The Official Online Newspaper of NAHB
About 3,000 property owners and developers are receiving questionnaires this week from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the federal government moves to the post-construction discharge permit, which is the next phase of regulating storm water emissions.
Those who receive the questionnaire are required by law to complete it — a process that the EPA estimates will take a little more than 60 hours on average.
After several face-to-face meetings with NAHB representatives and also reading detailed comments from the association, the EPA dropped some of the more sensitive questions dealing with the respondents’ financial information and shortened others to decrease the response time from what the agency had estimated would be 72 hours.
The new rule is expected to be finalized by November 2012, and will regulate the long-term flow of storm water, the types of controls builders must install and the long-term maintenance of these controls.
To prepare for the rule, the EPA is now gathering information from affected entities, including 2,985 builders and developers culled from a Dunn and Bradstreet database.
The survey requires respondents to provide detailed technical and financial information for projects — including the project type and size, storm water management controls and associated cost. It also asks questions regarding the company’s financial information.
“Given the significant burdens associated with completing the survey and any future additional storm water rulemaking, Environmental Issues Committee volunteers have been working tirelessly with the agency to rework the survey and ensure that it results in the collection of useful data,” said Susan Asmus, NAHB’s senior vice president for environmental and regulatory affairs.
In addition to providing information and clarification as to how the industry works and organizes and retains data, the members emphasized the need to expand the universe of potential respondents, voiced concerns about the utility of the data and the need to provide firm financial information and challenged the unacceptable burdens associated with filling out the survey, Asmus said.
NAHB also submitted comprehensive comments to the agency repeating these concerns. The comments also questioned the agency‘s legal authority and chided it for failing to provide sufficient time to complete the survey — 60 days.
In response, the EPA dropped the most intrusive financial questions and scaled back the detailed project information to five current projects or the most recent five projects instead of 10.
Sometime next month, the EPA will also meet with a panel of developers, owners and municipal sewer authorities to assess the impact of the new rule on small businesses and small local governments.
For more information, e-mail Ty Asfaw at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8124.
“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 stormwater 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.