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Ensuring Clean Water Through Stormwater Rulemaking


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The U.S. EPA’s stormwater rulemaking process that is currently underway is a great opportunity for you to speak up for policies that will ensure cleaner water in the Great Lakes. Our workshop presenters will highlight the most important elements of the proposed rule. They will also describe how the policies they recommend will make a difference and why it’s critical for you to get involved and help actively promote the rule’s final adoption.

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Ensuring Clean Water Through Stormwater Rulemaking

  1. 1. Stormwater Rule Research Healing Our Waters October 13, 2011
  2. 2. Natural Resources Defense Council <ul><li>National non-profit membership group; 1.3 M members & online activists </li></ul><ul><li>Founded in 1970 </li></ul><ul><li>Mission: “to safeguard the Earth: its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends” and “to restore the integrity of the elements that sustain life – air, land, and water – and to defend endangered natural places” </li></ul>
  3. 3. Natural Resources Defense Council <ul><li>Staff of more than 400 lawyers, scientists, and technical experts </li></ul><ul><li>7 offices: New York; Washington, DC; Chicago; Montana San Francisco; Santa Monica; and Beijing </li></ul><ul><li>MW Office (Chicago): opened in January 2007 to intensify NRDC’s advocacy efforts on water and energy policy in the Midwest (including Great Lakes issues and climate change) </li></ul>
  4. 5. NRDC: Rooftops to Rivers <ul><li>Aurora, Illinois: </li></ul><ul><li>Saw Report approach to GI as a way to organize disparate planning documents </li></ul><ul><li>Brought in NRDC to identify potential projects and partners </li></ul><ul><li>Syracuse, New York: </li></ul><ul><li>Amended Consent Judgment for CSOs applied strictly grey infrastructure approaches </li></ul><ul><li>Community opposition to use of treatment plants pushes County to look for alternatives </li></ul><ul><li>NRDC report cited as convincing County GI could be a viable solution </li></ul>
  5. 6. NRDC: Rooftops to Rivers <ul><li>What’s Next: </li></ul><ul><li>Updated report released later this fall </li></ul><ul><li>Updates on 9 cities profiled in 2006 + 5 new cities </li></ul><ul><li>Composite studies </li></ul><ul><li>Expanded economics and finance sections </li></ul><ul><li>New metric: how are cities doing? </li></ul>
  6. 7. Retention Standards <ul><li>Most effective standard to retain urban runoff & meet regulatory requirements? </li></ul><ul><li>Retention: prevent conversion of precipitation to runoff discharging from a development site on the surface, from where it can enter a receiving water. </li></ul><ul><li>Assessed 5 urban land use types (3 Res; 1 Retail Commercial; 1 Infill Redevelopment); each in a climate region on 2 soil types </li></ul>
  7. 8. Study Design <ul><li>1 st step: apply infiltrating bioretention (= no underdrain) </li></ul>
  8. 9. Study Design <ul><li>2 nd step: when the initial strategy could not fully retain post-development runoff, additional methods were applied, involving roof runoff harvesting & roof water dispersion. </li></ul><ul><li>Assessed: reduction of average surface runoff volume, maintenance of pre-development groundwater recharge & water quality improvement </li></ul>
  9. 10. Results <ul><li>For the more highly impervious commercial retail and redevelopment cases, bioretention would retain about 45 percent of runoff & pollutants generated & save about 40 % of the pre-development recharge. </li></ul><ul><li>Adding roof runoff management measures approximately doubled retention and pollutant reduction. </li></ul><ul><li>Downside: little groundwater recharge </li></ul>
  10. 11. Results <ul><li>Retaining 90 percent of the average annual post-development runoff volume: most environmentally protective standard. </li></ul><ul><li>Mtg this standard prevented 66-90 % runoff -- pollutant loading was also reduced for each soil type. </li></ul>
  11. 12. Results <ul><li>Retaining runoff produced by the 95 th percentile, 24-hour precipitation event would yield equivalent protection on most soils. </li></ul><ul><li>Also more consistent region to region than 85 th percentile standard. </li></ul>
  12. 13. GI Works, is Good Policy, and is Enforceable
  13. 14. Results <ul><li>Standard 4: Diff betw post- & pre-development avg annual runoff volumes  </li></ul><ul><li>Standard 5: Diff betw post- & pre-develop runoff volumes for all events up to & incl 85th percentile, 24-hour precipitation event. </li></ul><ul><li>Standards 4 and 5, inconsistent in retaining runoff and reducing pollutants; Standard 5 especially weak when pre and post development volumes converge. </li></ul>