Apr 27, 2020

EPA Proposes MS4 General Permit Modifications for Massachusetts

The proposed modifications would provide municipalities with more tools for permit implementation and ensure that the goals of the Clean Water Act (CWA) are met

clean water act

The U.S. EPA is proposing targeted modifications to the 2016 Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) general permit for Massachusetts communities.

The proposed modifications would provide municipalities with tools and flexibilities for permit implementation, reported the EPA. This would also ensure that water quality is protected and the goals of the Clean Water Act (CWA) are met.

The proposed modifications were developed after years of mediation between EPA and the parties who challenged the underlying 2016 permit.

These proposed modifications are identical to those attached to the litigation settlement agreement announced for public comment in Dec. 2019 and executed in Apr. 2020 between EPA and the permit litigants. EPA will accept public comments on the proposed permit modifications for 45 days.

"EPA believes the modifications to the 2016 MS4 permit are a win-win; these changes balance the implementation needs of Massachusetts communities with the water quality protections required under the CWA. When fully implemented, the MS4 permit will continue to protect the environment and adhere to the law," said EPA New England Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel. "Storm water is the largest contributor of pollutants to impaired rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, and other waters in Massachusetts. The MS4 permit is an important step to reduce the harmful impact of polluted storm water on local water bodies."

After EPA finalized the 2016 MS4 Permit, various parties filed petitions for review, including: the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Massachusetts, Inc. (HBRAMA) and the Center for Regulatory Reasonableness (CRR).

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