Stormwater Management

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has initiated a national rulemaking to establish a program to reduce stormwater discharges for new development and redevelopment sites and to make other regulatory improvements to strengthen its existing stormwater program. These regulations will impose additional stormwater controls for existing buildings, aimed at creating pre-construction hydrology flows after a site is developed.

In September 2010, EPA issued an Information Collection Request (ICR) to more than 3,000 developers and owners to survey stormwater best management practices and their associated costs. NAIOP, along with other real estate organizations, successfully lobbied to omit certain onerous financial data from the questionnaire and created an ICR guide  for members that received the questionnaire from EPA.

The
Issue

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has considered implementing new stormwater regulations for commercial buildings for the past several years. Under a settlement agreement with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, EPA agreed to promulgate a rule that would require commercial buildings to maintain the hydrologic characteristics of a new development site to that of undeveloped land. 

Position

New federal regulations will be extremely costly to the real estate industry and could impose new unproven technologies as mandates. While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has highlighted certain measures that have shown to be beneficial for certain properties — such as rain gardens, green roofs and pervious pavements — it is not realistic to impose these and other measures on a national scale for all properties.

Status

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rulemaking for stormwater management was originally scheduled to be completed by December 10, 2013. Having missed the deadline, EPA representatives announced that they are deferring action on the rulemaking. They have stated that they will now focus their efforts on providing incentives, technical assistance and tools to communities to encourage them to implement strong stormwater programs; leverage existing requirements to strengthen municipal stormwater permits; and continue to promote green infrastructure as an integral part of stormwater management.