National Academies of Science Report Calls for More Industrial Stormwater Monitoring

report-bad-stormwater-samples(February 26, 2019) - The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) released a new report on Improving the EPA Multi-Sector General Permit for Industrial Stormwater Discharges. Although this report focuses on the nationwide multi-sector general permit (MSGP) for industrial stormwater, there are some interesting aspects that municipal stormwater utilities should be aware of.   

The report makes various recommendations for EPA consideration, particularly with respect to enhanced monitoring, and to inform its next MSGP iteration expected in 2020.

The NAS Committee made three major recommendations for EPA to consider on its next iteration of the MSGP in 2020 including:

  1. Updating MSGP Benchmark Monitoring Requirements and Thresholds
  2. Allowing more sophisticated monitoring methods, training, and support for enhanced data analysis
  3. Implementing risk-based tiered monitoring to improve quality of data from the largest, high-risk facilities, while moderating the burden on lowest-risk facilities.

The Report highlights several ways EPA can strengthen the MSGP program to provide the environmental protection, while balancing any burden on industry. The report does not look at the financial costs of its recommendation but directs EPA to assess cost of possible changes in its next revision of the MSGP.

Although municipal stormwater management is held to a different compliance standard (e.g., the “maximum extent practicable” – MEP – standard) than industrial stormwater, this report does offer some insight into enhanced stormwater monitoring and potentially where EPA is headed with Next Generation compliance and the 2020 MSGP.

Contact Emily Remmel, NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, for more information on the NAS Report.