Public Notice of Recodification of OWTS and Stormwater Rules
The RI Department of Environmental Management Office of Water Resources has issued public notice of proposed rulemaking for recodifications of the RI Stormwater Design and Installation Standards Manual (“Stormwater Manual”) and the Rules Establishing Minimum Standards Relating to Location, Design, Construction and Maintenance of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (“OWTS Rules”).
A public hearing will be held on September 12, 2018 at DEM’s offices in Providence for each recodified Rule document. The hearings will be held in Room 280C beginning at 10:00 a.m. The public comment period will remain open until 4:00 p.m. on October 1, 2018.
In accordance with the RI Administrative Procedures Act (RIGL §42-35-5), all state regulations must be reformatted and recodified by December 31, 2018. This recodification must follow a standard format used for all state regulations. Recodification for most of DEM’s Rules required a basic reformatting with no wording changes. However, the Stormwater Manual and the OWTS Rules presented unique circumstances involving guidance that needed to be addressed (explained below).
It must be stressed that the recodification for both the Stormwater Manual and the OWTS Rules involved no substantive changes to either Rule. Stormwater management requirements and OWTS requirements will be exactly the same under the recodified rules as they are today under the existing Rules.
Background and Regulatory Authority
In an effort to preserve, protect, and improve the nation's water resources from polluted stormwater runoff, the RIDEM has developed a Stormwater Program as required by the Clean Water Act (CWA) and RI State Law.
RIDEM’s Stormwater Program addresses requirements from EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), and Underground Injection Control (UIC) program under the Clean Water Act, as well as the requirements of the Freshwater Wetlands Regulations, the Water Quality Regulations, the RIPDES Regulations, the Groundwater Discharge Regulations and the RI Stormwater Design and Installation Standards Manual. The permitting mechanisms are designed to meet the above regulations and laws in order to prevent and minimize stormwater runoff from washing harmful pollutants into groundwater, wetlands, coastal waters, and surface waters such as streams, rivers, lakes or coastal waters.
To provide some clarity, potential sources of polluted stormwater runoff are grouped and permitted into 3 categories: municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s), construction activities, and industrial activities.
- Construction Activity: Construction and Post-Construction Stormwater. These include discharges of stormwater from disturbed land, as well as post-construction diversions of stormwater to wetlands, rivers, and under the ground. To determine if you need to apply for a Freshwater Wetlands or Stormwater permit, information is found on the Construction Permitting Page.
New! Application for Stormwater Construction Permit and Water Quality Certification
- Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s): Operators of regulated small MS4s (municipal, federal, and state-owned storm sewer systems within "Urbanized Areas" and "Densely Populated Places" with populations (<100,000) may be required to obtain authorization to discharge stormwater. Operators must meet the requirements of the General Permit for Small MS4s and Industrial Activity at Eligible Facilities Operated by Regulated Small MS4s.
- Industrial Activity: Certain industrial sectors may require authorization under the RIPDES industrial permit for stormwater discharges. Operators must meet the requirements of Multi-Sector General Permit for Stormwater Discharge Associated with Industrial Activity.
- The EPA enhanced the regulation of stormwater discharges under the ground through the Underground Injection Control Program (UIC) with its authority from the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The RIDEM utilizes its authority under the Groundwater Discharge Regulations to incorporate safe practices for groundwater supplies. This permitting mechanism is designed to prevent and minimize stormwater runoff from washing harmful pollutants into groundwater that could threaten drinking water supplies.
- Finally, the State Freshwater Wetlands program RIGL 2-1-20.1, 42-17.1, and 42-17.6, includes regulation of stormwater as it has the potential to divert or alter the functions and values of freshwater wetlands within the State. If there are wetlands on your site, you must first consult with the Freshwater Wetlands Permitting Program to determine if your project needs to comply with stormwater requirements.
- RIPDES Regulations
- RIPDES Permitting Program (Non-Stormwater)
- Multi-Sector General Permit Search
- Freshwater Wetlands Permitting
- RI Stormwater Design and Installation Standards Manual Page
- RI Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook
- Water Quality Restoration Studies: Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Program
- Catch Basin Cleaning Disposal Guidance
- DEM Water Quality
- DEM Data Visualizations & Maps