Cardin proposes capturing highway runoff
Rain water that rolls off new or newly renovated federally funded highways would be collected and treated for pollution before it reaches nearby waterways under a bill introduced this week by Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin.
Heavy rains wash tailpipe emissions, brake dust, oil and other pollutants off highways and ultimately into drinking water supplies, Cardin’s office said Thursday. The bill, similar to legislation the Maryland Democrat introduced last year, would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to develop design standards for how to address the problem.
There are more than 985,000 miles of highway in the United States. During a hearing last year, Cardin said that every inch of rain that falls on a mile of two-lane highway produces 52,000 gallons of polluted runoff.
“Stormwater is the largest source of water pollution in our nation,” Cardin said in a statement. “We must design and construct roads in ways that address contaminated highway runoff at its source, reducing the chance of flash floods and stopping pollution before it reaches the waters of the Chesapeake Bay.”
Cardin, a longtime proponent of addressing runoff issues, is a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and chairs a subcommittee on water and wildlife. It’s not clear how much his proposal would cost.