The Next Generation Permit

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There are approximately 300 municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) permitted under Phase II of EPA's storm water program in California. California's first generation phase II permit was adopted in 2003 and is currently being renewed. The first generation permit required the development of a Storm Water Management Plan (SWMP). The SWMP contained detailed Best Management Practices (BMPs) and specific level-of implementation information and is reviewed and approved by the appropriate regional water quality control boards (RBs). There are nine RBs that exercise rulemaking and regulatory activities by basins in California. The State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) wrote phase II permit and the RBs have enforcement authority. The RBs must approve the SWMP before it can obtain coverage under the storm water permit. The first generation permit was very basic and permit language simply identified goals and objectives for each of the six Minimum Control Measures as required under EPA federal storm water regulations. The first generation permit approach provided the flexibility to target an MS4's problem areas while working within the existing organizational structure. However, audits of Permittees and information gained from interviews with RBs revealed that many of these storm water programs lacked a baseline program and specific details in the SWMP to implement an adequate program for protection from the impacts of storm water runoff. RBs found it difficult to determine Permittees' compliance with the first generation permit, due to the lack of specific requirements. The permit language did not contain specific deadlines for compliance, did not incorporate clear performance standards, and did not include measurable goals or quantifiable targets for implementation. When permit language is not specific, determining compliance with the permit can become difficult.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2012

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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