- Small MS4 General Permit Draft Now Available for Public Comment
The original public comment period was scheduled for December 23, 2008 - January 30, 2009; but has been extended through February 20, 2009.
The draft small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) general permit is now available for public comment (December 23, 2008 to January 30, 2009). The new permit builds upon the requirements of the previous permit. The draft permit requires small MS4s to continue to implement the Stormwater Management Programs required by the previous permit including the six control measures. The new permit contains more specific requirements and best management practices for each control measure. Additional information and the draft permit is available on the EPA website at: http://www.epa.gov/region1/npdes/stormwater/MS4_2008_NH.html
Public Meeting & Public Hearing information:
Date: January 28, 2009 - Public Meeting: 9:00 am - 10:00 am, Public Hearing: 10:10 am – 12:00
Location: Portsmouth City Council Chambers, Portsmouth City Hall, One Junkins Avenue, Portsmouth, NH 03801
- EPA Stormwater Webcast: Construction SWPPPs from A to Z: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know (and More!)
January 10, 2007 - 12-2 pm EST.
Many construction sites across the country must develop Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (or similar documents with similar names). This webcast will discuss how to develop an effective SWPPP and introduce EPA’s helpful new guide, "Developing Your Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan: A Guide for Construction Site Operators." We will discuss: the key elements that SWPPPs should contain tips for common erosion and sediment control BMPs and good housekeeping BMPs and how to conduct effective self-inspections. To register for this free webcast or for more information, visit www.epa.gov/npdes/training.
- New guidelines and standard operating procedures manual available for New Hampshire MS4s’ to implement minimum control measures #3 (Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination) and #6 (Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping)
The New Hampshire Seacoast Stormwater Coalition has completed the "Guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures: Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination and Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping for Stormwater Phase II Communities in New Hampshire Manual ." Designed specifically for New Hampshire MS4 communities, this manual is the creation of commonly accepted technical standards and guidance on stormwater management measures controlling the quantity and quality of stormwater produced from municipal activities. This manual can help jump start the communities’ Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE) programs and provide a basis for future training of employees.
- Construction Dewatering Discharges at Contaminated Sites
EPA has issued a new general NPDES permit, called the Remediation General Permit (RGP), for discharges of treated groundwater at contaminated sites. The RGP is available to construction site operators that need to dewater groundwater that has been contaminated with various pollutants including solvents and petroleum compounds.
- Storm Water BMP’s and West Nile Virus
EPA developed a new fact sheet in August, 2005 titled "Stormwater Structures and Mosquitoes" . There is also a good article in the March/April 2004 Stormwater magazine on West Nile Virus (and encephalitis and other diseases caused by mosquitoes) and storm water best management practices and the City of Denton, Texas’ "Mosquito Surveillance and Response Plan". Poorly designed or maintained storm water BMPs can provide habitat for mosquitoes since eggs turn to larvae in as little at 24 hours and larvae turn into adult mosquitoes in as little as five days. The author recommends starting early in the season by monitoring for mosquitoes and larvae and controlling problem areas by 1) reducing habitat (getting BMPs to drain properly), 2) using the larvcides Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) or Bacillus sphaericus or 3) in ponds/basins using mosquito fish (Gambusia affinus). In New Hampshire a commercial pesticide applicators license is required to use larvicides (call the NH Department of Agriculture at 271-3550 or see their Web site). A permit is also required from the NH Fish & Game Department (271-2501) to import (Fis 803) and release (Fis 805) wildlife and fish including mosquito fish.
- A new resource is available for regulated MS4s to implement minimum control measure #1 (Public Education and Outreach).
Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) drafts example survey that regulated MS4's can use to test the knowledge of the public on the causes of and solutions to storm water pollution problems. This example survey targets municipal employees and board members which are assumed to be a good cross section of the public. The survey will be a useful tool to determine how well regulated MS4s are doing in implementing minimum control measure #1 (Public Education & Outreach). View the example survey .
- Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Remands Portions of Phase II Storm Water Rules Back to EPA
The Ninth Circuit has denied most of the challenges to EPA’s Phase II Regulations. However, the court's decision to remand on three challenges may effect both the MS4 General Permit and the Construction General Permit. The conclusion of the court is repeated below:
"We conclude that the EPA’s failure to require review of NOIs (for the MS4GP), which are the functional equivalents of permits under the Phase II General Permit Option, and its failure to make NOIs available to the public or subject to public hearings contravene the express requirements of the Clean Water Act. We therefore remand these aspects of the Small MS4 General Permit option so that EPA may take appropriate action to comply with the Clean Water Act. We also remand so that EPA may consider in an appropriate proceeding the Environmental Petitioners' contention that subsection 402(p)(6) requires EPA to regulate forest roads. We affirm all other aspects of the Phase II Rule against the statutory, administrative, and constitutional challenges raised in this action."
EPA will need to take action to address the court’s decision either by revising their regulations or appealing the decision to the US Supreme Court. Whatever action they take will likely not effect the current general storm water permits.
- What is the status of EPA’s NOI completeness reviews for the MS4GP?
The final MS4 General Permit was issued on May 1, 2003. The permit can be downloaded from the EPA New England Web site or copies can be obtained by calling Thelma Murphy of EPA at (617) 918-1615. The deadline for filing the Notice of Intent (NOI) application form was July 30, 2003.
EPA has reviewed all of the NOI’s submitted to date by municipalities and the NH Department of Transportation and is in the process of reviewing the NOI’s submitted by counties and other "Non-Traditional" regulated MS4s. For the few municipalities that failed to submit NOI's, EPA has started the enforcement process that begins with a "request for information" under Section 308 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and could lead to significant fines or imprisonment under Section 309 of the CWA.
EPA will perform a more detailed review of the content of the NOI, which is a summary of the proposed Storm Water Management Program to be implemented by each regulated MS4, at a later date. EPA plans to visit each MS4 eventually. A regulated MS4 can request a visit by EPA, and thereby be given priority in the visit schedule.
- UIC Registration Required when storm water is infiltrated into groundwater via "Class V Wells."
Both the MS4GP (see Parts III.B.9., IV.B.9. and V.B.9.) and the CGP (see Part 9.A.2.d.) requires that infiltration of storm water be utilized as a best management practice (BMP) wherever feasible. This BMP can minimize the size and cost of drainage structures and is important to protect water quality. Benefits include reducing stream bank erosion by lowering peak runoff flows and helping to recharge groundwater. Recharging groundwater is important in protecting drinking water supplies and in maintaining summer stream flows that rely on groundwater baseflow.
However, if storm water recharge is conducted in industrial and some urban/commercial settings, the quality of drinking water supplies that use the groundwater can be jeopardized. For this reason the EPA’s Underground Injection Control Program requires that Class V Injection wells be registered even if they only receive storm water. (Note - infiltration of non-stormwater discharges always requires a UIC registration and possibly a more stringent groundwater discharge permit from NHDES).
The EPA definition of a Class V Injection Well includes any bored, drilled or driven shaft or dug hole that is deeper than it is wide at its widest surface dimension and it also includes any fluid distribution systems. Class V Injection Wells do not include infiltration ponds, swales and/or ditches that do not contain subsurface fluid distribution piping.
NHDES also requires that source control programs be developed (see DES Fact Sheet WD-DWGB-22-5) for any storm water infiltration BMP devices constructed at industrial and petroleum related facilities. This requirement applies when an alteration-of-terrain (site specific) permit is required under RSA 485-A:17.
- What is the latest with vehicle maintenance garages not being required to apply for the MSGP?
Vehicle maintenance garages are not being required to apply for the MSGP after all. EPA New England has determined that municipal highway vehicle maintenance facilities will not be required to submit an NOI by March 10, 2003 for permit coverage under the NPDES Storm Water Multi-Sector Permit for Industrial Activities. However, EPA New England is currently determining the need to regulate these facilities in the future based on the collective significance of their pollutant discharges. See the EPA New England Web site for periodic updates.
- EPA Encourages Electronic Filing of NOI's for the Construction General Permit.
You need to insure that EPA receives and processes your complete NOI at least 7 days before you plan to start land-disturbing work. EPA believes that due to mail delivery times and hard copy processing times that applicants can prevent up to a 30 day delay in project start-up if they File an Electronic NOI.
After you submit your NOI (electronically or by regular mail) to EPA, EPA will post your NOI on the NOI Search Page. You are authorized under the permit once your NOI is shown in "Active" status. NOI's listed as active have passed the 7-day "Waiting" period and are not "On Hold" due to eligibility concerns. If you do not use the internet for electronic filing and verifying the project status you must wait for the written acknowledgement from EPA before beginning construction.
- Do I need to obtain the Construction General Permit if I want to create or expand an agricultural field?
No! The Clean Water Act in Section 402(l)(1) specifically exempts agricultural activities from Storm Water permitting. However, the activity must be conducted with proper timber harvesting best management practices to prevent erosion and off site migration of soil. Also, if at any time it is known that the activity will no longer be agricultural then the Construction General Permit must be obtained and followed.
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