Changes to MS4 Permitting

Soon Minnesota’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) communities will continue the reissuing process and applying for coverage under the revised MS4 General Permit. The updated MS4 General Permit is expected to be reissued by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) this Summer of 2020. This will create significant changes in the ways that MS4 permittees will operate, starting with modifications to address any procedural and programmatic changes needed as a result of the updated rules.

Below are the Top 5 Proposed Changes – What You Need to Know

  1. Volume control requirements to treat all new and fully reconstructed impervious surfaces equal to one or more acres.
  2. New performance-based responses to chloride, bacteria, and temperature TMDLs; including a written plan to identify and prioritize activities to achieve reductions.
  3. Additional education and outreach efforts on salt use and pet waste.
  4. Increased responses to snow and ice control operations. Improved management of salt storage at commercial, institutional and non-NPDES permitted industrial facilities.
  5. Additional documentation requirements to better evaluate permit compliance and SWPPP effectiveness.

The MS4 permit application process is a two-part process. The first includes the permit application fee, contact information for the applicant, and applicant certification. Existing permittees have already completed this step in late 2017 or early 2018. The second part, known as the Part II Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program (SWPPP) Reauthorization Application document, includes information about the applicant’s current SWPPP. It compares it to the revised permit rules and identifies action permittees will take to be compliant with the updated MS4 rules.

Once the MS4 permit is reissued by the MPCA, there will be a 5-month (150 days) period for applicants to submit an application electronically through the MPCA’s website to the MPCA Commissioner for review. After permit applications have been approved by the MPCA, the new SWPPP document will be placed on public notice for 30 days with the opportunity for a hearing on the preliminary determination. Following the public notice, permittees will have 12 months to update their MS4 programs to meet the new permit requirements. Our Environmental Compliance group is familiar with every step of this MS4 permit reissuance period and available to assist.

In the meantime, MS4s must continue to implement their programs and follow the expired MS4 permit’s rules. This means that routine efforts to provide education and training, identify illicit discharges, and monitor and maintain the MS4 system must continue. MS4 permittees are also expected to continue their erosion control inspection schedules and monitor active construction projects despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Inspectors are encouraged to wear masks and maintain social distancing standards while out on site. Our Environmental Compliance team is available to help your community meet this permit requirement. We can help augment site audits by regulators, provide temporary inspection support, carry out enforcement protocol, and provide any other support to help local erosion control programs.

Please contact us for additional assistance or questions.

Meghan Litsey is director of our Environmental Compliance team and has over eight years of experience. She specializes in providing environmental compliance services in construction site permitting, SWPPP design and inspection, and MS4 program development. 

[email protected] | 763.287.7155

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