New EPA regs make stormwater compliance easier for small projects

New EPA regs make stormwater compliance easier for small projects

Photo via iStock

Environmental permitting for residential building projects on one acre or less became less complex with a new voluntary Construction General Permit.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) made the announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency for the new voluntary Construction General Permit (CGP) stormwater compliance template for residential building lots of one acre or less.

"For years we have argued that EPA's CGP is too complex for many of our members, who typically build about five homes a year," said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods, a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo. "The permitting process is more suited to large land developers, rather than smaller companies that are building homes on individual lots within a subdivision," he said.

All builders must seek CGP coverage for any construction activity "disturbing" over one acre, or activity disturbing less that one acre when that jobsite is within a larger subdivision or development. Builders must draft a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan, or SWPPP, that identifies all potential sources of pollution which might affect the quality of storm water discharges from the construction site.

The new Small Residential Lot SWPPP template is for sites with no known roadblocks, such as the presence of endangered species, a historic building or a stream running through the property. Compliance options are presented in a user-friendly format.

The template can be used immediately in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Idaho and Washington, D.C., where the agency has direct permitting authority under the Clean Water Act. NAHB staff will work with homebuilders in states with their own permitting programs so that they may soon use the streamlined template too.

The new template--which at less than 20 pages is a fifth the size of many current SWPPPs--will provide a simplified menu of compliance options, such as reinforced silt fences, for typical small residential construction sites. Although the new template will not change any requirements in EPA's CGP, it will greatly simplify the SWPPP writing process, saving small builders time and money.

"We need to keep our rivers and streams clean. We certainly don't need to fill out 100-page plans to document that we have done so," said Woods. "This new SWPPP template is a great step in the right direction, and we encourage EPA and those states that administer their own construction stormwater programs to quickly expand its use."

The new template is available here.

Read more about wastewater treatment.

Topics: Building Green, Sustainable Communities, Wastewater Treatment

Companies: U.S. EPA, NAHB

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