News and Events Involving Environmental Law, Published by Chicago Environmental Attorney Dave Scriven-Young
of Peckar & Abramson, P.C. -- (312) 881-6309

U.S. EPA Publishes Final Rule to Regulate Stormwater Discharges from Construction Sites

Today, U.S. EPA published in the Federal Register a final rule entitled “Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Construction and Development Point Source Category.” The rule contains first-time national performance standards and monitoring requirements for stormwater discharges associated with the construction industry.

Construction activities, including excavating and grading, can lead to disturbed soil that, if not managed properly, can be easily washed off-site during rain events.  According to EPA, “[i]mproper control of stormwater discharges associated with construction activity is a contributor of sediment, turbidity, nutrients and other pollutants to surface waters in the United States. . . . The sediment, turbidity, and other pollutants entrained in stormwater discharges associated with construction activity contribute to aquatic ecosystem
degradation, increased drinking water treatment costs, and impairment of the recreational use and aesthetic value of impacted waters. Sediment can also accumulate in rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, leading to the need for dredging or other mitigation in order to prevent reduced water storage or navigation capacity.”

Construction companies are generally required to obtain a permit under the Clean Water Act and to implement control measures to manage discharges associated with construction activity.

Under the rule published today, all construction sites will be required by February 1, 2010 to meet certain standards, including: erosion and sediment controls, soil stabilization, dewatering, pollution prevention measures, and surface outlets.  Also, four categories of discharges are entirely prohibited.

The rule also sets a daily maximum value of 280 NTU for turbidity and requires companies to monitor and take samples of stormwater discharges to ensure that turbidity does not exceed the daily maximum value.

Stay tuned to the Illinois Environmental Law Blog for more news and developments.

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