National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

Proposed National Rulemaking to Strengthen the Stormwater Program

EPA is updating its stormwater strategy to focus on pursuing immediate actions to help communities address their stormwater challenges. The Agency has deferred action on a rulemaking to reduce stormwater discharges from newly developed and redeveloped sites and other regulatory changes to its stormwater program. Instead, EPA will be:

  • providing incentives, technical assistance, and tools to communities to encourage them to implement strong stormwater programs,  
  • leveraging existing requirements to strengthen municipal stormwater permits, and
  • continuing to promote green infrastructure as an integral part of stormwater management.

EPA believes this approach will achieve significant, measurable, and timely results in reducing stormwater pollution and provide significant climate resiliency benefits to communities.

Information Collection Request (ICR)

The purpose of the Stormwater ICR was to collect information to help EPA assess whether it should revise its existing stormwater requirements, and if so, how to and what extent it should revise these requirements.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved four survey instruments designed to collect information from regulated MS4s, non-regulated MS4s, transportation-related MS4s, and NPDES permitting authorities. OMB approved two survey instruments designed to collect information from entities believed to be owners of point source discharger that are involved with new construction, development, and redevelopment of residential, nonresidential, industrial, and commercial properties and transportation projects.

EPA Stormwater Information Collection Request (ICR) Fact Sheet — Provides information about the stormwater ICR and the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4), NPDES permitting authority, and owner/developer questionnaires.

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MS4 Questionnaires

On August 16, 2010, EPA sent selected recipients a letter that notified them of their selection and provided a link to an electronic version of the applicable questionnaire. Recipients had 60 days from receipt of the letter to complete and return the questionnaire.

EPA distributed the MS4 questionnaires to a statistically sampled subset of the facilities, sending the applicable questionnaire to 608 regulated MS4s, 932 federally non-regulated MS4s, and 84 regulated Department of Transportation (DOT) MS4s. The MS4 questionnaires requested information on:

  • the type of MS4 (e.g., Phase I, traditional, state DOT),
  • stormwater conveyance within the MS4 jurisdiction (e.g., pipes, direct discharge),
  • specific stormwater program components (e.g., outreach, recordkeeping, training) and extent of coverage,
  • extent of new and redevelopment projects and MS4 oversight (e.g., site plan review),
  • current MS4 stormwater management requirements, including specific or numeric long-term stormwater discharge standards for new and redevelopment activities,
  • local ordinances, policies or other regulatory mechanisms that conflicted with or encouraged long-term stormwater retention practices,
  • long-term stormwater controls and practices installed and maintained and whether cost and/or performance data were available,
  • current capacity, budget and funding sources for implementing, enforcing, maintaining and monitoring existing stormwater program, and
  • stormwater capital improvement plans and/or requirements (e.g., retrofit of existing property).

MS4 Questionnaire Resources

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NPDES Permitting Authority Questionnaire

NPDES Permitting Authority questionnaire -- EPA distributed to all NPDES permitting authorities requesting information on:

  • current state stormwater program components,
  • scope and extent of municipal stormwater program, including the type and number of stormwater permittees (e.g., traditional, non-traditional, Phase I, Phase II),
  • state stormwater municipal permit requirements, including specific or numeric long-term stormwater discharge standards for new and redevelopment,
  • state industrial stormwater permits and requirements,
  • state construction stormwater permits and requirements,
  • state retrofit plans or requirements,
  • stormwater inspection and enforcement activities, and
  • current capacity and budget associated with the state’s stormwater program.

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Owner/Developer Questionnaires

EPA distributed the questionnaires to a statistically sampled subset of the entities, sending it to 2,985 facilities. The questionnaires request information on:

  • general identification information,
  • type, location, size and identification of projects,
  • land cover areas both pre- and post-development, including percent imperviousness,
  • long-term stormwater best management practices and controls (with a focus on LID practices), including design criteria, specifications and cost information,
  • stormwater permit and management requirements,
  • information on design credits or incentives (or impediments) associated with implementing retention practices, and
  • firm-, establishment- and project-level financial information.

Owner/Developer Questionnaire Resources

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National Stakeholder Input

On December 28, 2009, EPA issued a notice in the Federal Register asking for the public’s input to help shape a program to reduce stormwater impacts. Input was submitted in the form of written comments or in brief oral statements at a series of public listening sessions.

As described in the Federal Register notice, EPA was seeking input on:

  • expanding the area subject to federal stormwater regulation,
  • establishing specific requirements to control stormwater discharges from newly developed and redeveloped sites,
  • developing a single set of consistent stormwater requirements for all municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s),
  • requiring MS4s to address stormwater discharges in areas of existing development through retrofitting the sewer system or drainage area with improved stormwater control measures, and
  • exploring specific stormwater provisions to protect sensitive areas.

Listening Sessions

During January–March 2010, EPA held six public listening sessions to allow the public to provide input on regulatory actions that EPA is considering. Brief oral comments (three minutes or less) and written statements were accepted at the sessions.

EPA held a webcast as a “virtual” listening session on February 3, 2010. Following a presentation from EPA, the Agency invited members of the public to call in with brief statements. Audience members could listen to the webcast and all public statements through their computer speakers.

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Chesapeake Bay Stakeholder Input

Listening Sessions

EPA held seven public listening sessions in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to request input from the public. At each stormwater listening session, EPA summarized potential provisions of the stormwater rulemaking related to the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Members of the public were invited to make three minute statements to EPA, and a general question and answer session followed.

As part of the listening sessions, EPA addressed environmental justice considerations and potential impacts and benefits that could arise as a consequence of the rulemaking. The discussion included a presentation from EPA and a group discussion.

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