As announced in the Federal Register this week, EPA finally released the General Permit for small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems in Massachusetts (say that three times fast!)
This permit has been in the works for quite a while. As we wrote last year at this time, MassDEP has expressed some serious reservations about the MS4 permit throughout the drafting process. Just before EPA issued the permit, MassDEP issued a final Comment Letter announcing its decision to co-issue the permit but expressing ongoing reservations about implementation. Nor was MassDEP the only concerned party; EPA’s final permit was accompanied by a 576 page Response to Comments.
MassDEP’s concerns relate primarily to the administrative burdens and costs this permit will impose on cities and towns as it is implemented. One major concern expressed by municipalities and MassDEP was that cities and towns needed at least a full year’s notice prior to the effective date of the permit, in order to allocate the substantial additional resources required for compliance in the budgeting process. EPA recognized this point in its final permit, which will have an effective date of July 1, 2017.
This permit replaces the 2003 MS4 general permit currently in effect and Notices of Intent will be due on or before September 29, 2017. EPA will hold a series of informational meetings throughout the Commonwealth in May and June to provide a general overview of the permit requirements.