After a one-year postponement, the new five-year permit for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems, issued jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Massachusetts Department of Environment Protection, went into effect on July 1.

The first required action by municipalities covered under the new MS4 permit is the submission of a Notice of Intent for coverage, due by Oct. 1.

More than 250 municipalities in urbanized areas are covered under the permit and must comply with federal and state laws and regulations regarding the proper discharge of stormwater to waterways. 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 new permit, which replaces the 2003 permit, adheres to the same six minimum control measures: pollution prevention for municipal operations; illicit discharge detection and elimination; construction site runoff control; post-construction runoff control; public education and outreach; and public participation and involvement.

By next June 30, permitted municipalities must develop a Stormwater Management Program that details the activities and measures that will be implemented to meet the requirements of the permit. Municipalities must also produce annual reports that document their permit compliance; the first report will cover a 14-month period from May 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.

The MassDEP provides low-interest loans to help municipalities comply with federal and state water quality requirements through the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund. Eligible uses include stormwater management, watershed management, and green infrastructure projects. The application deadline for the next round of funding is Oct. 15.

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