New stormwater rules for small construction sites to take effect in March

Construction projects that disturb between one and five acres of land will be subject to more stringent stormwater runoff permitting requirements beginning March 10.

Under current regulations, contractors who disturb five or more acres of land are required to obtain a permit to discharge stormwater to a surface water or stormwater drain. But when the Environmental Protection Agency’s Stormwater Phase II Rule takes effect contractors who disturb between one and five acres will have to obtain a permit.

EPA established the stormwater program in 1990 under the Clean Water Act. Phase I relied on the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit coverage to address stormwater runoff from certain municipal storm sewer systems and construction sites. According to EPA, Phase II expands the Phase I program by requiring additional operators of municipal separate storm sewer systems in urbanized areas and small construction sites to comply with the permitting requirements.

Under the new permitting requirements, contractors will need to develop stormwater pollution prevention plans and may be subject to fines for non-compliance.

For more information, visit the EPA website by clicking the link in the column to the right.