Arlington city recently passed new legislation under the authority of the Clean Water Act designed to curb run-off and discharge of pollutants into Virginia’s rivers and streams. In response to the increased Chesapeake Bay cleanup requirements, Arlington officials have enacted a permitting process for any activity that would have a potentially damaging effect on Virginia’s natural resources, stream and rivers. Arlington is not the first municipality across the U.S. to use a permit program to help mitigate the pollution flowing with storm water into Virginia’s natural water ways.
Commercial carwashes have long been required to have specific filtration systems and infrastructure in place that meets local storm water and omissions management standards. Under the new regulations large scale, non-commercial carwashes such as those held for charities and fundraising and other activities are prohibited from taking place on any property where runoff water drains into natural resources. Officials say that while one carwash event may seem harmless, the effects of multiple and repeated events can increase pollution and have devastating effects on local water systems. The new efforts will prohibit group activities where wastewater goes directly into storm drains carrying oils, toxins and other pollutants. Washing your personal car in a driveway or other privately owned property will remain primarily unregulated.
Fundraising events such as the car wash have been a widely popular practice in Virginia and many other parts of the country. Many organizations fear that enforcing these new restrictions might have costly implications for groups and causes that depend on consumer contributions as one of their largest financial support systems. Officials are focusing on educating people about cleaner ways to hold carwash events, such as holding them on a field where the water can be filtered through the soil, by using biodegradable soaps, or partnering with a commercial carwash to hold charity events.
Municipalities face a great deal of challenges when establishing new legislation, especially when the legislation results in conflicting policy goals. Many municipalities face challenges when crafting new regulations such as accusations regarding mismanagement of, or improper administration of, funds, grants, or budgets and improper granting or denying of permits or licenses are other targets of recent litigation. There is also an exposure to claims against failure to protect public trust, including failure to properly insure, attend meetings or to examine documents. The balancing act can be tricky and even at the best of time public officials often face legal prosecution and hurdles simply because a critic does not support their policy stances.
The specialists at Professional Government Underwriters understand the challenges municipalities and public officials face. PGU specializes in assembling Virginia Municipality Insurance programs that meets your specific risk exposures, requirements and concerns. Our Public Officials and Municipality insurance specialists can help ensure that you are properly protected in the event of any legal dispute or claims brought forth. Please Contact Us today for more information about our coverage offerings.