Rivers Alliance, watershed groups sue EPA over MS4 delay

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The Massachusetts Rivers Alliance and nine watershed associations are seeking a federal court order to compel the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement new stormwater rules for Massachusetts without delay.
 
The lawsuit comes after the EPA postponed the effective date of the small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) stormwater permit by one year, due to ongoing litigation.
 
The MS4 permit, which will regulate stormwater in more than 250 municipalities in Massachusetts, had been scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2017, with the first municipal action item (a Notice of Intent) due in September. In response to a request filed jointly by the Massachusetts Coalition for Water Resources Stewardship, the town of Franklin and the city of Lowell, however, the EPA delayed permit implementation until July 1, 2018, and postponed the deadline for communities to file their Notice of Intent as well.
 
In its postponement 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 Ms4 permit are appropriate.
 
In their lawsuit, the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance and other stakeholders claim that the delay in the implementation of the MS4 permit endangers local waterways and undermines environmental protection.
 
For more information, including the notice of postponement, visit www.epa.gov/npdes-permits/massachusetts-small-ms4-general-permit.