EPA delays MS4 stormwater permit for 1 year

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Due to ongoing litigation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has postponed the effective date of the MS4 stormwater permit by one year.
 
The EPA agreed to a request that was filed jointly by the Massachusetts Coalition for Water Resources Stewardship, the town of Franklin and the city of Lowell asking EPA Region 1 to delay the permit for one year pending judicial review.
 
In its notice, the EPA wrote that it would like to explore the use of alternative dispute resolution to engage with petitioners, and that the postponement will give the EPA time to determine if any changes to the permit for small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems are appropriate.
 
The MS4 permit, which will regulate stormwater in more than 250 municipalities in Massachusetts, was scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2017, with the first action item for municipalities to comply due in September. The stay delays permit implementation until July 1, 2018, and postpones the due date for communities to file their Notice of Intent as well.
 
The stay of the permit comes after a number of parties filed appeals of the MS4 permit. The consolidated appeals will be heard by the federal circuit court in Washington, D.C. The groups supporting the appeal contend that the MS4 permit exceeds the EPA’s authority under the federal Clean Water Act.
 
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.
 
Updated 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.
 
For more information, including the notice of postponement, visit www3.epa.gov/region1/npdes/stormwater/MS4_MA.html.