Why Is EPA Taking So Long To Write a Stormwater Rule? It's Complicated

"Grand Rapids, Mich., is placing a bet that restoring the white water that gave the city its name will make it a destination for kayakers and other outdoors enthusiasts."

"Michigan's second-largest city is planning to remove or modify dams on the Grand River before redeveloping the waterfront with high-end retail and luxury apartments.

Making the river pretty is one thing, but making it clean is another. The Grand River -- one of 11 in U.S. EPA's Urban Rivers Restoration Initiative -- is polluted by stormwater. The river accounts for some of the estimated 50,000 miles of rivers and streams fouled by bacteria and other contaminants washed off streets, parking lots, lawns and farms.

Cities like Grand Rapids have what are called municipal separate storm sewer systems -- 'MS4s' in Clean Water Act lingo -- that are regulated under the 1972 law. EPA has delegated the authority for permitting the systems to a number of states, including Michigan, which has been cracking down on MS4s in recent years. But smaller suburbs and rural areas outside the city face no external requirements."

Annie Snider reports for Greenwire July 5, 2013.

Monday, July 8, 2013