AGC Explores New Federal Rules for Stormwater Runoff from Construction Sites, Provides In-Depth Analysis
June 30, 2010

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently finalized new stormwater requirements that will impact nearly every construction and development project in the United States.  Penalties for violating these “Construction and Development Effluent Limitations Guidelines” (C&D ELG) may reach $37,500 per day per violation.  Are you prepared?  Click here for an in-depth Q&A analysis, prepared by AGC.

The new federal C&D ELG requirements impose an enforceable numeric limit on stormwater discharges from sites disturbing 10 acres or more at any one time, require monitoring to ensure compliance with the numeric limit, and require nearly all construction sites to implement a range of prescriptive erosion and sediment controls and pollution prevention measures.  The new ELG requirements will directly apply to individual construction sites via incorporation in individual and general National Pollutant Discharges Elimination System (NPDES) construction stormwater permits.  EPA will include the ELG requirements in its federal Construction General Permit when it is reauthorized by July 2011.  States are required by EPA to include the new ELG requirements into their permits the next time they are renewed (or earlier if the states so choose). 

EPA was under a court ordered deadline to develop the new C&D ELG by December 1, 2009.  The rule took effect on Feb. 1, 2010, and will be phased in over four years.  EPA estimates that the new rule will reduce the amount of sediment discharged from construction sites by about 4 billion pounds each year (for a monetized benefit of $368.9 million), at an annual cost of about $953 million, once fully implemented.  See 74 Fed. Reg. 62,996 (Dec. 1, 2009).

AGC has prepared an in-depth Q&A analysis to explore what the new federal C&D ELG requirements mean to construction companies (and their workers).  AGC answers the following questions:

  1. What Specifically Are the New Federal Requirements?
  2. Are State Stormwater Programs Affected by This Rule?
  3. Do Permitting Authorities Have Flexibility in Applying the ELG Rule to Construction Sites in Their State? 
  4. What Technology Can Contractors Use To Meet The 280 NTU Limit?
  5. What Are The Monitoring Requirements?
  6. What Happens If My Average Discharge Exceeds 280 NTU?
  7. What Can Contractors Do To Avoid The Numeric Limit?
  8. What is the Impact to the Regulated Community?
  9. Have There Been Any Legal Challenges to EPA’s Rule?
  10. How Can I Prepare?

The full text of the ELG rule, EPA’s fact sheet and related materials are available online at http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/guide/construction.  See also an AGC’s Environmental Observer article, posted Nov. 30, 2009.

For more information, contact Leah Pilconis at pilconisl@agc.org.