The Storm Over Storm Water Rules - Fine Homebuilding
previous
  • Electrical Articles & Videos
    Electrical Articles & Videos
  • Master Carpenter Videos
    Master Carpenter Videos
  • How to Install Housewrap Solo
    How to Install Housewrap Solo
  • Deck Design & Construction
    Deck Design & Construction
  • Video: Build a curved step
    Video: Build a curved step
  • 7 Small Bathroom Layouts
    7 Small Bathroom Layouts
  • Basement Remodeling Tips
    Basement Remodeling Tips
  • All about Roofing
    All about Roofing
  • 7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
    7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
  • The Passive House Build
    The Passive House Build
  • 9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
    9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
  • Clever daily tip in your inbox
    Clever daily tip in your inbox
  • Buyer's Guide to Insulation
    Buyer's Guide to Insulation
  • The Hobbit House and More
    The Hobbit House and More
  • 12 Remodeling Secrets
    12 Remodeling Secrets
  • Energy-Smart Details
    Energy-Smart Details
  • Read FHB on Your iPad
    Read FHB on Your iPad
  • Remodeling in Action
    Remodeling in Action
  • 7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
    7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
  • Magazine Departments
    Magazine Departments
  • Shorten a Prehung Door
    Shorten a Prehung Door
  • Tips & Techniques for Painting
    Tips & Techniques for Painting
  • Play the Inspector Game!
    Play the Inspector Game!
next

Building Business

Building Business


The Storm Over Storm Water Rules

comments (0) January 11th, 2011 in Blogs
FHB_Building_News Richard Defendorf, contributor

Click To Enlarge Photo: Environmental Protection Agency

The Internet is peppered with stories about resistance to the Environmental Protection Agency’s storm water rules, particularly some of more-stringent regulations scheduled to be rolled out over the next few years. Almost all of the objections are based on the economic consequences of compliance, whether the challenge comes from the Florida League of Cities and Florida Stormwater Association, a municipality in West Virginia, the city council of Columbia, Missouri, or homebuilders in California’s North Bay

 

The most persistent challenge on homebuilders’ behalf, of course, comes from the National Association of Home Builders, which this week revisited its primary concerns in a press release. Among them: the newly enacted Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) rule aimed at reducing the pollution level of Chesapeake Bay and the region’s rivers and streams. A response to the mandates of the Clean Water Act and consent decrees in Virginia and the District of Columbia, the rule is intended to address pollution runoff issues in a huge area – a 64,000-mile watershed that includes not only parts of the District and Virginia, but also large sections of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. 

 

In a court challenge last year, NAHB compelled the EPA to withdraw the portion of its storm water management regulations known as “Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Construction and Development Point Source Category.” The case is being held in abeyance until February 15, 2012, so the agency can address flaws in its interpretation of data relating to the rule, which would limit turbidity (a measure of how much sediment or other particles are suspended in water) to an average daily level of 280 "nephelometric turbidity units.” 

 

The offset issue

The TMDL for Chesapeake Bay, meanwhile, was completed in late December and, when it finally takes effect, will require new developments to purchase offsets to accommodate mitigation of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment runoff from new projects. There is some question as to when the rule will fully kick in, though. Each of the affected states has until June 1 to submit updated versions of its Watershed Implementation Plan for EPA review, and all WIPs are scheduled to be completed and approved by November 1. But extensions have been requested.

 

The rulemaking process for Chesapeake Bay, like that for other proposed national storm water rules, takes something of a refine-as-we-go approach to the compliance plans states are developing and to the two-year “milestone” goals each state is expected to identify by the end of this year. The milestones are not voluntary, however, and states that fail to meet them could be subject to penalties, NAHB notes. Once the goals are set and the two years pass, a team of “independent evaluator” consultants for the EPA is expected to judge the states' progress in meeting their milestones. Needless to say, NAHB is not entirely comfortable with this arrangement or the costs builders likely will incur as they strive to comply with the rules.


 

Become a Fine Homebuilding Member

to view this article and over a thousand more

Learn More

posted in: Blogs, business

Comments (0)

Log in or create a free account to post a comment.