Thursday, February 2, 2012

Draft MS4 Permit Issued For Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a received a proposed Municipal Stormwater discharge permit to Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM). Located just south of Tacoma, JBLM is the largest military installation on the West Coast. The most recent population estimate for the base was 95,000 people, including military personnel, military dependants residing on base, civilian employees, and visitors. The permit, when final, is expected to regulate how stormwater is managed across nearly 142 square miles of base property.

EPA’s draft municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permit for JBLM is the first such proposed permit for a military or other federal facility in western Washington. The draft permit requires specific actions and activities that must be accomplished over at least the next five years to protect local waters.

Among the new requirements under the proposed permit, the base must control runoff from all construction sites; control runoff from all new development and redevelopment sites; map, inspect, and maintain the storm system, and engage JBLM employees and the community about preventing pollutants in storm water runoff.

Due to its proximity to Puget Sound, the Base permit also requires:

• stormwater runoff from redevelopment and new projects must meet performance standards through use of Low Impact Development (LID) techniques and, if needed, traditional stormwater features (detention ponds);
• a new construction project threshold of 5,000 square feet or greater;
• a program to reduce runoff from the existing developed areas;
• a biological stream health monitoring program using aquatic insects in Clover and Murray Creeks.

EPA’s proposed permit requires LID practices such as rain gardens, permeable pavement, native vegetation areas, and green roofs to avoid or lessen the reliance on traditional stormwater pipes and ponds. By using LID, a larger portion of rainfall will be intercepted, infiltrated, evaporated, or reused to avoid excess runoff. LID actions are expected to maintain or restore a more natural stream flow throughout the year, replenish groundwater, help protect fish and other aquatic organisms, and to reduce the influx of pollutants discharged into the streams, creeks and lakes on the base or into Puget Sound.

EPA will hold a public meeting to discuss the permit on March 19, 2012 in Lakewood, Washington. Comments on the Draft Permit will be accepted through March 30, 2012. EPA will then consider and respond to all comments, and make any necessary changes to the draft permit. The Washington Department of Ecology will also consider certifying the permit in accordance with Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. The EPA Director of the Office of Water & Watersheds will then make a final decision about permit issuance.

Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address Stormwater Permitting & Regulatory Support, Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP), Stormwater Monitoring and Stormwater Training.

For further information contact Caltha LLP atinfo@calthacompany.comorCaltha LLP Website

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