June 18, 2007
NEW BUILDING RULES INTENDED TO REDUCE WATER POLLUTION AND FLOODING
Charlotte, NC - A set of new ordinances will literally change the landscape in Mecklenburg County's six towns and a small area in southern Mecklenburg County where the County has zoning jurisdiction. The
Post-Construction Storm Water Ordinances
take effect on June 30.
A set of new ordinances will literally change the landscape in Mecklenburg County's six towns and a small area in southern Mecklenburg County where the County has zoning jurisdiction. The take effect on June 30.
Mecklenburg County and towns of Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Matthews, Mint Hill, and Pineville each adopted the
ordinance in recent months to comply with federal and state laws. The goal of the ordinances is to reduce water pollution and local flooding problems that can result from development or redevelopment of land. National studies show it is cheaper and more effective to deal with storm water runoff on-site than to pay the cost of removing pollutants from surface waters or repairing flood-damaged property.
The new ordinances apply to most large residential or commercial property development and redevelopment. As part of the mandatory building permit process, developers will have to design and implement measures to detain and filter storm water runoff on the property, rather than piping excess rainfall into the storm water drainage system. These measures vary depending on the site but can include leaving a specified amount of undisturbed open space or buffers, and creating specially-engineered wet ponds, wetlands, storm water detention ponds, and other similar devices.
Click here for some examples of storm water management devices that developers might use to comply with the Post-Construction Storm Water Ordinances.
If an inch of rain falls on an acre of forest in Mecklenburg County, all of the rainfall is absorbed into the soil. If that forest is replaced with a one-acre parking lot, the same inch of rain generates 27,000 gallons of storm water runoff. That runoff is now piped directly into our creeks. The increased volume of water in creeks can cause downstream flooding. That large amount of water can also erode stream banks, clogging the stream with sediment.
As excess rainfall flows over roads, parking lots or lawns, it picks up chemicals such as oil, antifreeze, pesticides, fertilizers, and toxic metals. Seventy percent of the pollutants in our streams and lakes are carried there by storm water runoff. Area lakes provide our region's source of municipal drinking water.
The six Towns and Mecklenburg County each adopted a version of a draft ordinance written over eighteen months by a local stakeholders' group representing business, development, real estate, environmental, and academic interests. The City of Charlotte is reviewing a version of the Post-Construction Storm Water Management Ordinance and is expected to consider it within the coming year.
Learn more about the
Post-Construction Storm Water Ordinances at
or by calling