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City Program to Prevent Stormwater Pollution Earns BUBBA Second Place

A city program that seeks to stop commercial facilities from polluting storm drains and streams recently took high honors in the Chesapeake Stormwater Network’s Best Urban BMP in the Bay Awards.

Better known as the BUBBAs, the program bestows the prestigious regional awards every other year on stormwater projects using BMPs, or best management practices.

Rockville’s Reimaging Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination program earned second place in the Innovative Stormwater Permit Implementation category. The category recognizes innovations in administering stormwater permits, which limit the type and volume of pollutants that can be discharged into waterways.

Seeking to improve its detection of illicit discharges of pollutants by eliminating pollution at its source, the city, with approval by the Maryland Department of the Environment, shifted its focus from inspecting outfalls, such as where sewer pipes discharge into streams, to inspecting commercial facilities. The program ramped up, beginning with inspections of food service establishments, before expanding to auto businesses and stone cutters. Continued expansion will include large retail centers, followed by smaller, light-industrial businesses such as landscapers and carpet cleaners.

The program provides businesses with educational materials about good housekeeping and best management practices that they can follow to prevent water pollution, such as keeping grease dumpsters closed and away from storm drains or prohibiting outside washing to prevent runoff.

“The judges overall felt this could be a very transferrable approach for other small municipalities and a great way to target resources at some of the dirtiest sites in a local watershed,” according to the project description on the Chesapeake Stormwater Network website.

For more about the project, visit

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