The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Dec. 1 published a final rule
regulating stormwater runoff and pollution on construction sites that is scheduled to go into effect Feb. 1.
Under the new rule, which was required by a 2006 court order, construction sites for residential, commercial and infrastructure work must comply with the EPA’s best management practices for erosion and sediment control and soil runoff. In addition, sites that disturb more than 20 acres at one time must comply with a numeric standard of 280 nephelometric turbidity units (NTU) beginning Aug. 1, 2011, and sites disturbing more than 10 acres will have to comply with the same standard beginning Feb. 2, 2014.
Before the final rule was published, ABC filed comments
opposing the cost of implementing this regulation, noting that almost $1 billion each year will be difficult for businesses to pass along or to absorb. ABC pointed out that according to EPA’s own analysis, some small businesses will have to close because of this rule.
Instead, ABC recommended EPA limit requirements to the continued use of current erosion and sediment control best management practices. ABC also urged EPA to identify factors other than jobsite size to determine when certain practices must be used and suggested that EPA conduct a more thorough cost analysis.
Although the rule is scheduled to go into effect Feb. 1, contractors won’t have to begin complying with the provisions until their state updates its construction general permit. Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New Mexico, which have their permits updated by EPA, will have to comply beginning June 2011. To see a list of updates for other states, click here
In addition to the rule regulating stormwater runoff during construction, EPA plans to propose and implement a final rule by November 2012 regulating post-construction runoff. Before proposing the rule, EPA is scheduled to issue an industry questionnaire in order to assess the financial impact on owners, developers and contractors of new and redeveloped sites.
The Federal StormWater Association, of which ABC is a member, filed comments
opposing the questionnaire, pointing out that in addition to the EPA not having solid support regarding its statutory authority to promulgate the rule, the construction industry is not an appropriate target for the rule because contractors are not responsible for post-construction issues.
The coalition suggested that EPA withdraw its questionnaire and hold a stakeholder meeting to determine the best path.
For more information on EPA’s final rule regulating stormwater runoff, visit http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/guide/construction/
For more information on the post-construction stormwater rule, visit http://www.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/rulemaking