CHARLESTON- A new guide is helping West Virginia communities reduce the impacts of polluted stormwater on the state's streams and rivers.
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said it has issued the West Virginia Stormwater Management and Design Guidance Manual.
Officials say the 500-page guide produced by the Center for Watershed Protection is the first of its kind in the state. State and federal funds were used for the $150,000 project.
The guide outlines ways to use plants and soils to reduce runoff volumes and pollutants at development and redevelopment sites.
The state environmental agency says the manual can be used as a design resource by any community interested in more effectively dealing with the harmful effects of polluted stormwater to West Virginia's waterways.
Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell said he had not seen the guide, but said the city has been following stormwater runoff regulations for several years.
"We will be looking at it in the future," he said. "We have a stormwater management board with council members, the utility board and engineers working in stormwater containment planning."
Newell said the city of Parkersburg prepares an annual report on its efforts and has been complying with stormwater mandates from the federal government and enforced by the state.
"The city has complied with the regulations and we have $500,000 in the line item for stormwater management," he said. "We have done a lot to inform and educate the public about the stormwater system."
Vienna Mayor Dave Nohe said the city adopted stormwater runoff regulations a few years ago that are similar to what is seen in the guide.
"Vienna has been using it for some time," he said. "We decided to get in gear or face a large fine if we do not comply."
Nohe said the regulations are a burden for the city and businesses.
"I think it's an over-reach of the EPA and costs businesses a fortune," he said. "We almost lost Cheddars over this; it has been a nightmare for businesses coming into the city and are added on top of all other fees."
Nohe said he was not a fan of the regulations, but he knew they were coming.
"We worked toward it for years; we have to retain the first inch of stormwater," he said. "Vienna is not a flood area; the only part that floods is down in the area around the railroad tracks and that is not in the city limits. It keeps business out and it is a horrible tax on them. An unfunded mandate, no help from government, paid for by businesses."
Nohe said the city of Vienna is responsible to supervise how businesses comply with the regulations, keeping city public works employees from other projects.