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NOTE: This document was prepared in 1999 to assist the Rouge Communities in their deliberations on whether to apply for coverage under the General Storm Water Permit that was available from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The document will be preserved as it is for historical perspective.

Why Volunteer to be Regulated?

If federal regulations allow communities until 2003 to apply for a storm water permit, why would a community volunteer to apply for coverage in 1999?

The subwatershed approach contained in the new general storm water permit offers a viable alternative to the court's proposed watershed-wide authority and provides strong local control of management decisions.

Communities applying for and obtaining coverage under the new general storm waters permit would be afforded considerable protection from citizen suits brought under the provisions of the Clean Water Act.

The Rouge Project can provide technical assistance and grants (up to 50% of the cost) for those communities who choose to apply for coverage now with an opportunity to implement the most cost effective approaches to meeting the desired objectives.

The general storm water permit approach offers communities the opportunity to establish their own priorities, propose their own schedules and integrate storm water management practices through a series of iterative steps. It allows local units and their partners to develop a plan of action that best meet the needs of the community while making measurable progress toward restoration of the river.

Under the general storm water permit, cooperation among adjacent municipalities and other governmental units sharing the river is encouraged and flexibility is provided within the general permit to accommodate innovative approaches. This approach should reduce the overall cost of compliance and restore uses sooner.

Coverage under the general storm water permit provides the opportunity for local governments and their public agency partners to provide leadership, and plan expenditures and actions over a long period of time with specific costs in the first five years clearly identified before a final commitment to proceed is made.

The Rouge Project provides Rouge communities the unique opportunity to demonstrate viable, cost effective alternative approaches to achieving improved water quality. The Rouge Project's watershed approach to storm water management has already influenced state and federal regulatory decision makers. If the Rouge communities in cooperation with other public agencies, successfully implement a locally driven subwatershed approach to storm water management under the new general storm water permit, it will likely become the model for both the state and the nation.

The final general storm water permit is very similar to the draft developed by the communities and incorporates most of the principles ranked highest by the communities. It is unlikely that the communities will have any better opportunity in the future to influence the structure and requirements of a storm water permit.

Why Volunteer to be Regulated?

Last Updated: 1/28/02

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The Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration Project is funded, in part, by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Grants #XP995743-01, -02, -03, -04, -05, -06, -07 and C-264000-01.