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Small Entities and Rulemaking

SBAR Panel #38 - Stormwater Regulations Revision to Address Discharges from Developed Sites

Key Dates and Documents for this SBAR Panel

  • Convening Date: 12/06/2010
  • Completion Date: 10/04/2011
  • Panel Report: The Panel Report will be made available when the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking publishes.

About the Rule

More information about this rule: Proposed National Rulemaking to Strengthen the Stormwater Program

About this SBAR Panel

What is the Implication of the Rulemaking on Small Entities?

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) current national stormwater program regulates stormwater discharges from certain municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s), stormwater discharges associated with industrial activity, and stormwater discharges associated with construction activity from sites one acre or larger. See Clean Water Act (CWA) section 402(p); 40 CFR 122.26(a). Most of these stormwater discharges are required to be covered by National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits that must include certain requirements including, for discharges from MS4s, stormwater management programs for newly developed and redeveloped sites.

In July 2006, EPA commissioned the National Research Council (NRC) to review its program for controlling stormwater discharges under the CWA. The NRC released its report, entitled Urban Stormwater Management in the United States Exit EPA Disclaimer, National Academy of Sciences Press, in October 2008. The NRC report states that stormwater discharges from the built environment remain one of the greatest challenges of modern water pollution controls, "as this source of contamination is a principal contributor to water quality impairment of waterbodies nationwide." The NRC found that the current regulatory approach by EPA is not adequately controlling all sources of stormwater discharges that are contributing to waterbody impairment. NRC recommended that EPA address stormwater discharges from impervious land cover and promote what are often called "green infrastructure" practices. Green infrastructure approaches and technologies, including "Low Impact Development" (LID), can infiltrate, harvest, evapotranspirate, capture, reuse or otherwise manage stormwater in order to maintain or restore the natural hydrology of a developed site. The maintenance or restoration of the natural hydrology is critical to reducing pollutant loadings to our Nation's waters.

Based on EPA's review of the stormwater program to date, including the NRC report, EPA published a Federal Register Notice on December 28, 2009 announcing an intention to initiate rulemaking to strengthen its stormwater program under the CWA particularly by reducing the impact of stormwater discharges from developed sites to our Nation's waters (See 74 FR 68617-68622). As described in that notice, EPA is considering numerous actions as part of its rulemaking, for example:

  • Expanding the scope of stormwater discharges regulated under the CWA. This may mean regulating additional discharges from MS4s, regulating additional discharges from areas served by currently regulated MS4s, and/or regulating discharges from developed sites.
  • Establishing national standards for stormwater discharges from newly developed and redeveloped sites.
  • Strengthen existing requirements for discharges from MS4s.
  • Revising existing MS4 regulations to set out the requirements for MS4 permits together in one place (as opposed to the separate Phase I and Phase II rules).
  • Revising the existing MS4 regulations to include requirements for retrofitting stormwater controls at existing developed sites that discharge to an MS4, and
  • Including specific regulatory provisions for stormwater discharges in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
How Can I Learn More?

If you are a developer or owner of sites such as, but not limited to, subdivisions, roadways, industrial facilities, and commercial buildings or shopping centers and your business is a small business, or if you own or operate a small MS4, you may be subject to this rulemaking. While the opportunity to participate on this Panel has passed, you will have the chance to submit comments concerning this rulemaking during the standard public comment period commencing after publication of the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register.

Monthly updates about the rulemaking are available on the rule's profile page on Reg DaRRT. From this page, you can determine when the NPRM will publish and, thus, when you will have an opportunity to comment on the rulemaking.

Semiannual updates about the development status of the rulemaking are available on both:

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