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NAHB staff members and consultants met recently with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to voice their concerns over a new rule from the Environmental Protection Agency that would set a numeric effluent limit for the storm water leaving construction sites.
OMB is reviewing the Construction & Development Effluent Limitation Guideline (C&D ELG) rulemaking. Finalized by the EPA in December 2009, the rule initially would have limited effluents to 280 NTUs, a measure of the turbidity — or cloudiness — of the water, and impose other requirements for construction-site storm water management.
Admitting that there were flaws in the data it used to develop the limit, the EPA removed the 280 NTU limit after NAHB filed a petition with the agency and legally challenged the limit.
The EPA incorrectly based the limit on Passive Treatment Systems (PTS) but used data from sophisticated, automated and expensive Advanced Treatment Systems. NAHB was able to show problems with the data through schematics and aerial photographs.
NAHB has also raised concerns that the EPA has not provided any data to justify a new limit and is expediting a rule that takes a costly approach to managing the storm water discharged from construction sites by imposing a “one-size-fits-all” numeric limit nationwide.
The association has recommended an approach that would allow builders and developers to measure turbidity levels and make improvements to the Best Management Practices used to control runoff if the levels are too high. NAHB also recommended an exemption from the ELG numeric limit for sites that use Low Impact Development management practices such as infiltration, and for small sites.
In addition to NAHB staff members, meeting participants included Kevin Bromberg from the Small Business Administration, Jim Laity from OMB, Jennifer Krajewski and Jeff Peterson with the Council on Environmental Quality, and NAHB consultants Jeff Longsworth with Barnes and Thornburg, and Jack Waggener, URS Corporation.
OMB received the proposal on Dec. 15 and has 90 days to review the rule and provide a response to the EPA.
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.