New single-family home construction in Poolesville poses potential harms to the environment

Over the past decade, small town Poolesville, Maryland has seen enormous growth in new developments and the construction of single-family homes, which pose a threat to the surrounding environment.

Since 2010, the number of developments in Poolesville has been increasing at a rapid rate. While these developments have been in the works for almost a decade, the 2008 recession slowed the construction progress. In recent years, however, construction has skyrocketed. In general, it is not the town that asks for growth, but rather the builders that intend to develop the land. The town master plan dictates the amount of growth that occurs in Poolesville, and the building that was written in the master plan several years ago is happening now. Benefits lay in incremental growth, which is why the town has been developing over the course of the last ten years, rather than all at once.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) noted that single-family homes are of very high demand in today’s economy, and yet new single-family home construction has been one of the most economically-burdensome this past year. Construction of new developments have a large effect on the environment: mining for materials, waste removal, eroding soil, disrupting habitats, and polluting air and water are effects of construction, just to name a few. The US Green Building Council estimates that 41% of the total energy use worldwide comes from the daily operation of buildings.

Energy use isn’t the only thing that comes from construction– the construction sector contributes to 23% of air pollution, 50% of the climatic change, 40% of drinking water pollution, and 50% of landfill wastes. While the high demand for single-family homes will not go away, they are becoming so environmentally harmful that many have begun to look into how to protect the land from any more damage.

The EPA rules that “the protection of the environment should come first at the outset of any construction project.” However, simply implementing a basic rule will not change the fact that construction can do a great deal of damage to the developed land. For this reason, the EPA has set warnings and suggestions for builders when dealing with harmful chemicals, the discharge of water, and sediment controls. The Town of Poolesville and its builders must consider the EPA regulations when building, along with zoning requirements, park land, stormwater management, and location of streams and valleys.