Stormwater Permit Activities
John T. Doerfer, Project Hydrologist, Master Planning Program
On March 10, 2003, all of the cities, counties, and special districts in
Colorado that operate what are defined by regulation as small municipal separate
storm sewer systems (Small MS4s) will be required to submit permit applications for
coverage under the Colorado Discharge Permit System. There are about 40 cities, towns, and
counties in the state with less than 100,000 population located within Census-defined
Urbanized areas. Many of these
municipalities are located within the UDFCD. In
addition, there are a number of special districts within these jurisdictions that have
drainage responsibilities (i.e. metropolitan
districts; drainage districts; water and sanitation districts; etc.) also defined as small
MS4s. Collectively, these entities are
referred to as Phase II of EPAs municipal stormwater control program. The District assisted its member governments in
2001 to prepare for Phase II permit applications, and will continue to do so as the March
2003 deadline approaches.
Phase II Regulations
EPA published the
federal regulations for Phase II on December 8, 1999.
The six management programs (called minimum control measures) that must
be implemented by an MS4 are:
- Public education and outreach;
- Public involvement/participation;
- Illicit discharge detection and elimination;
- Construction site runoff control;
- Post-construction runoff management in new development and redevelopment; and,
- Pollution prevention/good housekeeping for municipal operations.
regulations also included additional guidance that was recommended for
consideration by municipalities when developing a proposed program. The states Attorney General determined that
if this guidance was included in the Colorado regulations, it would be mandatory rather
than discretionary. So, the guidance
provisions were not included in the Colorado Discharge Permit System Regulations (5 CCR
1002-61) for Phase II adopted on January 8, 2001.
Workgroup of the Colorado Stormwater Task Force, chaired by UDFCD with participation by
many of its member governments, decided that a separate guidance document published by the
state would be helpful for preparing permit applications.
The guidance has been customized for Colorado and includes descriptions of
potential management program elements and methodologies.
About 50 volunteers from around the state began in February 2001 to write this
document, and it was completed in November and is posted on the Water Quality Control
Divisions (WQCD) website at www.cdphe.state.co.us/wq/PermitsUnit/wqcdpmt.html
The next activity
that will take place during 2002 will be development of general permits. The state plans to use two of these for Phase II. The first will be completed by July for
construction sites between 1 and 5 acres, defined as an industrial category of stormwater
discharges (sites greater than 5 acres have been regulated since 1992). The second is for small MS4s, planned for
completion by December 2002. Cities and
counties within the District will want to pay attention to these general permits, and
participate in their development if possible, because they will affect the ultimate
outcome of permit application submittal requirements and compliance issues. The District will participate, and sponsor a
number of meetings among member governments during the year to discuss these general
permits, elements of management programs and the measurable goals that must be
proposed in the MS4 general permit applications.
Phase I Municipalities
The cities of
Denver, Aurora, and Lakewood are classified as Phase I MS4s and were issued
permits by the WQCD in 1996. Their permits
were for a 5-year permit term and expired on April 30, 2001. The three cities submitted permit renewal
applications in October 2000, but as of the current date have not yet been reissued
permits for a second term. In accordance with
state regulations, they continue implementation under previous permit conditions.
The Phase I cities
have fully implemented all of their permit requirements.
These include those generally described above for Phase II, as well as an
industrial inspection program and monitoring requirements.
Arapahoe County, although required to submit a Phase I application in July 1997,
received notice this year it will instead be permitted under Phase II. The District has coordinated a regional
water-quality monitoring program on behalf of Denver, Aurora, Lakewood, and Arapahoe
County. Under a cooperative agreement with
the U.S. Geological Survey, a total of five sites have been sampled during runoff events
for four years. The program is intended to
assess long-term trends, and will also provide data for watershed planning.
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