More Stringent Storm Water Regulation in the Works
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is laying the groundwork for even more stringent storm water management regulations in the construction and development industry.
Last week, the agency submitted an Information Collection Request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for approval to send three different questionnaires to the construction industry, municipal sewer authorities and state governments.
In its request, the EPA estimated that the questionnaires would take an estimated 53 hours per respondent to complete.
If approved by the OMB, builders and developers selected by the agency would be required to complete a 61-page document that asks for detailed information about company finances and the costs per project for land, engineering, site clearing and other capital expenses.
The goal is to have a clearer idea of what companies are currently doing to manage storm water discharge from job sites and determine what it costs to comply, according to the EPA documents.
OMB must reply by the end of the year — and affected agencies and trade associations can submit comments on the proposal as well.
NAHB is one association that will send comments and make sure that the agency understands why the questionnaire — to say nothing of more regulation — won’t result in cleaner watersheds, said Susan Asmus, NAHB’s senior vice president for environmental issues.
“Study after study indicates that new residential development is a very insignificant source of storm water runoff, yet builders face increasingly onerous and expensive regulations,” she said.
“The EPA is taking the easy way out because it’s unpopular to add more regulatory costs to farmers — even though large agricultural operations are the biggest polluters,” Asmus added. “The costs for these new rules will be reflected in the price of new homes; but since the homes aren’t built yet, there aren’t any home owners to make a fuss.”
If approved, the questionnaire will be sent to an undetermined number of builders and developers, who will be required by law to fill it out and return it.
For additional information, e-mail Ty Asfaw at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8124.
Are You Ready for a Visit From the EPA?
“Storm Water Permitting: A Guide for Builders and Developers,” available through BuilderBooks.com, provides a starting point for builders and developers to use in locating and understanding storm water permitting requirements.
The publication has been prepared to help builders comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's storm water requirements, and includes information on state permitting programs and more than 50 of the most commonly used best management practices.
Also included are tips on compliance, including how to handle visits from inspectors.
To view or purchase this guide online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.