Phase I Stormwater Permitting Program Summary
The 1972 Amendments to the Federal Water
Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water
Act or CWA) prohibit the discharge of any pollutant to waters
of the United States from a point source unless the discharge
is authorized by a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination
System (NPDES) permit. The NPDES permitting program is designed
to track point sources, monitor the discharge of pollutants
from specific sources to surface waters, and require the
implementation of the controls necessary to minimize the
discharge of pollutants.
Initial efforts to improve water quality
under the NPDES program primarily focused on reducing pollutants
in industrial process wastewater and discharges from municipal
sewage treatment plants. But as pollution control measures
for these sources were implemented and refined, studies
showed that more diffuse sources of water pollution were
also significant causes of water quality impairment. Specifically,
storm water runoff draining large surface areas, such as
agricultural and urban land.
In 1987, the CWA was again amended by Congress to require
implementation of a comprehensive national program for addressing
problematic non-agricultural sources of storm water discharges.
As required by the amended CWA, the NPDES Storm Water Program
is being implemented in two phases: Phase I and Phase II.
Phase I requires NPDES permits for storm
water discharges from:
· "Medium" and "large"
municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) generally
serving, or located in incorporated places or counties with,
populations of 100,000 or more people; and
· Eleven categories of industrial activity, one of
which is construction activity disturbing five acres or
greater of land.
In Georgia, a general stormwater permit
for ten categories of industrial activity was issued in
1993 and individual stormwater permits for 57 large and
medium MS4s were issued in 1994. The Phase I stormwater
permit for constructions activity disturbing five acres
or more of land was subject to a series of legal challenges
and was not issued until 2000. Information on the Phase
I stormwater program is available on the USEPA Phase I Web
site. Information on Georgia’s Phase I stormwater
permits and permittees is available on the Georgia EPD Web
Source: USEPA Stormwater Web site at http://www.epa.gov/owm/sw/index.htm.
Georgia EPD Web site at http://www.georgianet.org/dnr/environ/
Other Resources: Local Government Environmental
Assistance Network (LGEAN) Web site at http://www.lgean.org/.
Contacts: USEPA Office of Wastewater Management
at 202-564-0722. Georgia EPD NonPoint Source Program at