The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Aug. 13 announced that it will be withdrawing a key portion of the new stormwater management regulations for construction sites, the Effluent Limitations Guidelines (ELG), originally published in Dec. 2009.

The announcement came in response to a lawsuit filed by the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) and petitions filed by both NAHB and the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy. Among other things, the regulations imposed a limit of 280 turbidity units on stormwater discharges from construction sites disturbing 10 or more acres of land.

As mentioned in comments filed by ABC before the final rule was published, and according to EPA’s own analysis, some small businesses will have to close as a result of the added cost of this rule. The NAHB also argued that the limit was “arbitrary” and would control only a small percentage of total sediment runoff at a cost of up to $10 billion annually.

Following the challenge to this rule, the Justice Department asked EPA to defend the numeric limit of 280 turbidity units. EPA was unable to do so and admitted that it had improperly interpreted the data and as a result, there were flaws in the final rule. In order to remedy this, the numeric limit was vacated by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and a hold has been placed on litigation until February 2012, giving EPA time to develop a new numeric. Other requirements of the ELG remain in effect.