National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

Integrated Planning for Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater

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EPA, states, and municipalities have achieved real progress in implementing the Clean Water Act (CWA) (PDF)(234 pp, 571 K, About PDF)  and protecting public health and the environment. However, today there are many factors stressing the implementation of CWA programs. Stressors include population growth, aging infrastructure, increasingly complex water quality issues, limited resources, and other economic challenges. Currently, EPA, states, and municipalities often focus on each CWA requirement individually. This may not be the best way to address these stressors and may have the unintended consequence of constraining a municipality from addressing its most serious water quality issues first.

An integrated planning approach offers a voluntary opportunity for a municipality to propose to meet multiple CWA requirements by identifying efficiencies from separate wastewater and stormwater programs and sequencing investments so that the highest priority projects come first. This approach can also lead to more sustainable and comprehensive solutions, such as green infrastructure, that improve water quality and provide multiple benefits that enhance community vitality.

The integrated planning approach is not about changing existing regulatory or permitting standards or delaying necessary improvements. Rather, it is an option to help municipalities meet their CWA obligations while optimizing their infrastructure investments through the appropriate sequencing of work.


Technical Assistance

On October 10, 2014, EPA announced $335,000 in technical assistance for five communities to develop elements of integrated plans for municipal wastewater and stormwater management. The projects will provide useful information and transferable tools to other communities interested in integrated planning. EPA will post a summary or description of the products developed from these projects once completed.

  • Burlington, Vermont – The city of Burlington is developing community-based evaluation criteria using social, economic, and environmental factors to identify and prioritize potential wastewater, combined sewer system, and stormwater projects.
  • Durham, New Hampshire – The town of Durham and the University of New Hampshire are developing an integrated plan using information on pollution tracking and accounting systems to focus on cross-jurisdictional coordination and methods to credit point versus nonpoint pollution controls.
  • Onondaga County, New York – The Onondaga County Department of Water Environment Protection is working with multiple municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) and other stakeholders to develop priorities and evaluate proposed wastewater and stormwater projects.
  • Santa Maria, California – The city of Santa Maria is developing methods to identify, evaluate, and select water resource management projects that address multiple wastewater, stormwater, and other water quality issues.
  • Springfield, Missouri – The city of Springfield, Greene County, and City Utilities of Springfield are developing a benefits analysis of water resources to use for integrated planning.