NPDES update: Introduction

July 2007 » Exclusive
The stormwater management industry blazes ahead with new resources, documented performance measures, and a host of products to support water quality improvement.
Shanon Fauerbach, P.E.

The stormwater management industry blazes ahead with new resources, documented performance measures, and a host of products to support water quality improvement.


Since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Water Act authorized the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase I permit program in 1990, municipalities, industrial facility managers, construction site operators, developers, and the professionals assisting them with their stormwater management have been given increasing responsibility in the protection of our nation’s water quality—not to mention a new language to speak (think "BMPs," "SWPPPs," "SWMPs," and "MS4s"). The business of stormwater management was born out of the NPDES permit program and continues to evolve and flourish today.

As the industry has traversed the regulations, and lived through the addition of Phase II permit requirements—especially the effects of small municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) and construction sites disturbing between 1 and 5 acres—we’ve learned to work smarter and have developed exciting new products, technologies, and design techniques to support the management of stormwater. What’s more, a host of guidance documents, professional organizations, databases, and other resources have been created to support the industry.

In light of the first permit term of Phase II ending next year (can you believe it?), and expecting readers to be preparing for Notice of Intent submittals for their clients or employers, the editors of CE News felt it was time to provide an update. In this special report, you’ll find guidance for MS4s and their consultants that are preparing for on-site audits, you’ll learn how one remarkable community is keeping up with compliance of construction activities and is proving that NPDES is positively impacting water quality, and you’ll find a showcase of products for stormwater management.

Polluted stormwater runoff is a leading cause of impairment to the nearly 40 percent of surveyed U.S. water bodies that do not meet water quality standards. As you review these articles, consider the strides we’ve made in less than 20 years. I’d say this work is important and that we are on the right track.


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