DEEP: DEEP Says Modifications Underway in Proposed Requirements for Management of Municipal Storm Water Systems

2014 News Press Release
December 23, 2014
DEEP Says Modifications Underway in Proposed Requirements for Management of Municipal Storm Water Systems
Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) says it is considering modifications to key provisions of proposed new permit requirements for the management and oversight of municipal storm water systems in an effort to address concerns expressed by cities and towns – while still allowing the agency to achieve important environmental objectives.
DEEP officials said they are already discussing with local leaders changes to language now in the draft permit and will circulate a revised version of that draft permit by January 26.  The revised version of the permit language is expected to include changes in various requirements, including street sweeping, cleaning of catch basins, management of fallen leaves, and water quality monitoring of storm water discharges.
The proposed changes in permit requirements for municipal storm water systems were the subject of a public hearing at DEEP on Wednesday, Dec. 19.  The formal parties to this matter – DEEP staff, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, the Council of Small Towns, and the Connecticut Fund for the Environment --  are scheduled to meet with the hearing officer for a  “status conference” Feb. 4, to report on the progress of their discussions and determine the next steps in the process of finalizing new permit requirements.
Oswald Inglese, DEEP’s Director of Water Permitting and Enforcement, said, “We understand that our cities and towns are facing tough budget times and through our public hearing process local officials told us about the potential costs of implementing the new storm water requirements.  That is why we will continue a dialogue with our municipal partners in an effort to reach agreement on final language for this permit that strengthens environmental protection in a common sense and fiscally prudent manner.”
Inglese said that while DEEP considers the ability of cities and towns to meet new requirements it also has an obligation to move forward with improvements to the management of storm water because of the toll it takes on the quality of the state’s environment and waters.
“Storm water carries contaminants into our lakes, rivers, streams, and Long Island Sound – the water bodies that make Connecticut a special place to live and the places where we all want to enjoy swimming, fishing, and boating,” Inglese said.  “We must take steps to reduce the level of contamination discharged into our water from storm water systems.” 
Inglese said, “As Connecticut has grown our landscape has more hard and impervious surfaces where storm water systems have replaced the natural infiltration processes that allowed storm water to be absorbed back into the ground.  This means increasing amounts of polluted storm water runoff is being carried into our waterways – degrading water quality, threatening recreational opportunities, and putting habitats and aquatic species at risk.”