Stormwater Rules

The Draft Massachusetts MS4 General Permit is available for public comment. This EPA Permit for “Separate Storm Sewer Systems” will better protect streams, lakes and wetlands.

The 2014 MS4 Permit affects 260 cities and towns, as well as universities, military bases and transportation agencies. The permit regulates stormwater systems in urbanized areas defined by the federal census for Massachusetts.

Shea Brook 2The Draft Permit requires MS4s to apply a “Stormwater Management Program” to control pollutants and fulfill the federal Clean Water Act.   A Stormwater Management Program entails six control measures including public education and participation, illicit discharges, runoff from new development and redevelopment, and good housekeeping in municipal operations.

The draft also has requirements that address total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for bacteria, phosphorus and nitrogen.

EPA has estimated the costs for the control measures will vary depending on population, resources, infrastructure and work completed during the preceding MS4 permit. As drafted, EPA estimates the cost to meet the six control measures will range between $78,000 and $829,000 per year, averaged over the permit term.

The comment period for the draft permit is 90 days, ending Dec. 29, 2014. A public hearing will be held on Nov. 19 in Leominster. EPA will also host public meetings, including one on Oct. 28 in Haverhill, to explain the permit requirements and answer questions.

The draft general permit, a detailed fact sheet, and information on public meetings and the public hearing: http://www.epa.gov/region1/npdes/stormwater/MS4_MA.html

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