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October 11, 2013
What to expect when EPA (finally) proposes stormwater rule
By Amanda Czepiel, JD, Senior Managing Editor

Even though EPA representatives did not participate in the panel discussion “Stormwater Policy: National Rulemaking” due to the government shutdown at this year’s Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) in Chicago, the session was very well attended and shed some light on what we can expect when the EPA proposes the new stormwater rule.

Jim Ridgway of Environmental Consulting and Technology, Inc., assumed the responsibilities of providing a rule overview from EPA’s Chris Kloss, who was scheduled to attend.

According to Ridgway, the rule will most likely include:

  • Expanded jurisdictions. Currently, municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) do not cover all that much of actual land area. The new rule could expand MS4 jurisdiction to include whole watersheds and other areas.
  • New development performance standards. These may be very similar to what we see in states that are aggressive with their stormwater development standards, such as Michigan.
  • Redevelopment standards. It’s tough to tell what these could be, as such standards are very difficult to implement in aging urban areas.
  • Retrofit requirements. This is another one that may or may not be included, as retrofits can be costly.
  • Requirements for transportation systems. In most areas, transportation areas, which are largely impervious, are underregulated. We will likely see these areas fall under a new regulatory system.
  • Critical water bodies. There may be special provisions for critical water bodies, such as the Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes, but some stakeholders are thinking this may be unlikely because those areas are so region-specific.
  • Combined sewer areas. The proposed rule may create uniformity and simplicity for the enforcement of codes and standards relating to combined sewer areas.

According to Seth Brown, WEF’s Stormwater Program and Policy director, if all goes according to plan, we can expect the EPA to release the proposed rulemaking in early 2014. But, “we’ll see.”

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