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DEP Issues New General Permit for Small MS4s

On June 4, 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) announced the availability of a new general permit for stormwater discharges from small municipal separate storm sewer systems (“MS4s”). The new general permit, PAG-13, will become effective March 16, 2018. Current MS4 permittees with existing NPDES permit coverage, MS4s that previously have been waived by DEP, and MS4s that are newly designated as the result of the 2010 census that are seeking coverage under PAG-13 or a waiver, must submit a Notice of Intent to DEP by September 16, 2017.

The new MS4 general permit will potentially impact municipalities in a number of ways. For example, because of its reliance on 2010 census data, some municipalities that were not subject to MS4 permitting requirements may now be required to seek coverage under the PAG-13 or an individual permit. Also, all MS4 permittee will be required to submit annual reports to DEP. In addition, the new permit will require the implementation of a Pollutant Reduction Plan to reduce pollutant loading of nutrients and sediment over a 5-year period for MS4s in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Under the new general permit, municipalities will be required to reduce discharges of sediment, Total Phosphorus, and Total Nitrogen by 10%, 5%, and 3%, respectively.

The new general MS4 permit, as well as more stringent individual NPDES permits for larger MS4s, will likely have significant impacts on southcentral Pennsylvania municipalities. Attorneys in our Municipal and Environmental Groups are available to advise municipalities about these impacts and about compliance requirements.

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