PennFuture, an environmental and public health advocacy group, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) filed a Stipulation of Settlement on Nov. 20 outlining revisions to Pennsylvania’s municipal stormwater permitting system. As a result, DEP will propose a revised version of Pennsylvania’s general permit for small municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s), known as PAG-13, which will be available for public comment in 2015.
The settlement was filed with the Environmental Hearing Board as part of a resolution to an appeal filed by PennFuture in July 2013. According to PennFuture, the revised PAG-13 would improve the environmental protection afforded by DEP’s permitting program. The new permit would allow for enhanced public review of municipalities’ plans for reducing stormwater pollution, and it would strengthen DEP’s processes for reviewing and evaluating permit applications.
In its appeal, PennFuture challenged DEP’s authorization of an MS4 discharge under a general permit. The organization said there was not sufficient public participation or adequate assurance that the permit was consistent with the municipality’s wasteload allocation in an approved total maximum daily load (TMDL) report.
DEP will hold workshops for municipal officials next year to help them create effective stormwater management plans and meet their obligations to reduce stormwater pollution.