MPCA seeks comments on stormwater permit planning

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) invites 
comments through March 20 on a permit that regulates construction 
stormwater throughout the state.
Under the federal Clean Water Act and Minnesota law, the MPCA oversees 
a program to manage stormwater runoff from construction activities. 
These activities include clearing, excavating and grading that disturb 
more than one acre of soil. The purpose of the state program is to 
protect water resources from pollutants, particularly sediment, as 
well as nutrients, oil, chemicals and litter carried with runoff. In 
addition, the program strives to prevent this runoff from flooding 
streams and lakes and damaging habitat for fish and wildlife.
The MPCA issues a general permit that requires controls for 
construction stormwater runoff. When construction site owners and 
operators apply for coverage under the general permit, they agree to 
comply with the conditions set in the permit.
The current permit expires Aug. 1, 2013. Because federal rules have 
changed since the last permit was issued in 2008, the MPCA must update 
the general permit to comply with these rules. Based on research and 
experience, the federal government continues to make changes to ensure 
that adequate best management practices are in place. While the 
primary changes concern federal rules, the changes also include 
reorganization of the permit language. The draft permit includes 
clarifications and minor language changes to make the permit more 
concise, to delete duplicate or unneeded language, and to make the 
permit more readable and easier to understand.
In addition, the MPCA will require that permit applications be 
submitted electronically to achieve greater efficiency.
The MPCA values comments by stakeholders and will provide equitable 
access for all who wish to comment and learn about the permit. 
Stakeholders will have an opportunity to ask questions about the draft 
permit at a public information meeting on March 8, beginning at 9 
a.m., in the MPCA Citizens Board Room in the agency's St. Paul office.
Comments, which must be in writing, are due by 4:30 p.m. March 20 to 
Lawrence Zdon, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN 55155-4194 or 
by sending them by email to lawrence.zdon@state.mn.us.