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Groups Sue Over Stormwater

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By Sabri Ben-Achour

Maryland's Montgomery County has received a new permit to regulate stormwater runoff. But several environmental groups are challenging it in court. The a case could have ramifications for the rest of the state.

The permits are meant to control stormwater runoff on a county by county basis. They include stormwater management plans, but Ed Merrifield, with Potomac Riverkeeper, says the permits aren't enforceable.

"They don't put numeric limits on the effluents - the pollution - that could be stopped. Unless you have limits on what really comes out of the pipes and goes into our streams, there can still be problems," says Merrifield.

A spokesman for Maryland's Department of the Environment says the county's permit is one of the most progressive in the nation, though he declined to explain how the permit was progressive. In a response to public comments posted last year, the Department said that it was not required to limit or check effluent from all storm drains, calling that cost prohibitive.

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