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Great Lakes Article:

Poisoning our waters with urban runoff

From Clean Water Network
06/26/2002

Instead of choosing to address urban runoff problems, EPA recently decided to abdicate its responsibility to protect and restore waters impaired or threatened by stormwater runoff from construction and development. On June [date], 2002, EPA published proposed technology standards for controlling water pollution from construction and development activities that flagrantly violate Clean Water Act requirements that "technology forcing" controls be required, including the best available technology economically achievable for existing sources and the best demonstrated control technology for new sources. Despite a consent decree obligation to propose stormwater technology standards that would meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act, EPA’s proposal flatly violates the requirements of the law and sets our nation on a course of increasingly degraded rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.

As Network members know, here are numerous techniques in use in communities across the nation that have been demonstrated to be effective at reducing the adverse impacts of stormwater pollution. NRDC documented more than 100 such approaches in its report Stormwater Strategies: Community Responses to Runoff Pollution, which was released initially in 1999 and updated last fall. (To order a copy of the report or the update, go to http://www.nrdc.org/water/default.asp.) EPA has also identified numerous effective approaches for reducing stormwater in its own Preliminary Summary of Urban Stormwater Best Management Practices (1999) as well as an EPA-funded databases of best management practices. Yet despite EPA’s own documentation, databases and the studies which demonstrate that best management practices can be used to reduce stormwater pollution in a cost effective manner, EPA’s proposed rule would require no long-term stormwater controls. EPA’s proposal is both illegal and environmentally irresponsible.

Summary of Proposed Stormwater Regulations

EPA’s proposal recommends no minimum technology standards for reducing stormwater pollution from development. It is difficult to overstate the significant of EPA’s abandonment of its statutory obligations in this rule. EPA’s proposed options for construction activity itself are primarily a restatement of existing requirements under the construction general permit. They neither require use of tried-and-true best management practices, nor do they require any specific level of performance.

Take Action Now!

We need your assistance in documenting that stormwater controls to reduce the adverse impacts of construction and long-term development on our streams are feasible, effective and economically achievable. Email us at cleanwaternt@igc.org

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