Tuesday, February 5, 2013

MPCA invites comments on statewide permit that regulates construction stormwater

St. Paul, Minn. -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) invites comments through March 20 on a permit that regulates construction stormwater throughout the state.

Under the federal Clean Water Act and Minnesota law, the MPCA oversees a program to manage stormwater runoff from construction activities. These activities include clearing, excavating and grading that disturb more than one acre of soil.

The purpose of the state program is to protect water resources from pollutants, particularly sediment, as well as nutrients, oil, chemicals and litter carried with runoff. In addition, the program strives to prevent this runoff from flooding streams and lakes and damaging habitat for fish and wildlife.

The MPCA issues a general permit that requires controls for construction stormwater runoff. When construction site owners and operators apply for coverage under the general permit, they agree to comply with the conditions set in the permit.

The current permit expires on Aug. 1, 2013. Because federal rules have changed since the last permit was issued in 2008, the MPCA must update the general permit to comply with these rules. Based on research and experience, the federal government continues to make changes to ensure that adequate best management practices are in place.

While the primary changes concern federal rules, the changes also include reorganization of the permit language. The draft permit includes clarifications and minor language changes to make the permit more concise, to delete duplicate or unneeded language, and to make the permit more readable and easier to understand.

In addition, the MPCA will require that permit applications be submitted electronically to achieve greater efficiency.

The MPCA values comments by stakeholders and will provide equitable access for all who wish to comment and learn about the permit. Stakeholders will have an opportunity to ask questions about the draft permit at a public information meeting on March 8, beginning at 9 a.m., in the MPCA Citizens Board Room in the agency’s St. Paul office.

Comments, which must be writing, are due by 4:30 p.m. March 20 to Lawrence Zdon, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Rd N, Saint Paul, MN 55155-4194 or by sending them by email to lawrence.zdon@state.mn.us.

For more information, visit the MPCA’s Public Notices webpage.