Berlin Stormwater Pilot Program Eyed

BERLIN – Assistance on Berlin’s stormwater dilemmas may be forthcoming with the Grow Berlin Green (GBG) initiative pursuing a grant to allow testing of new stormwater technology in town.

GBG is applying for a grant from the Maryland Coastal Bays Program (MCBP) to conduct a pilot program study on ways to manage stormwater quality in Berlin. The study will cost $6,500 and be undertaken by Dave Rovansek of GMB Architecture and Engineering.

The study will focus on new stormwater management technology that could be pilot tested in town, said GBG Director Steve Farr. The study will consider ways to save money and address environmental impacts of stormwater.

“One of the focuses will be to test emerging technology,” said Farr. 

Rovansek said he planned to look into emerging stormwater technology and see what products fit Berlin’s water quality improvement needs, such as underground stormwater storage systems.

Many of these technologies are not approved by the Maryland Department of the Environment, but the state would like to see how those installations actually work and collect real data from in field testing, Rovansek said.

“We’re trying to be proactive,” said Rovansek.

The GBG effort will complement the town’s approach to stormwater management, town officials said.

“Obviously, this year we will be addressing a stormwater management ordinance as we are now required to by the state,” said Berlin Mayor Gee Williams.

As of June 1, the town will be responsible to the state for all stormwater discharge to local ditches, streams and the like, which means the town has to examine the ways it handles stormwater and new methods to handle unsolved run-off problems.

GBG’s plans “dovetail neatly” with the town’s approach, Williams said, and clearly show the benefits of public-private partnerships.

“It brings some resources to the table we ordinarily would not have,” said Williams.

Any improvements to stormwater quality will have an immediate and long-term positive impact on the community, he said.

The town council agreed to support GBG’s grant request with a letter to MCBP.

“It’s a no brainer,” said Councilman Elroy Brittingham.

“Clearly, we’ll support anything that doesn’t cost us any money,” Councilman Paula Lynch said.