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Separate Storm Sewer System MS4 Permit


In early 1970's Congress passed a revised and updated Clean Water Act (CWA) that regulates wastewater discharges to the waters of the United States and created a program called the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) that requires certain industries, municipalities, and commercial facilities to meet national water quality criteria for point source discharges to rivers and streams in the United States.

EPA Permitting Process

In order to discharge storm water from the separate storm sewer system in large municipalities, like the District, the DC Government was required to obtain an NPDES discharge permit for their MS4. NPDES permits have site-specific requirements regarding the release of discharge into waters of the US, and often include regulatory guidance for discharges from industrial and construction sites, monitoring of these discharges, enforcement activities for violators, fiscal availability of monies, and annual reporting and implementation planning.

District of Columbia MS4 Permit History

The District applied for its first MS4 permit in 1999. EPA granted a 5-year permit on April 19, 2000. EPA issued a new MS4 permit * on August 19, 2004 that expires on August 18, 2009. In August of 2008, the District and EPA reached agreement on a modification to the District's MS4 Permit. This modification establishes with increased detail and specificity the activities the District will undertake to better manage stormwater pollution. View a copy of the EPA Letter Agreement*.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

The MOU is a living document that outlines the responsibilities of DDOE, DC Water, DPW, and the DDOT for maintaining compliance with the MS4 permit.

The MS4 Advisory Panel consists of the following persons or their designees:

  • Mayor
  • Chairman of Council of District of Columbia
  • General Manager of DC WASA
  • Director of DDOE
  • Director of DPW
  • Director of DDOT
  • Chief Financial Officer

The Advisory Panel prepared a final Report to Council [PDF] dated 2002 that outlined comprehensive recommendations to the Council that identify the best means by which the District of Columbia can meet all present and future federal regulatory and permit requirements pertaining to the discharge of storm water into receiving waters.

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