Phase II Federal Storm Water Rule
Phase II Storm Water Rule in the Rouge Watershed
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is implementing
the Phase II Storm Water Regulations (see below), which requires
approximately 170 Southeast Michigan municipalities to obtain a
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to
cover their storm water discharges. In the Rouge River Watershed,
46 out of the 48 communities are included within the regulation
and will need to be permitted.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) felt their
Michigan General Storm Water Permit accomplished the same environmental
objectives as the Phase II Storm Water Regulations. Therefore, MDEQ
proposed to USEPA, under USEPA's Regulatory Innovation program,
that the Michigan General Storm Water Permit be considered the equivalent
to the Phase II Storm Water Regulations. USEPA approved the proposal
and concluded that the Michigan General Storm Water Permit could
be used in lieu of permits that would otherwise be required by the
Phase II Regulations.
For additional information on the Michigan General Storm Water
Permit, click here.
For additional information on the Phase II Regulations or to download
the rule itself, click
Phase II Storm Water Rule Fact Sheets
Phase II Areas of Designation
Summary of USEPA's Storm Water Program
The following is a very brief summary of the USEPA Phase I and Phase
II NPDES storm water program. This information is from the USEPA
web site dealing with the Federal Storm Water Rule.
The 1972 Amendments to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act
(commonly known as the Clean Water Act or CWA) prohibit the discharge
of any pollutant to waters of the United States from a point source
unless the discharge is authorized by a NPDES permit. The NPDES
permitting program is designed to track point sources, monitor the
discharge of pollutants from specific sources to surface waters,
and require the implementation of the controls necessary to minimize
the discharge of pollutants.
Initial efforts to improve water quality under the NPDES program
primarily focused on reducing pollutants in industrial process wastewater
and discharges from municipal sewage treatment plants. But as pollution
control measures for these sources were implemented and refined,
studies showed that more diffuse sources of water pollution were
also significant causes of water quality impairment. Specifically,
storm water runoff draining large surface areas, such as agricultural
and urban land.
In 1987, the CWA was again amended by Congress to require implementation
of a comprehensive national program for addressing problematic non-agricultural
sources of storm water discharges. As required by the amended CWA,
the NPDES Storm Water Program is being implemented in two phases:
Phase I Of the NPDES Storm Water Program
In response to the 1987 Amendments to the CWA, EPA developed Phase
I of the NPDES Storm Water Program in 1990. Phase I requires NPDES
permits for storm water discharges from:
- "Medium" and "large" municipal separate storm sewer systems
(MS4s) generally serving, or located in incorporated places or
counties with, populations of 100,000 or more people; and
- Eleven categories of industrial activity, one of which is construction
activity that disturbs five acres or greater of land.
Permit coverage can be either under an individually tailored NPDES
permit (used by MS4s and some industrial facilities) or a general
NPDES permit (used by most industrial facilities and construction
sites). Further information is available on the Phase
I of the NPDES Storm Water Program web page.
Phase II of the NPDES Storm Water Program
The Storm Water Phase II Final Rule was signed on October 29, 1999
and published in the Federal Register on December 8, 1999. The Phase
II Rule requires NPDES permit coverage - mostly under general permits
- for storm water discharges from:
- Certain regulated small MS4s (primarily all those located in
urbanized areas) and
- Construction activity disturbing between 1 and 5 acres of land
These new sources would be subject to similar yet distinct storm
water management requirements than the sources covered under Phase
I. In addition, the rule includes a revised version of the original
Phase I industrial "no exposure" exclusion whereby facilities with
no exposure of industrial activities or materials to storm water
do not need to seek coverage under an NPDES Storm Water Permit.
Further information is available on the Phase
II of the NPDES Storm Water Program main web page.