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Developers Need To Take U.S. EPA Storm Water Survey Seriously!

Is there anything more annoying and intrusive than a phone call during dinner informing you that you have been randomly selected to participate in a survey?

How about receiving a letter from the federal government telling you that you have been randomly selected to provide detailed responses to a 67-page questionnaire and you must do so within 60 days or face fines of $37,500 per day? In mid-September, U.S. EPA mailed letters to approximately 3,000 owners and developers of real estate development and redevelopment projects. One-third of the recipients are required to complete a 67-page questionnaire. The remaining recipients must answer a 21-page questionnaire.  The questionnaire will collect detailed project and financial information that U.S. EPA will use to decide whether to develop additional regulations covering long term storm water discharges (i.e. post-construction discharges) from new development and redevelopment sites. 

A new rule is expected to be finalized by November 2012. U.S. EPA is seeking responses under the authority of Section 308 of the Clean Water Act. This allows U.S. EPA to seek information from owners or operators of point source discharges to develop regulations.  Several trade groups challenged U.S. EPA’s authority to seek the information as well as the number and type of questions posed.  As a result, U.S. EPA has reduced the number of questions and scope. At least 40 owners and developers in Indiana have received letters from U.S. EPA.  Recipients were selected from listings in Dunn and Bradstreet based on NAICS codes, sales and geographic location.  A number of Indiana cities and counties and some state agencies have also been requested to complete questionnaires. Unlike the dinner-hour telephone survey, recipients cannot simply ignore U.S. EPA’s questionnaire. 

U.S. EPA can seek civil penalties of up to $37,500 per day for failure to respond.  Recipients must certify that their responses are true, accurate and complete under threat of penalties or imprisonment. If you need assistance responding to the questionnaire, U.S. EPA is presenting a free Q&A webcast on October 14, 2010 from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm EDT.  Recipients should also check with their trade groups.  Some groups are providing guidance to their members.

To learn more about Andy Bowman and his practice, please visit his profile.

  • Partner

    Andy has provided environmental legal services to industrial, commercial and governmental clients for over 30 years. Andy's practice is concentrated in environmental law. He assists clients with permitting, remediation ...

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