Polluted Stormwater Runoff

Our urban and suburban streams and rivers are plagued by polluted runoff every time it rains. This polluted runoff is the fastest growing source of water pollution in our region due to over development, weak regulations, outdated infrastructure, and increasing frequency and severity of storms due to climate change. Stormwater transports trash, oil, and toxic chemicals into our waterways, and causes severe flooding. And when sewers overflow, raw sewage flows into our rivers – and sometimes into people’s basements – causing public health crises. The impacted communities are often the most disadvantaged and overburdened by pollution. Our Waterkeepers are using several strategies to reduce polluted stormwater runoff, ensuring that our neighborhood streams, rivers and bays become fishable and swimmable once again, and our drinking water supplies are protected.

Waterkeepers Chesapeake and several Riverkeepers have been fighting to get the states to issue permits that adequately control polluted runoff. We support state legislation, push counties, and argue in the courts to get:

  • enforceable limits in the permits
  • regulations and development guidelines that use up-to-date precipitation data to account for increasing frequency and severity of storms due to climate change
  • public participation processes when agencies set deadlines and limits
  • adequate monitoring and compliance timetables
  • requirements for the elimination of non-stormwater pollution discharges

You can make a difference!

Report polluted runoff to your local Waterkeeper. Find yours here: https://waterkeeperschesapeake.org/our-waterkeeper-members/

Document polluted runoff with photos and video by using our Water Reporter app: https://www.waterreporter.org.  Download it today!

Support legislation that strengthens the permits and regulations to reduce urban and suburban polluted runoff.


Latest Posts

Environmental Organizations File Lawsuits Against Flawed Maryland Industrial Stormwater Permit

Deficient permit will not protect waterways and fails to address environmental justice issues As a result of major flaws in the Maryland Department of the Environment’s (MDE) final Industrial Stormwater General Permit, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Blue Water Baltimore and Gunpowder Riverkeeper, as well as the Potomac Riverkeeper Network and Waterkeepers Chesapeake on Friday filed … Read more

Waterkeeper Water Quality Monitoring Shows Increases in Pollution Due to Climate Change

Every year our Waterkeepers work hard to gather information about the conditions of our local rivers, streams, and coastal waters. Waterkeepers compile this information in unique ways to share their findings with their communities, and to encourage people to access and recreate on their local waterways. Waterkeeper water quality programs provide a valuable public service. … Read more

A Virtual Legislative Season Yields Important Clean Water Wins

This virtual state legislative season was like no other. Rightly so, COVID-19 and police reform were priorities. Even so, we’re happy to report that the General Assemblies in Maryland and Virginia wrapped up with some significant clean water wins, thanks to the actions you took to support these bills! Maryland The Maryland General Assembly passed … Read more

Press Release: Maryland General Assembly Strengthens Clean Water Protections

Three bills improve regulations and enforcement under Clean Water Act (Takoma Park, MD) – This week, the Maryland General Assembly passed three important bills on climate adaptation, citizen intervention, and environmental enforcement reporting that will lead to stronger implementation and enforcement of the Clean Water Act protections.  “Next year is the 50th anniversary of the … Read more

Maryland Matters: Report: Md. Not Doing Enough to Reduce Stormwater Pollution in the Chesapeake Bay

Report: Md. Not Doing Enough to Reduce Stormwater Pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, Elizabeth She, August 18, 2020 Maryland engages in credit trading, which means officials are “moving pollution from one area to another” — such as focusing on agricultural runoff rather than stormwater runoff, Betsy Nicholas, executive director of Waterkeepers Chesapeake, said at Monday’s … Read more

Baltimore Sun: New report faults Maryland for failing to plan for stormwater pollution in Chesapeake Bay

New report faults Maryland for failing to plan for stormwater pollution in Chesapeake Bay, Hallie Miller, August 17, 2020 Betsy Nicholas, executive director of Waterkeepers Chesapeake, a water advocacy organization, said Virginia, which borders the Bay along with Maryland, has been moving in a better direction than its neighbors. She said development permits in Maryland … Read more

New Report Documents Retreat by PA and MD in Efforts to Control Stormwater Pollution in Chesapeake Bay

During a Time of Growing Rainfall Caused by Climate Change, Many States and Cities Planning Infrastructure Based on Outdated Data Washington, D.C. – During a time of growing rainfall, flooding, and runoff pollution caused by climate change,  a new report by Environmental Integrity Project documents that Pennsylvania and Maryland have gone backwards in their efforts to … Read more

Harrisburg Water Monitoring Shows Unsafe Levels of Bacteria in 33% of Tests in Susquehanna River this Summer

New Report Reveals Pennsylvania’s Backtracking on Commitments to Control Stormwater Pollution FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, August 17, 2020 Media contacts:  Ted Evgeniadis, Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, (609) 571-5278 or lowsusriver@hotmail.com Tom Pelton, Environmental Integrity Project, (443) 510-2574 or tpelton@environmentalintegrity.org Note: A press conference will be held beside the Susquehanna River at 11 am on August 17 in Riverfront Park … Read more

A Big Year for Clean Water Legislation in Maryland and Virginia!

We had some important legislative wins for clean water in Maryland. But first let’s give a big shout out to the amazing win in Virginia on cleaning up a legacy of toxic coal ash stored on our river banks! Virginia Safe Disposal of Coal Ash – Great news in Virginia! On March 20, Governor Northam signed into … Read more

Urge Maryland to Enforce Laws to Stop Polluted Runoff!

Good news! The Sediment and Erosion Reporting Act (House Bill 703)​ has passed the House and Senate. We now need Governor Hogan to sign it. Send an email urging him to sign this important bill that will allow for better annual reporting and, ultimately, enforcement on stormwater pollution related to construction activities.​ Stormwater runoff remains … Read more