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HRPDC Staff Champions Locality Concerns on Proposed Storm Sewer System Regulation

HRPDC Staff Champions Locality Concerns on Proposed Storm Sewer System Regulation

HRPDC staff comments were well received at the September 28, 2012 meeting of the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board where the Board listened to public comments on the proposed regulation reauthorizing and amending the Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) general permit for discharges from small municipal separate storm sewer systems (Phase II MS4 General Permit). Ms. Jennifer Tribo, HRPDC Senior Water Resources Planner, addressed the Board and described three major concerns for Hampton Roads localities (click here to review the statement).
HRPDC staff is pleased that a key concern regarding the proposed regulation’s “Special Conditions for the Chesapeake Bay TMDL” will be addressed with language revisions prior to release of the document for public comment. HRPDC emphasized that the current language does not include an opportunity for localities to report water quality management improvements implemented between 2009 and the July 2013 effective date of the new Phase II MS4 General Permit; this causes an accounting error that short-changes localities on the pollutant reductions already achieved and forces localities to implement additional measures and potentially employ more costly solutions to make up for the error.  During the Board discussion, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) staff stated that it was not the intent of the regulation to exclude reporting of improvements made from 2009 to 2013; DCR staff was directed to review the language and make the necessary changes.

From June to September 2012, the state’s Regulatory Advisory Panel (RAP) met to provide input on the proposed regulations. Mr. Leroy Hansen, civil engineer with the City of Suffolk, represented the Hampton Roads region on the RAP with support from the HRPDC Stormwater Committee. The RAP worked through significant changes to the permit’s six minimum control measures but was not able to reach agreement on how Chesapeake Bay TMDL is addressed in the proposed permit.

With the pending revisions noted above, the Board approved proposed regulations for public comment and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency review. The HRPDC plans to submit additional comments during the public review period to elaborate on concerns with the proposed regulation’s reliance on model-derived information, to specify problems identified with DCR’s data inputs to the model, and DCR’s utilization of model outputs.