16-6-58, Tall Grass and Weeds, started with opposition to bio-retention activity (rain gardens) within the city. 16-6-58 has been widely documented to have a chilling effect on deviating from conventional green space throughout the city, from church meadows to front yard gardens. One community leader specifically pointed out the rain garden at Liberty Park as something that was 'unacceptable' within the city before being informed that it was intentional and a good thing. The city needs to take the lead, send the right signal, by repealing 16-6-58 so people can feel like it is ok to try something different.

We similarly have a harmful attitude toward parking lot space. Not only are we not following the practices you suggest, we actually make our parking lots extra toxic by dumping a toxic byproduct of the steel industry on them- coal tar parking lot sealant. For details, listen to the linked webinar by experts from the USGS, the sole earth science agency for the US Department of the Interior. The USGS is charged with providing impartial information on the health of the nation's ecosystems and environment, among other things: http://t.co/22XWLkR5LA

As posted above, the city can easily ban this product, as Washington DC has done and as more and more states and localities are doing as word of the science spreads. Doing so would make it more difficult to mislead businesses about the lifetime cost of a traditional parking lot and might encourage consideration of alternatives like those you mention. It would at least make existing parking lots far less toxic and could save the city vast sums in future clean-up costs when this inevitably becomes banned nation wide.

0 Supports