When rain water runs
off the sides of buildings, and over parking lots and other
impervious urban areas, it picks up and transports pollutants. In
times of heavy rainfall, sanitary sewer systems may not have the
capacity to hold all the water entering the system, which results in
sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs), and combined sewer overflows (CSOs).
These events often
result in the discharge of sewage and pollutants to nearby surface
waters. However, many local governments may lack the financial and
technical resources necessary to address these issues. The resulting
noncompliance with regulations designed to address wet weather
pollution can further increase the burden on these local governments.
Under the NPDES
stormwater program, operators of large, medium and
regulated small municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) require
authorization to discharge pollutants. Medium and large MS4
operators are required to submit comprehensive permit applications
and are issued individual permits. Regulated small MS4 operators have
the option of choosing to be covered by an individual permit, a
general permit, or a modification of an existing Phase I MS4's
involved in construction projects will also need to comply with
stormwater construction rules. Stormwater runoff from construction
activities can have a significant impact on water quality by
contributing sediment and other pollutants to creeks, streams, lakes,
etc. Under the Federal Clean Water Act, The National Pollutant
Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program controls water
pollution by regulating sources of pollution that discharge into
waters of the United States. Federal regulations relating to the
Permit Program require operators of certain sized
construction projects to obtain authorization to discharge stormwater
under an National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
construction stormwater permit. Under Phase II Stormwater
regulations, which became effective March 2003, required construction
activities that disturbed one or more acres of land to obtain NPDES
regulations are federal rules, they are implemented by state
environmental agencies (except for Massachusetts, New Mexico, Alaska,
Idaho and New Hampshire where EPA retains authority).
The following material
provides information on various technical and financial resources
available to local governments, as well as information on current wet
weather regulatory and legislative initiatives, workshops, web sites,
and publications which can assist local governments in reducing wet
NPDES Training Courses and Workshops. The NPDES Permitting program offers training courses, workshops, and webcasts to explain the regulatory framework and technical considerations of the NPDES Permit program.
Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activities. The NPDES Stormwater program requires operators of construction sites one acre or larger (including smaller sites that are part of a larger common plan of development) to obtain authorization to discharge stormwater under an NPDES construction stormwater permit.
Creating Resilient Water Utilities (CRWU). This EPA initiative assists water sector utilities and stakeholders by providing practical tools, training, and technical assistance needed to increase resilience to climate change. It promotes a clear understanding of climate change and helps to identify potential long-term adaptation options for decision-making related to implementation and infrastructure financing.
Green Infrastructure Valuation Guide. A new report by the Center for Neighborhood Technology and American Rivers quantifies the economic value of green infrastructure. This tool is meant to help municipalities adopt cost-effective stormwater management techniques.
Stormwater Management in the United States. On October
15, 2008, the National Research Council Water Sciences and Technology
Board released the report Urban Stormwater Management in the
United States (Committee on Reducing Stormwater Discharge
Contributions to Water Pollution, National Research Council, National
Academies Press). The report is the product of a 2-year process
undertaken by the 15-member committee. The 513 page report provides a
description of the history of stormwater management in the United
States; an overview of stormwater regulations and the federal
regulatory program; and information on a number of relevant
scientific and technological issues such as hydrology, geomorphology,
biology, monitoring and modeling. The report also provides a number
of significant findings and recommendations on how stormwater
management in the United States should be improved to achieve better
environmental outcomes. A Report
in Brief fact sheet is also available.
for Nine Minimum CSO Controls. This
publication provides information on nine minimum technology-based
controls that communities are expected to use to address CSO
problems, without extensive engineering studies or significant
construction costs, before long-term measures are taken.
for Long-Term CSO Control Plan. This
publication describes how local governments can develop comprehensive
long-term CSO control plans that recognize the site-specific nature
of CSOs and their impacts on receiving water bodies.
Benefits Of Runoff Controls. This
Environmental Protection Agency report discusses two types of
structural controls that have been documented as providing economic
benefits: urban runoff ponds and constructed wetlands.
Making Water a Career of Choice: Water Workforce Case Studies. Includes nine case studies of communities in the U.S. and their unique initiatives to improve recruitment and retention of water and wastewater professionals. Strategies explained include increased outreach to youths and minority communities and development of leadership training programs.
Urban BMP Performance Tool - This tool has been developed to provide stormwater professionals with easy access to approximately 220 studies assessing the performance of over 275 BMPs. It provides access to studies covering a variety of traditional and low impact BMP types, including retention and detention ponds, biofilters, grassed filter strips, porous pavement, wetlands, and others. Users will also find a series of essays aimed at improving understanding of BMP performance and the importance of volume reduction/infiltration in these assessments.
NPDES Compliance Monitoring Strategy - This strategy, which takes effect in 2009, outlines inspection and compliance goals for the entire NPDES program, including major and minor NPDES facilities, pretreatment programs, biosolids, CSOs, SSOs, stormwater, and CAFOs. It places increased emphasis on wet weather issues, particularly stormwater sources, and sets ambitious targets for audits and inspections of Phase I and II MS4s, construction sites, and industrial facilities.