Stormwater update from the city of Roanoke

By: Christopher Blakeman – City of Roanoke, Environmental Administrator – Blakeman manages the city’s Office of Environmental Management and is responsible for ensuring the city’s compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (540) 853-2425.



A considerable amount of news media coverage and discussion has recently been generated as a result of the presentation made to Roanoke City Council on Jan. 22nd by myself and staff from our Engineering Division, and Planning Department. I’ve been asked by your association’s Executive Director, Wendy Jones, to provide a summary and clarification of some of the key issues.

Stormwater Review & Update

Everyone who lives or does business in the City of Roanoke benefits from our storm sewer system. In most cases, when we get a good rain, it doesn’t flood our streets where it would impede traffic and hinder emergency services, and our sidewalks and parking lots are generally free from standing water that may create a hazard, or nuisance. So we all benefit, and for those conveniences we can be thankful for our storm sewer system.

Urbanized areas need such a system to channel stormwater away due to their high concentration of hard surfaces like rooftops and streets, but those same areas also have higher concentrations of people. Human living generates pollution such as garbage, oil/grease, heavy metals, sediment and more.


These pollutants are harmful to our waterways, to the point where prior, current, and likely future, generations of citizens ask that it be stopped, or at least minimized. But how? This issue crosses vast areas, and if an upstream community does nothing to curb the pollution, it stands to limit the beneficial efforts by a downstream community. This is a case where a grand fix is called for. In the US, our government answered this call with the 1972 Clean Water Act, and some of the regulations of that Act are just now getting down to us at the community level.


Watershed Assessment = Doctors Visit

To determine a fix for all of this pollution, we need an understanding of the scope of the problem. Here, a variety of experts have closely examined our water ways and the pollution sources to see what’s wrong and where, much like going to the doctor if you’re not feeling well, or for a regular check-up. ......


Click here for the entire Spring 2013 Newsletter


Knox-box rapid entry systems

WRABA would like to make you aware of a security feature that could save unnecessary expense in the case of a fire, medical emergency or fire alarm call.  This device could save lives!  It is called a KNOX-BOX Rapid Entry System.  This system provides secure, non-destructive emergency access to commercial and residential properties 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  To date more then 8,000 fire departments and government agencies use KNOX-BOX equipment for safe and secure rapid entry.

What does it do?  The KNOX-BOX system  securely mounts to your building and acts as a lock box holding the code or keys to your property in a way in which only emergency personnel can access.  It ensures time saving response to false alarms and gives firefighters or emergency personnel safe entry to your property with our force or injury.  Imagine you have an emergency and the only way in is to breakdown your front doors.  The expense of door replacement can be very high and is an avoidable expense.

Also imagine you or an employee are in your building with a medical emergency.  You were able to reach the phone to call 911, but you are unable to get to the door and let them in.  The KNOX-BOX could literally  save your life!

How does it work?  The KNOX-BOX is mounted on your property and can only be accessed by emergency personnel.  Upon response to a call or alarm at your location, the emergency personnel access the property via the KNOX-BOX preventing extensive damage and reducing precious moments to handle the situation.

Beginning September 1, 2006, Roanoke Fire-EMS made it mandatory for all new business owners, with a new fire protection system, to purchase the KNOX-BOX Rapid Entry System.   

Business Owners with existing systems that cannot have a key holder on the premises within 20 minutes will also be required to install a KNOX-BOX Raid Entry System.

Premises with locked gates that limit accessibility to buildings will be required to purchase KNOX-BOX Rapid Entry System.

Please  contact the Roanoke City Fire Marshal’s Office at (540) 853-2795 or the Roanoke County Fire Marshal’s Office (540)777-8732 for more information and to order your KNOX-BOX Rapid Entry System.....

7th Annual Roanoke Greek Festival September 14, 15 & 16 2012

Submitted by Pete Simopolus, Festival Chair

The 7th Annual Roanoke Greek Festival will be held on September 14th, 15th and 16th.  The event is hosted by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church and will take place on the church grounds located at 30 Huntington Boulevard rain or shine.  Although taking place in Roanoke, the festival boasts a regional draw with supporters from Blacksburg, Lynchburg, Harrisonburg and other nearby communities.

 Several months ago, we had the honor of being voted Southwestern Virginia's Best Food Festival by Virginia Living Magazine.  Our festival is a cultural event that shares our well-known cuisine such as souvlaki, gyro, pastichio, moussaka, dolmades, spanakopita, tiropita, baklava and other delicious pastries.  We also feature our Greek drinks including wine, beer and coffee. 


Roanoke County Projects Update

Submitted by Megan Cronise, Roanoke County Planning Department


Spring Beauty arrives at Plantation and Williamson Roads


Spring is almost here and with its arrival Friendship Retirement Community, in partnership with WRABA, will spruce up the northeast and northwest sides of the intersection of Williamson Road and Plantation Road. WRABA planted several trees and bushes in this location in 1999, and new bushes and plants will supplement the mature stock currently in place. “Landscaping Planted By” signs will also be installed as part of the project which falls under VDOT’s Comprehensive Roadside Management Program. One of the requirements of the program is a public hearing with the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors, which was held February 28th, 2012. At that meeting the Board endorsed the project. WRABA, through a bid process, has awarded the planting and maintenance to Richard’s Landscaping.


Next VDOT’s approval will be sought. If your business is interested in sponsoring a similar area or if you have any questions about this project, please contact Megan Cronise, Principal Planner, by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at (540) 772-2068 ext. 282 or the WRABA Office by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at (540) 362-3293.