Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) reintroduced legislation on May 5 - the Safe Treatment of Polluted Stormwater Runoff Act (STOPS) – [S. 898]. The legislation requires all federally funded highway and road projects to meet performance-based standards to reduce the flow of millions of gallons of polluted stormwater runoff from our nation’s highways. Details of the STOPS Act include:
· The STOPS Runoff Act is based on a program created by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that created a design standard for maintaining or restoring the existing hydrology of construction sites for all new federal buildings and major renovations to existing federal facilities.
· STOPS Runoff applies to new federal-aid highway construction as well as major highway rehabilitation projects.
· The legislation applies to federal-aid highway projects that disturb five or more acres of land. This threshold is based on Clean the Water Act ‘s NPDES requirement for construction
· The Department of Transportation must establish minimum design standards to maintain or restore the predevelopment hydrology of the landscape for federally funded highway and road projects.
· The legislation requires that the maintenance of predevelopment hydrology, preservation of natural landscape and stormwater mitigation approaches be a part of the site selection, design and engineering process.
· The bill aims to minimize, and avoid when possible, the alteration of natural land features and encourages the use of natural features and existing terrain to control and treat stormwater runoff onsite.
· The legislation allows for flexibility and the incorporation of offsite stormwater treatment to be used when necessary to fully meet the design standard requirements.
EPA Fact Sheet: “Nonpoint Source Pollution: The Nation’s Largest Water Quality Problem