In a big win for builders, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on May 28 modified its stormwater construction general permit (CGP) to address several of NAHB’s concerns.
The major issue EPA addressed was to remove the "joint and several" liability language in the permit that could hold builder’s responsible for another builder's failure to comply with the Clean Water Act. This requirement could have subjected builders to significant fines for problems they did not create.
EPA clarified that when multiple builders are at the same site, they may develop a group stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) instead of individual SWPPPs, but each builder is ultimately responsible for complying with the permit. This permit modification also clarified three requirements to make sure they are consistent with EPA’s regulations, and it modified two definitions at the request of NAHB.
Although only immediately applicable in New Mexico, Idaho, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, the CGP serves as a model for most other states when they develop their own stormwater permitting requirements.
Both developers and builders must seek coverage under the CGP for construction that disturbs more than one acre, or less than one acre when the lot is part of a larger development, such as an individual builder working on single lots within a residential subdivision.
This modified CGP will be in effect until February 2022, at which time EPA will need to reissue a new CGP.