Birmingham has had more than it’s share of woes as a result of stormwater runoff in the last few months.
The EPA fined Birmingham $3 million for a 2008 accident that killed more than half the known global population of the endangered watercress darter. (http://www.myfoxal.com/Global/story.asp?S=12704896)
Birmingham based McWayne was fined $13 million for multiple violations of the Clean Air and Water Act last week and has spent over $400 million to deal with storm water contamination at numerous locations.
Prevention might be a solution Birmingham could consider and North Carolina State University researchers have developed a computer model that will accurately predict stormwater pollution impacts from proposed real-estate developments allowing regulators to make informed decisions about which development projects can be approved without endangering water quality.
The model is designed to evaluate the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus found in stormwater runoff from residential and commercial developments particularly runoff from a completed project, not a site that is under construction.
State and local government officials, as well as developers, can plug proposed development plans into the model and get an accurate estimate of the level of nutrients that would likely be included in stormwater runoff from the completed development site. This would give officials key data that they can use to determine whether a proposed development project should be allowed to move forward or require additional stormwater treatment.
The model was developed by Dr. Bill Hunt, an associate professor and extension specialist of biological and agricultural engineering at NC State, NC State biological and agricultural engineering extension associate Kathy DeBusk, and Rich Gannon of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The model will be unveiled July 23 at a workshop on stormwater controls to be held at NC States McKimmon Center on the university’s Raleigh campus
A simple solution that avoids EPA fines — now that is a revolutionary concept for Birmingham and Alabama.
Birmingham would have to adopt the methodology on it’s own because the Alabama Department of Environmental Management will only cause delays and impede any progress this innovation provides to Birmingham.