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Under state law, unless the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues the final Lake Champlain Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) by October 1, 2015, all projects requiring an operational stormwater permit for discharges within the Lake Champlain watershed will be required to show no increase in phosphorus. This requirement will apply to all applications for coverage under GP 3-9010, 3-9015, or individual stormwater permits, which are received after October 1st. This requirement is in addition to existing requirements to meet “net zero” in stormwater-impaired waters as described in Environmental Protection Rules Ch. 22 (Stormwater Management Rule for Stormwater Impaired Waters).
Section 31 of Act 64 of 2015 amends our stormwater statute (10 V.S.A. § 1264). Among the changes to statue is a new section (1264(h)(2)) that covers requirements for issuing permits. It effectively requires that projects within the Lake Champlain watershed not increase phosphorus load if there is no TMDL for the lake. This applies to both new projects and to the renewal of existing permits. To renew an existing permit, a feasibility-based upgrade to meet the WQv, Rev, and CPv standards of the Vermont Stormwater Management Manual will also be necessary. Per section 54(2) of the act, these requirements will take effect on October 1, 2015.
EPA’s comment period on their proposed TMDL ends Thursday, October 15, a 30-day extension over the initial deadline. Based on this timeline, it is very unlikely there will be a TMDL in place by October 1st. Please note that the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) does not control the timeline for issuing the TMDL, but we remain optimistic it will be issued relatively soon. Information on the TMDL is available here.
We anticipate that we will issue a procedure in the coming weeks to guide applicants who need to meet these requirements. You may direct any questions you have in the interim to the Stormwater Program staff person covering the district of the project in question.
DEC’s longer term plan for managing stormwater once the TMDL is issued is contained with our draft Lake Champlain TMDL Phase I Implementation Plan. DEC will commence a public process to finalize this plan once the EPA adopts the TMDL.