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EPA recognizes West Va. partnership for storm water project

Release Date: 10/31/2007
Contact Information: Roy Seneca seneca.roy@epa.gov (215) 814-5567

PHILADELPHIA – (October 31, 2007) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, Berkeley County, W. Va. and the city of Martinsburg, W.Va. for their partnership effort to create an innovative rain garden to control harmful storm water runoff.

The project, which included contributions from seven other groups, involved setting up a rain garden in the parking lot area adjacent to the Berkeley County Judicial Center in Martinsburg. A rain garden is a shallow depression of native grasses and plants that collect storm water runoff from downspouts, driveways and roads. This rain garden is also used as demonstration project to show other groups and communities what they can do to control storm water runoff.

“The partnership effort serves as a great example of what municipalities and other organizations can do to protect the environment by controlling storm water runoff,” said Donald S. Welsh, administrator for EPA’s mid Atlantic Region. “Retaining as much storm water as possible on land – rather than letting it run to storm drains – can help keep harmful flows and pollutants out of our streams and rivers.”

The West Virginia DEP and communities were recognized under the Leadership in Low Impact Development Recognition Program that was created by a cooperative agreement between EPA’s mid-Atlantic region and the Low Impact Development Center in Beltsville, Md. to highlight exceptional efforts in storm water management.

Low impact development is a storm water management strategy concerned with maintaining or restoring the natural hydrologic functions of a site to achieve natural resource protection objectives. Low impact development addresses storm water through small, cost-effective site design and landscape.

More information on low impact development can be found at http://www.epa.gov/owow/nps/lid/ and more information on the recognition program can be found at www.lowimpactdevelopment.org/recognition .