Municipal Leaders Oppose Proposed Stormwater Regulations

State agency goes back to drawing board after Connecticut municipalities contest proposed changes to the general permit.
Municipal Leaders Oppose Proposed Stormwater Regulations

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Municipal leaders in Connecticut have rallied to oppose a proposal by the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection that would create new regulations for how cities and towns deal with stormwater runoff.

Although DEEP claims current regulations need revision to comply with the Clean Water Act, the Connecticut Conference on Municipalities says more study and discussion are needed.

In addition, the CCM released a survey earlier this week that shows the changes would add $100 million in new, unfunded expenses for cities and towns statewide.

Others, such as Betsy Gara, executive director of the Connecticut Council of Small Towns, argue the proposal is overreaching and there should have been more dialogue with local governments from the start.

“The proposed general permit is a prime example of regulations run amok,” says Gara, to The Day. “They need to go back to the drawing board and work with towns as partners in improving water quality. One of the biggest issues is that [DEEP has] exceeded the requirements of the federal law.”

According to critics, many rural areas lack resources — such as leaf collection, monthly street sweeping and frequent cleaning and inspection of catch basins — to comply with proposed changes.

Dennis Shain, a spokesperson for DEEP, acknowledged that many of the state’s smaller towns do not fall under the federal requirements but said improved stormwater management would improve water quality across the board.

Despite pressure from the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, which is lobbying for even stricter regulations, DEEP — citing concerns from municipal leaders — promised to revise the proposed regulations so that balance can be met “between the needs of our municipalities and the important environmental objectives we are trying to achieve.”

Source: The Day


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