“Enhanced” Stormwater Rules Heading to Public Hearing

NC Department of Energy, Mineral and Land Resources (DEMLR)  staff has “worked with stakeholders to draft new stormwater rules” that reflect the new Minimum Design Criteria and Fast-Track Permitting Process required by S.L. 2013-82.  At the same time, they updated all of the stormwater rules in accordance with G.S. §150B-21.3A which directs state agencies to review and update their rules every 10 years. The proposed stormwater rules have been reorganized and, in some cases, rewritten

Some of the immediate issues that jumped out during a brief read through:

  • Projects with “major modifications” would have to comply with the new rules
  • May have to comply with multiple sets of requirements, if subject to more than one stormwater management program
  • Vested rights potentially determined by Environmental Management Commission
  • Definitions of “adverse impact,” “best usage,” “existing development,” “minor modification,” and “major modification” among others
  • Definition of Stormwater Control Measure now includes pollutant removal (quality, not quantity) and preference for infiltration or filtration
  • Appear to modify current or create new criteria for project density, existing development, and design storm
  • Buffers (vegetated setbacks)
  • For High Density Projects, the treatment requirements shall be for “runoff treatment or runoff volume match” (Runoff treatment = “when all the stormwater runoff from all surfaces on the project at build-out is treated in a primary SCM”…Does that mean 1 giant infiltrating stormwater device?)

That’s a handful of quick stuff, without even getting to the coastal rules chapter.

The full proposal can be found here: https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/energy-mineral-land-resources/energy-mineral-land-permits/stormwater-program/rules-readoption 

A series of 3 public hearings are scheduled for March, with the public comment period ending on April 15, 2016. The Environmental Management Commission is set to adopt the Rule Package on July 14, 2016.

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