On March 6, 2014, the EPA issued the Construction and Development Effluent Guidelines and standards at 40 CFR Part 450.The significance of these new rules is that the EPA elected to use best management practices (BMPs) to control stormwater and minimize soil erosion pollutant discharges instead of a numeric limit on the amount of dirt in stormwater runoff from construction sites.
Under the new rule, construction site owners and operators are required to:
- implement erosion and sediment controls;
- stabilize soils;
- manage dewatering activities;
- implement pollution prevention measures;
- provide and maintain buffers around surface waters;
- prohibit certain discharges, such as motor fuel and concrete washout; and
- utilize surface outlets for discharges from basins and impoundments.
The new rules will apply to construction sites that require National Pollutant Discharges Elimination Systems (NPDES). States are also required to incorporate the new rules into permits the next time they are renewed. This may not be a big change because a number of states have been issuing permits with the BMP requirements. Nevertheless, it may take up to five years for the new regulations to be fully implemented.
The new rules will go into effect on May 5, 2014.