On May 8, U.S. EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Ben Grumbles sent a letter to regional administrators encouraging permitting authorities to make use of the “Qualifying Local Programs” provisions in the storm water regulations. These provisions offer an opportunity to streamline administrative requirements in the storm water program by formally recognizing local construction management programs that meet or exceed the provisions in EPA’s construction general permit.
Recognition of qualifying local programs eases the burden on construction site operators by providing them with one set of requirements to follow. A strong municipal program for construction site storm water runoff that meets the same basic provisions as the state program can be recognized in the state’s Construction General Permit. These municipal programs become the primary regulatory authority for construction site operators in that area.
The Phase II regulations require approximately 5,000 municipalities to develop and implement comprehensive storm water programs, including programs to manage storm water runoff from construction sites. As these programs come online (municipalities have five years to fully implement their programs), state permitting authorities should take advantage of opportunities to recognize good programs and to streamline requirements wherever possible.
The Office of Water will be preparing brief case studies based on current state use of this provision as well as some further guidance about how to review municipal construction programs.