According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Water, EPA staff are currently completing cost and benefit studies and considering alternative regulatory approaches for the proposed national stormwater rule.
EPA has yet to present options to senior management for final decisions. However, the agency still intends to publish the proposed rule by June 10, a court-imposed deadline. While EPA has officially stated that it has no current plans of asking the court for an extension, the process and remaining steps suggest that meeting the June 10 deadline may be problematic. Normally, there is a 90-day U.S. Office of Management and Budget review period after agency managers complete their work.
One of the major questions still being debated internally is how to best address the need for retrofitting older urban areas. A national retrofit requirement significantly affects EPA cost estimates for compliance. A retrofit requirement could still be included in the proposed rule. However, another option is to address retrofitting through the total maximum daily load (TMDL) program. The reliance on the TMDL program for retrofitting is based on the fact that approximately 90% of urban areas discharge to waters impaired by stormwater flows, which requires them to incorporate TMDL goals into their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit.
Another major topic is the proposed redevelopment standard. A potential option for meeting this standard is through the development of a green infrastructure plan or program. This option may provide an opportunity for older communities, particularly those with combined sewer overflows, to propose green infrastructure alternatives, which may be part of an integrated planning framework.