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Notice of Solicitation of Public Comment - Regulations for the Discharge of Groundwater to the Municipal Separate Stormwater Sewer System

Monday, May 22, 2023

Current Requirements (Pre-Regulations)

DOEE currently allows and oversees discharges of groundwater to District surface water bodies that pass through the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4). Discharges that pass through the combined or sanitary sewer systems are overseen by DC Water.  DOEE’s Groundwater Discharge Authorization (GDA) program reviews and approves discharges to the MS4 to ensure that the District is in compliance with its NPDES permit and to prevent contaminated groundwater from reaching the District’s rivers and streams.  DOEE’s program provides construction dewaterers and sumps collecting groundwater in building sub-levels an efficient method of groundwater disposal. 

Any groundwater that is being discharged to the MS4 (See Map of CSS and MS4) must first be reviewed and approved by DOEE. This includes water from non-residential building sump pumps and from construction projects whose excavations will encounter groundwater (such as buildings with basements or parking garages in areas with a shallow groundwater table).  Requirements for application include DOEE-approved pre-discharge groundwater characterization and scheduled effluent monitoring during discharge. To learn more about whether your site is eligible for a Groundwater Discharge Authorization, and what steps your site will need to complete to apply, please contact [email protected].

Proposed Regulations

- 21 DCMR 1600: Discharge of Groundwater to the Municipal Separate Stormwater Sewer System (MS4)

DOEE has drafted a new set of regulations that will codify the Groundwater Discharge Authorization program. The new regulations will make the application review and permit oversight process highly transparent and predictable, while remaining diligently protective of the District’s surface water bodies. These proposed regulations were recently published on May 26, 2023 in the DC Register, Volume 70 Number 21. The public comment period will run for 60 days. The public comment period is open and will run for 60 days, ending on July 25, 2023. DOEE held virtual town halls on June 20 & 21 to introduce these regulations and discuss the intricacies.