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Top 10 Differences Between the 2003 and 2016 Massachusetts MS4 Permit

July 29th, 2016 by Eileen Pannetier


As you may be aware, there are many differences between than 2003 and 2016 MS4 permit. CEI has been analyzing the changes, and to help simplify a complicated permit, we’ve boiled down the most significant changes to 10. Here they are:

1. The 2016 permit has very specific public outreach and participation requirements, divided by audience and with definitive requirements for distribution. This may be something you will can do using materials created by your regional planning agency, MassDEP or EPA.

2. The requirements for regulatory changes include incorporation of specific design requirements for new development and redevelopment largely tied to the Massachusetts Stormwater Handbook. Previously, regulations were required but did not specify design criteria and many communities did not implement any subdivision or site plan requirements.

3. Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPPs) will be required at all municipal maintenance garages, public works yards, transfer stations, and other waste handling facilities, previously only required for construction sites and certain industrial facilities regulated by different permit programs.

4. Municipalities will be required to identify five municipal-owned properties that could potentially be modified or retrofitted with structural best management practices (BMPs) and maintain a minimum of five sites in their inventory for future improvements.

5. Street sweeping is required once per year throughout the regulated area, and twice per year in areas that discharge to nutrient impaired water bodies. Previously street sweeping was considered a best management practice but was not required.

6. Catch basins must be cleaned when they are less than 50% full, which suggest that they will need to be inspected prior to that.

7. Mapping of the entire regulated MS4 system must be performed, including outfalls with contributing catchment areas, interconnections, and open channel conveyances by Year 2, and pipes, manholes, catch basins, and treatment structures by Year 10. Previously, only outfalls had to be mapped.

8. Catchment investigations must be performed and include dry weather screening of all key junction manholes/structures regardless of whether dry weather flow is observed at the outlet. Any dry weather flows observed must be sampled and analyzed for certain parameters. Previously, dry weather investigations were only required at the outfalls, and analysis of samples was recommended but not required.

9. Wet weather sampling must be conducted at outfalls in catchment areas with certain characteristics or system vulnerability factors (SVFs). No wet weather sampling was previously required.

10. Based on the impaired waters within the municipality, some communities may be required to prepare phosphorus control programs (PCPs), or nitrogen identification programs or bacterial strategies. These were not required in the prior permit.

The effective date of the permit is July 1, 2017 and you will have 90 days after that to file a notice of intent (NOI). If you have questions about any of these differences, or would like assistance from CEI, we can help you to minimize the cost of compliance and identify funding sources as well as resources for assistance. Contact me at (508)-261-5160 ext. 301 or epannetier@ceiengineers.com. If you want to talk to the real experts, call Rebecca Balke (rbalke@ceiengineers.com)  or Nick Cristofori (ncristofori@ceiengineers.com) at extensions 308 and 303 respectively. We’re here to help!

Note that these are just the major changes and that there are many other more minor issues to address. Copyright 2016 Comprehensive Environmental Inc. all rights reserved

Posted in the categories Announcements, Compliance, Stormwater, Uncategorized.