NACWA Submits Comments on Key MS4 Permits Following Successful Negotiation Efforts

(January 29, 2020) – NACWA submitted comments to EPA January 24 on the proposed settlement agreements for Massachusetts and New Hampshire small municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s). While it took EPA over two years to agree to more reasonable, legally sound permit language, NACWA is pleased that the Agency and other parties were able to come to a rational settlement agreement that will provide important environmental protections while simultaneously providing the communities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire with a more flexible path forward to managing stormwater. NACWA played a significant role in helping to negotiate the settlement agreements.

These settlement agreements include revised language that is more consistent with the requirements of the Clean Water Act (CWA) than originally proposed. The original permits were a severe departure from the CWA’s unique maximum extent practicable (MEP) standard for discharges from MS4s. Given that EPA issues permits directly for Massachusetts and New Hampshire, NACWA was deeply concerned that the overburdensome language, as well as the  prescriptive requirements outside the statutory boundaries of the CWA, could have set a negative precedent for other stormwater permits throughout New England and around the country.

More information and background on the case is available on NACWA’s Litigation Tracking webpage. If members have questions, please contact Emily Remmel, NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs.