More than four years after finalizing its Clean Water Act ("CWA") construction stormwater rule, EPA has issued a revised rule eliminating the controversial numeric limits for turbidity. EPA issued the previous version of its construction stormwater effluent limitations guidelines rule in December 2009 (the "2009 Rule").
Back in the 2009 Rule, for the first time the EPA established a numeric limit on the turbidity of stormwater discharges from large construction sites and required compliance water sampling to ensure that the numeric limits were met. That's when the hornets started going after the EPA! The 2009 Rule came under immediate attack, including a lawsuit brought by industry groups and a petition for administrative review by the Small Business Administration ("SBA") Office of Advocacy, the first time this has ever happened. The new rule, published in the Federal Register on March 6, 2014 ("New Rule"), which is part of a settlement of the industry lawsuit, removes the numeric turbidity limits and changes several non-numeric provisions of the 2009 Rule. The EPA has left it open, so an effluent limit for construction is not completely out of the woods. Stay Tuned!