The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on May 10 that the permit for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems will go into effect on July 1.
The first required action by affected municipalities is the submission of their Notice of Intent for coverage under the permit, which is due by Oct. 1.
Last year, the EPA postponed the effective date of the MS4 permit by one year.
The EPA said it will make training and implementation tools for municipalities available on its website. The resources will include cost evaluation information, stormwater management plan resources, and green infrastructure and low-impact development resources.
A webinar on completing a “Notice of Intent for Approval to Discharge” is scheduled for June 7, 1-2 p.m. Permit writer Newton Tedder of the EPA will cover who must file an NOI, submission requirements, how to complete the NOI, eligibility determinations under the Endangered Species and National Historic Preservation Acts, using the online NOI template, and filing instructions. There will also be a question and answer period.
The target audience for the webinar includes municipal public works departments, town counsel, finance officials and elected officials. Those interested in the webinar can register online.
Local officials may also view an instructional video on the EPA’s website: “Completing a Notice of Intent (NOI) to Discharge under the 2016 MA and 2017 NH MS4 Permits.”
According to the EPA, the permit updates stormwater management efforts across the state’s urbanized areas to better protect waterways from pollutants; maximizes flexibility for communities; and makes efforts to tailor the permit to individual needs and conditions.
The final general permit for stormwater discharges from small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems in Massachusetts was published in the Federal Register in April 2016.
Under the MS4 permit, municipalities must develop, implement and enforce a stormwater management program that controls pollutants to the maximum extent practicable, protects water quality, and satisfies appropriate requirements of the federal Clean Water Act. The MS4 permit requires implementation of six minimum control measures.
Permit requirements include the need to address identified water quality problems, including stormwater discharges to water bodies with approved total maximum daily loads for bacteria, phosphorus and nitrogen.
The EPA had agreed to postpone the effective date of the MS4 stormwater permit by one year in response to a request that was filed jointly by the Massachusetts Coalition for Water Resources Stewardship, the town of Franklin and the city of Lowell. In its postponement notice, the EPA wrote that it would like to explore the use of alternative dispute resolution to engage with petitioners.
The MS4 permit will regulate stormwater in more than 250 municipalities in Massachusetts.

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