program offers options to reduce stormwater fees for churches and nonprofits
LARGO, MD – On
Friday, the Prince George’s County Department of Environmental Resources (DER) announced
the expansion of its Clean Water Program with a new element that will offer
stormwater fee reduction credits and grants to qualified religious entities and
501 (c) nonprofits. The Alternative Compliance Program (ACP) establishes a reasonable and equitable fee
alternative for these groups to comply with Federal and State regulations issued
under the Watershed Protection and Restoration Program to help slow and cleanse
stormwater runoff pollution.
ACP is part of the County’s
Clean Water Program and has received national attention and strong support from
area religious leaders, builders and the environmental community for its
innovative approach to financing water infrastructure projects. The program’s overall goal includes the
creation of 5,000 new green jobs, public-private partnerships (P3), local
business development, grants and rebates, and the collection of modest property
“We are thrilled to have this
partnership with our churches and nonprofits to meet our Federal mandates while
acknowledging the special status of these institutions,” said DER Director Adam
Ortiz. “We are glad to be able to come
together to clean up our County, rather than be in conflict.”
“By collaborating with the County on
this important effort, we will be able to build awareness on the importance of
environmental stewardship within our communities and congregations,” said
Reverend Nathaniel Thomas, of Forestville New Redeemer Baptist Church,
Moderator Elect of the Prince George’s County Baptist Association.
. “This program will
encourage groups and organizations to develop strategies that will promote
engagement and environmental public education.”
Three key program options of the
A 50 percent reduction
in the impervious area fee if a property owner provides a temporary right-of-entry
easement for the County to install stormwater best management practices (BMPs)
on property owned by the organization.
The property owner is responsible for maintaining the BMPs and is
subject to tri-annual inspections by DER to continue receiving the credit.
A 25 percent
reduction in the impervious area fee if the property owners agree to take part
in the County’s outreach and education campaign to encourage, track and report on
congregation property owners’ participation in the County’s Rain Check Rebate
Program for restoration. Groups can also
receive a reduction if they develop an environmental green team or ministry to perform
and implement green programs such as planting rain gardens, adding rain barrels
or tree planting.
A 25 percent
reduction in the impervious area fee if a property owner agrees to use lawn
management companies certified in the proper use and application of fertilizers
to maintain their green areas and lawns.
The property owner must also agree to good housekeeping practices to
ensure clean lots.
Nonprofit groups may also
apply to DER for a grant to offset up to 100 percent of a project’s cost for
watershed restoration and rehabilitation projects relating to the planning,
design and construction of BMPs, stream and wetland restoration, and public
education and outreach. Organizations
receiving grants are strongly encouraged to utilize County-based businesses for
projects, except where the County’s Office of Central Services finds
insufficient local business capacity for a particular good or service.
To apply, groups can fill out
the County’s ACP application form online and submit through the CountyClick 311 Web
site or mail an application to DER’s Stormwater Management Division. Organizations will be contacted by an agent
who will assist in developing the alternative compliance plan elements,
determine which option(s) are feasible to implement and submit the plan in
writing to DER. Once received, DER will
make the final determination of the fee reduction credit awarded. All options are subject to County approval and
inspection in order to continue the credits.
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