Tougher Storm Water Regs Prompt NAHB Study
A committee of NAHB environmental experts is studying the regulation of post-construction storm water management permits, which are beginning to affect home builders and developers as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reauthorizes certain permitting programs.
NAHB Environmental Issues Committee Chair Jess Hall of Hall Quality Homes in Alaska and Land Development Committee Chair Michael Noonan of David Bernard Builders and Developers in Minnesota are assembling a group of volunteers to provide new guidance for builders.
The group is being formed just as the EPA has released an information collection request to gather facts from construction site operators, municipalities and states in anticipation of developing a new rule for managing post-construction storm water runoff from newly developed and redeveloped sites
At issue are how much responsibility builders or developers should reasonably have for the site after it is built out and how any storm water management programs should be financed.
While home builders have long been responsible for managing the water, sediments and other materials that can create runoff from job sites following a rainstorm, their responsibility traditionally has ended once they turn over the development and control of infrastructure — including sediment control ponds — to the local government authority or home owners association.
Now, more extensive regulations are appearing in some localities and for some watersheds, builders report. Two years ago the federal government began requiring all new or redeveloped federal properties to maintain the predevelopment hydrology, pH and temperature of storm water leaving the site after the development is completed.
In addition, more state and local governments are encouraging or even requiring low-impact development techniques, such as rain gardens or other special plant areas designed to absorb excess water. These systems often need regular maintenance to continue to work effectively, and the long-term costs of such maintenance remain unclear.
Committee members will also discuss plans put forth by EPA regional offices to regulate impervious surfaces and federal proposals to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which are expected to provide a model for other watersheds in the nation.
The committee is expected to report its findings during the Environmental Issues Committee meeting at the International Builders’ Show in January.
For additional information, e-mail Susan Asmus at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8538.
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.