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Massachusetts Small MS4 General Permit

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News and Updates

EPA finalized the modifications to the 2016 MA MS4 General Permit on December 7, 2020. The Modifications become effective January 6, 2021. See below for Final Permit documents including all modifications. All documents pertaining to this modification can also be found on www.regulations.gov under EPA Docket EPA-R01-OW-2020-0216 .

Massachusetts Stormwater News September 2020: Collaboration is Key: Successful Regulation Updates in the Neponset River Watershed (PDF) (5 pp, 810 K)

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Current MA MS4 General Permit (Effective July 1, 2018 with Modification Effective January 6, 2021)

The 2016 Massachusetts Small MS4 General Permit was signed April 4, 2016 and became effective July 1, 2018.  EPA proposed modifications to the 2016 MA MS4 General Permit on April 23, 2020 and finalized those modifications on December 7, 2020. The current permit and appendices, including all modifications, as well as the response to comments on the modifications are available below. For all other documents related to the 2016 Final MA MS4 General Permit see the History section of this webpage. For all Authorization Letters and Annual Reports for this Permit see: https://www.epa.gov/npdes-permits/regulated-ms4-massachusetts-communities.

Introduction to the MA MS4 General Permit

Permit Process

In order for a small MS4 operator to obtain authorization to discharge, it must submit a complete and accurate Notice of Intent (NOI) containing the information in Appendix E of the 2016 general permit. A small MS4 operator must meet the eligibility requirements of the general permit found in Part 1.2 and Part 1.9 prior to submission of its NOI. EPA will post all NOIs for public review and comment for 30 days on the following website: https://www.epa.gov/npdes-permits/regulated-ms4-massachusetts-communities. A small MS4 operator will be authorized to discharge under the permit upon receipt of written notice from EPA following a public notice of the submitted NOI. EPA will authorize the discharge, request additional information, or require the small MS4 to apply for an alternative permit or an individual permit.

Notice of Intent Resources

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History

On May 1, 2003, EPA Region 1 issued its Final General Permit for Stormwater Discharges From Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (2003 small MS4 permit) that covers "traditional" (i.e., cities and towns) and "non-traditional" (i.e., Federal and state agencies) MS4 Operators located in the states of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. This permit expired on May 1, 2008 but remains in effect for authorized Operators until operators are authorized under the 2016 MS4 general permit.

During 2008 - 2010 EPA issued three separate draft Small MS4 General permits to replace the 2003 Small MS4 permit. One for eligible Operators located in the state of New Hampshire and two separate Massachusetts permits; one for Operators located in the North Coastal watershed and the other for those located in the Interstate, Merrimack and South Coastal watersheds.

The Notice of Availability of the draft General Permit for Discharges from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) located in North Coastal Massachusetts was published in the Federal Register on February 4, 2010 (See 75 FR 5788). This draft permit covers the North Coastal region, including but not limited to the watersheds of the Charles River and Neponset River.

The Notice of Availability of the draft General Permit for Discharges from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems located in the Interstate, Merrimack and South Coastal watersheds in Massachusetts was published in the Federal Register on November 4, 2010 (See 75 FR 67960). EPA held a public hearing on March 9, 2011 and the public comment period for the draft permit ended March 11, 2011. A Federal Register Notice describing the public hearing and the extension of the public comment period was published in the Federal Register on February 15, 2011 (See 76 FR 8734). A transcript (PDF) (58 pp, 142 K) of the hearing in addition to copies of the written comments are available.

The 2014 Draft Massachusetts Small MS4 General Permit was released for public comment on September 30, 2014 and the comment period ended February 27, 2015. EPA received over 150 unique comment letters and all comments can be downloaded below. The 2016 final Massachusetts Small MS4 General Permit incorporates changes made in response to the comments received.

On April 4, 2016, EPA issued a final NPDES general permit for discharges of stormwater from small MS4s in Massachusetts (the MA MS4 Permit) under CWA section 402(p). 33 U.S.C. § 1342(p). On July 18, 2016, Center for Regulatory Reasonableness (CRR) filed a petition for review of the permit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA), Massachusetts Coalition for Water Resources Stewardship (MCWRS), Franklin Massachusetts, National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Massachusetts, Inc. (HBRAMA), and the City of Lowell also filed petitions for review of the permit, all of which were consolidated with CRR's petition in the D.C. Circuit. Center for Regulatory Reasonableness, et al. v. EPA, No. 16-1246 (D.C. Cir.) (2016 Massachusetts Small MS4 General Permit consolidated cases). The parties entered into mediation in 2017, and the D.C. Circuit has held the cases in abeyance. On December 27, 2019, EPA published three proposed settlement agreements in the Federal Register for a 30-day public comment period. See “Proposed Settlement Agreements, Clean Water Act Claims,” 84 FR 71407 (Dec. 27, 2019). EPA and the petitioners executed the settlement agreements on April 15, 2020. Pursuant to the settlement agreement, on April 23, 2020 EPA published proposed modifications to the MA MS4 permit in the Federal Register (85 FR 22735) for a 45 day public comment period. EPA finalized the modifications to the 2016 MA MS4 Permit on December 7, 2020.

All documents on the draft permits and proposed modifications can be found below.

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Information on Previous Permits, Draft Permits and Modifications

Proposed 2020 Permit Modification

The documents below contain the proposed permit modifications to the 2016 Massachusetts Small MS4 General Permit. The proposed modifications are also found within the permit posted to EPA Docket EPA-R01-OW-2020-0216 on www.regulations.gov. Proposed additions will be in red text and proposed deletions will be in strikeout.

2016 Final Permit Documents Prior to Modification

The 2016 Massachusetts Small MS4 General Permit was signed April 4, 2016 and became effective July 1, 2018. The documents below represent the Final Permit documents prior to the 2020 modifications to the 2016 MA MS4 Permit.

2014 Draft Permit Documents

2003 Final General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Small MS4s

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Tools and Research for Stormwater in New England

Stormwater News
Requests to be added to the MA Stormwater News mailing list can be sent to: StormwaterNewsMA@epa.gov

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EPA Contacts

Newton Tedder (tedder.newton@epa.gov), 617-918-1038

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State Contacts

MassDEP
Laura Schifman (laura.schifman@mass.gov), 617-556-1157

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