With its approval of an ordinance calling for the county engineer to enforce storm-water management plans for large-scale construction projects, the Summit County Council took a step toward dealing with harmful runoff. By requiring developers to maintain structures that contain storm runoff on site, potential trouble downstream will be limited.

Still lacking is a comprehensive approach. The councilís action this week applies in nine townships. Larger cities already have adopted similar guidelines, which were to be in place by 2008. Unfortunately, turnover in the engineerís office and updates in Environmental Protection Agency rules caused delays for the county.

On hold is a plan by Al Brubaker to create a countywide storm-water utility, funded by fees from property owners that would be in addition to what some communities assess. But the engineerís plan, says the county prosecutorís office, only would apply in unincorporated areas. Municipalities could opt in, but could not be forced to join. County Executive Russ Pry now wants to see what legal changes might make the plan feasible.

Even with a countywide plan, flood control would remain a hodgepodge, with local communities, independent districts and county engineers all involved. Runoff does not respect political boundaries. The best approach is the creation of districts that follow watershed boundaries, a result that prevents one community from solving its flooding problems by pushing them downstream.