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
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
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?