The EPA, along with some northeastern states and municipalities, are enacting new, tougher rules to reduce stormwater runoff. The EPA’s stricter standards for buildings near impaired bodies of water are to be more extensive especially when restoring an existing site. Northeast states and municipalities are enacting tougher rules for stormwater management. New York and New Hampshire are in the process of rewriting their rules. In Massachusetts any building with more than five acres of hard surface will be subject to new requirements.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has recently issued new stormwater regulations requiring all private property owners of impervious surfaces of five acres or greater to implement good housekeeping practices, such as regular parking lot sweeping. The program also requires new developments and redevelopments with impervious surfaces five acres or greater to meet the new stormwater standards using “best management practices,” such as low-impact development techniques, infiltration basins that capture runoff, and green technologies such as rain gardens and storage devices that reuse or recycle rainwater.
The EPA, state, and local programs have been designed to tackle the biggest sources of stormwater pollution: large commercial and industrial properties. The new requirements will relieve cities and towns of some of the responsibility of cleaning up and controlling stormwater runoff. Almost all cities and towns are already required to clean up the pollution that comes from their community. They are responsible for the water at the end of the pipes, where stormwater flows directly into rivers and harbors. As a result, in addition to cleaning up stormwater pollution from roads and residential areas, towns have to clean up stormwater from large commercial and industrial properties. The new programs will require large commercial and industrial property owners to share in that responsibility, meaning that cities and towns will not have to shoulder the burden of cutting pollution.
Creating a comprehensive statewide strategy to reduce stormwater pollution is a cooperative effort. It involves representatives from businesses, academia, municipalities and environmental groups. We support and encourage these efforts. It is this same cooperative effort that drives StormCon. Each year our conference brings together stormwater professionals working together cooperatively, attempting to solve problems through discussion and the sharing of ideas. StormCon is the only North American event dedicated exclusively to stormwater and surface-water professionals across the continent: municipal stormwater and public works managers, engineering consultants, regulatory personnel, watershed management professionals, and others concerned with stormwater and surface-water quality.