Summary of 2014 Draft MA Small MS4 General Permit

MarlboroughMA_Stormwater10The long awaited 2014 Draft Massachusetts Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) General Permit was released on September 30th, 2014.  It is important to note that this permit is still in draft form and that the current 2003 MS4 Permit is still administratively effective. The public comment period is 90 days, ending on December 29, 2014. During the comment period, public meetings and hearings will be scheduled for Municipalities and the general public to ask questions and learn more about the permit. One public hearing has already been scheduled for November 19, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. at Leominster Public Library. Representatives from Tata & Howard will be at the Leominster hearing taking notes and asking necessary questions.

The draft permit and associated documents can be found here. Currently, US EPA estimates costs of compliance for the six minimum controls measures to be between $78,000 and $829,000 per year, averaged over the permit term. The application for coverage and reporting requirements are similar to the current procedures of the 2003 Massachusetts MS4 Permit, and the six minimum control measures are comparable to the most recent 2013 Draft New Hampshire MS4 Permit.

The most significant change in the new permit is for the Water Quality Based Effluent Limitations.  The permit names specific MS4 Communities and requirements to address Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) and Water Quality Limited Waters.  These requirements, listed in Appendix F and H of the new permit, are detailed and provide phased plans that extend up to 20 years past the permit’s start date.  Some of these reductions for established TMDLs require specific numerical percentage reductions.  All other approved TMDLs, including parameters for nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), bacteria, pathogen, and metals, require non-numeric reductions. Many MS4 Communities are on these lists.  For more information on TMDL and Water Quality Limited Water requirements for a specific community, or for assistance with questions or comments on the draft permit, please contact Tata & Howard.