Ask the Expert, Special Topics in Environmental Management

What is My Regulatory Authority for Controlling Stormwater Runoff?

Q. How do I find out if the EPA or the State is the regulatory authority for controlling stormwater runoff at my construction site?

A. This answer to this question is key to determining an owner/operator’s responsibilities. Before you can decide the regulatory responsibilities with which you must comply, you need to determine the implementing agency.

In most situations, the state environmental agency is the controlling authority that regulates stormwater discharges. To qualify for approval, a state program must consist of regulations that are at least as strict as the federal standards. In fact, there are only 4 states that do not have the permitting authority. And, those are Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New Mexico.

If your site is within a territory, such as Washington D.C. or Puerto Rico, the federal construction stormwater permit applies. This permit also applies if your site is on Tribal lands. If you are not within Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, or New Mexico, look to your state for the proper construction stormwater permit.