Issue Brief: The Safe Treatment of Polluted Stormwater (STOPS) Runoff Act

The Issue

ASLA supports legislation that encourages siting and designing transportation projects in manner that utilizes landscape architecture design techniques to minimize stormwater runoff.

Background & Analysis 

The Safe Treatment of Polluted Stormwater (STOPS) Runoff Act (S. 898) is aimed at treating and containing stormwater runoff at or near highways to prevent polluted stormwater from reaching nearby rivers, streams or other waters.  Specifically, the Department of Transportation would establish design standards to maintain or restore pre-development hydrology levels for new and rehabilitated federal transportation projects.  The measure would require siting and design standards that minimize, and avoid when possible, the alteration of natural land features and existing terrain to control and treat stormwater runoff. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), stormwater runoff is the largest source of water pollution in our nation.  Highway runoff sends pollutants, including tailpipe emissions, brake dust, oil, sediments, road salt and other de-icing agents, and others, into our drinking water supplies. With nearly one million miles of highway stretching across the country, highway runoff is a major contributor to our nation’s polluted water supplies.  By establishing siting and design standards that utilize the natural typography for transportation projects, highway runoff can be effectively mitigated in a cost-efficient manner.

Current Status: 

The Safe Treatment of Polluted Stormwater (STOPS) Runoff Act (S. 898) was introduced on May 5, 2011, and was referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and is awaiting further action.


Senator Benjamin Cardin (MD) and cosponsors.


 The Safe Treatment of Polluted Stormwater (STOPS) Runoff Act (S. 3602) was introduced during the last Congress on July 15, 2010.  However, the 111th Congress expired before there was any further action taken on the measure.  


S. 898: Bill Text

Senator Cardin’s Press Release “Cardin Introduces Bill To Reduce Polluted Stormwater Runoff From Highways.

EPA – Polluted Runoff: Roads, Highways and Bridges.

ASLA Related Policies


ASLA Government Affairs 

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