South Carolina's Lowcountry is seeking storm water policy reforms.
A regional ordinance for regulating storm water management is potentially in the works for Bluffton, Beaufort County and other communities across the southern Lowcountry in South Carolina.
Members of the Southern Lowcountry Regional Board created a storm water technical sub-committee in 2017, reported Bluffon Today. A sub-committee was tasked with developing a regional approach to the issue through an encompassing ordinance and design manual.
The ordinance and manual are almost finalized and are available for online public viewing. They could be submitted to Bluffton, Beaufort County, Jasper County, Hardeeville, Beaufort and Port Royal councils for approval as early as this month, according to Bluffon Today.
“Water does not respect jurisdictional boundaries, yet we’ve been trying to regulate water in such a manner and it’s not been an effective approach,” said Bluffton Watershed Management Division manager Kim Jones at an informational meeting.
Out of the eight communities asked to participate, only the town of Hilton Head Island and town of Ridgeland will continue to operate under their own storm water guidelines.
Members of the town’ May River Watershed Action Plan advisory committee asked for more regional support and consistency at an Oct. meeting when a study showed that fecal coliform bacteria levels in the May River have gradually increased over the last two decades.
“Overall, [we’re] seeing a statistically significant increase of fecal coliform trends, so obviously the storm water management guidelines that we currently have in place are not giving us the effect that we want, which is no downstream degradation,” said Jones. “We are also hearing from our constituents across the region that they want to see less clear-cutting and more green infrastructure and adaptability and resilience elements.”
A key improvement in the proposed design manual is its spreadsheet tool, reported Bluffon Today.
Residents in the six affected jurisdiction are encouraged to read the documents at https://www.beaufortcountysc.gov/stormwater/index.html.
Public comments can be submitted for consideration through Feb. 17, 2020.