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EPA Issues Draft Rule for Stormwater Runoff from Construction Sites

December 9, 2008
US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rule November 19 to regulate stormwater runoff from construction and development sites by establishing effluent limitations guidelines (ELG).  The proposal would require contractors to meet EPA’s technology-based “floor” on most sites by installing and maintaining a range of erosion and sediment controls that “are generally recognized and accepted as effective” Best Management Practices (BMPs).  Construction sites disturbing 10 or more acres of land at a time would also need to install sediment basins to treat their stormwater discharges.  In addition, a strict numeric limit on the allowable level of turbidity would apply to sites of 30 acres or more that are located in rainy areas where the soil has high clay content.   AGC and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) teamed up to submit more than 250 pages of initial comments, followed by additional comments outlining a BMP or “control measure” option, which industry is recommending as an alternative to a numerically-based technology option.  AGC members also participated on a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel on the potential effects of an ELG rule on small construction companies.  Significant improvements were made to EPA’s original ELG framework as a result of this critical small-business input.  AGC continues to advocate strongly for BMP-based standards that would allow flexibility due to weather and type of construction.  EPA is under a court deadline to issue a final rule by December 1, 2009.  For questions, please contact Leah Pilconis at pilconisl@agc.org.
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