NPDES News – Small MS4 Urbanized Area Clarification: Withdrawal of Direct Final RuleNPDES News:

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Small MS4 Urbanized Area Clarification:Withdrawal of Direct Final Rule
EPA published a notice in the Federal Register announcing that, effective today, it is withdrawing the direct final rule ‘‘NPDES Small MS4 Urbanized Area Clarification,’’ published on December 2, 2022. The withdrawal was necessitated by the receipt of an adverse comment prior to the close of the comment period. EPA will respond to the adverse comment received as part of any final action it takes on the parallel proposed rule that the Agency published under the same title on December 2, 2022. As stated in the direct final rule and the parallel proposed rule, EPA will not institute a second comment period on this action. 

Background  On December 2, 2022, EPA published in tandem a direct final rule and a parallel proposed rule in the ‘‘Rules’’ section of the Federal Register under the same title, NPDES Small MS4 Urbanized Area Clarification. Both the proposed rulemaking andthe separate direct final rule would have made the same clarification to the Phase II regulations. Both actions were limited to clarifying that EPA would retain the existing threshold for automatic designation of small MS4s for regulation under the Phase II stormwater permitting regulations.

These actions would have made a narrow set of changes to EPA’s regulations in order to clarify that the designation criteria for regulating small municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s), which has been used since the promulgation of the regulations in 1999, would remain the same. Clarifications are necessary because of the Census Bureau’s recent decision to discontinue its practice of publishing the location of “urbanized areas” along with the 2020 Census and future censuses.   As stated in the Federal Register Notice for the direct final rule, “…if EPA receives adverse comment in response to either publication, the Agency will publish a timely withdrawal of the direct final rule in the Federal Register informing the public that the direct final rule will not take effect. EPA would then address public comments as required as part of any subsequent final rule based on the proposed rulemaking.” EPA received two public comments, one of which was an adverse comment.  

For any questions related to this announcement, please Do not respond directly to this e-mail, as this inbox is not monitored.
ABOUT NPDES The NPDES permit program addresses water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants to waters of the United States. Created in 1972 by the Clean Water Act, the NPDES permit program is authorized to state governments by EPA to perform many permitting, administrative, and enforcement aspects of the program.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Office of WaterOffice of Wastewater Management | Website
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