The Clean Water Act was passed in 1987. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, this act helped improve the quality of water in all areas of the United States. However, two additional phases were enacted in the 1990s to improve upon the quality of water even more. This entailed setting additional rules and regulations for companies and municipalities that operated or performed construction in and around bodies of water to adhere to.
As a company that works within various sectors including real estate development, it is important to understand what the current regulations are. It is essential to understand the Phase II Storm Water Rule as this represents the current phase the EPA is in regarding its efforts to preserve and protect the United States’s water resources from becoming polluted.
What is Phase II Storm Water Rule
You can refer to the exact verbiage by visiting the EPA website online. Search for Phase II and you will be able to download a PDF document which outlines all the requirements.
As mentioned previously, this is the next step or phase that the EPA has created. It aims at preserving, protecting and improving all water resources. The water that the Phase is directed at specifically is storm water runoff.
This is one of the most common pollutants for any stream, river, or ocean. The reason is that water that runs off roofs, or that runs from the streets into sewers or streams is often contaminated with air pollutants as well as remnants of chemicals, oils, and other debris that it picks up when it rolls off a roof or runs down a street.
Stormwater is not treated the way wastewater is. It can easily contaminate natural water sources. For this reason, special things must be done to ensure that stormwater is kept from these areas or is detained or retained in ways that will keep it from collecting more pollutants and harming water bodies and aquatic life.
The Phase II regulations are kept in effect by the EPA by its mandate that special companies or MS4s use federal permits when working. The permits require the company to work to enforce a stormwater management system on the premises of the construction. The system must work to collect and redistribute, in some cases, water back into the soil. It must protect water quality and must meet minimum requirements set by law.
The laws are flexible. They allow all regulated operators to determine which stormwater controls are appropriate for themselves. That means if your engineering team develops a control system that captures stormwater from a roof and directs it underground to a chamber for storage, your team does so with its authority.
It does not need to obtain it elsewhere, i.e. from the EPA. The EPA would see that a permit had been issued for the system and that the development of the system would, therefore, be acceptable because its development adhered to Phase II regulations.
The Phase II system is one that will continue to help protect and preserve our nation’s water. Always do your part to ensure your stormwater systems adhere to Phase II regulations.