1
Introduction

URBANIZATION AND ITS IMPACTS

The influence of humans on the physical and biological systems of the Earth’s surface is not a recent manifestation of modern societies; instead, it is ubiquitous throughout our history. As human populations have grown, so has their footprint, such that between 30 and 50 percent of the Earth’s surface has now been transformed (Vitousek et al., 1997). Most of this land area is not covered with pavement; indeed, less than 10 percent of this transformed surface is truly “urban” (Grübler, 1994). However, urbanization causes extensive changes to the land surface beyond its immediate borders, particularly in ostensibly rural regions, through alterations by agriculture and forestry that support the urban population (Lambin et al., 2001). Within the immediate boundaries of cities and suburbs, the changes to natural conditions and processes wrought by urbanization are among the most radical of any human activity.

In the United States, population is growing at an annual rate of 0.9 percent (U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2007edition.html); the majority of the population of the United States now lives in suburban and urban areas (Figure 1-1). Because the area appropriated for urban land uses is growing even faster, these patterns of growth all but guarantee that the influences of urban land uses will continue to expand over time. Cities and suburbia obviously provide the homes and livelihood for most of the nation’s population. But, as this report makes clear, these benefits have been accompanied by significant environmental change. Urbanization of the landscape profoundly affects how water moves both above and below ground during and following storm events; the quality of that stormwater (defined in Box 1-1); and the ultimate condition of nearby rivers, lakes, and estuaries. Unlike agriculture, which can display significant interchange with forest cover over time scales of a century (e.g., Hart, 1968), there is no indication that once-urbanized land ever returns to a less intensive state. Urban land, however, does continue to change over time; by one estimate, 42 percent of land currently considered “urban” in the United States will be redeveloped by 2030 (Brookings Institute, 2004). In their words, “nearly half of what will be the built environment in 2030 doesn’t even exist yet” (p. vi). This truth belies the common belief that efforts to improve management of stormwater are doomed to irrelevancy because so much of the landscape is already built. Opportunities for improvement have indeed been lost, but many more still await an improved management approach.

Measures of urbanization are varied, and the disparate methods of quantifying the presence and influence of human activity tend to confound analyses of environmental effects. Population density is a direct metric of human presence, but it is not the most relevant measure of the influence of those people on their surrounding landscape. Expressions of the built environment, most commonly



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1 Introduction URBANIZATION AND ITS IMPACTS The influence of humans on the physical and biological systems of the Earth’s surface is not a recent manifestation of modern societies; instead, it is ubiquitous throughout our history. As human populations have grown, so has their footprint, such that between 30 and 50 percent of the Earth’s surface has now been transformed (Vitousek et al., 1997). Most of this land area is not cov- ered with pavement; indeed, less than 10 percent of this transformed surface is truly “urban” (Grübler, 1994). However, urbanization causes extensive changes to the land surface beyond its immediate borders, particularly in ostensibly rural regions, through alterations by agriculture and forestry that support the urban population (Lambin et al., 2001). Within the immediate boundaries of cities and suburbs, the changes to natural conditions and processes wrought by urbaniza- tion are among the most radical of any human activity. In the United States, population is growing at an annual rate of 0.9 percent (U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2007edition.html); the majority of the population of the United States now lives in suburban and urban areas (Figure 1-1). Because the area appropriated for urban land uses is growing even faster, these patterns of growth all but guarantee that the influ- ences of urban land uses will continue to expand over time. Cities and suburbia obviously provide the homes and livelihood for most of the nation’s population. But, as this report makes clear, these benefits have been accompanied by signifi- cant environmental change. Urbanization of the landscape profoundly affects how water moves both above and below ground during and following storm events; the quality of that stormwater (defined in Box 1-1); and the ultimate condition of nearby rivers, lakes, and estuaries. Unlike agriculture, which can display significant interchange with forest cover over time scales of a century (e.g., Hart, 1968), there is no indication that once-urbanized land ever returns to a less intensive state. Urban land, however, does continue to change over time; by one estimate, 42 percent of land currently considered “urban” in the United States will be redeveloped by 2030 (Brookings Institute, 2004). In their words, “nearly half of what will be the built environment in 2030 doesn’t even exist yet” (p. vi). This truth belies the common belief that efforts to improve man- agement of stormwater are doomed to irrelevancy because so much of the land- scape is already built. Opportunities for improvement have indeed been lost, but many more still await an improved management approach. Measures of urbanization are varied, and the disparate methods of quantify- ing the presence and influence of human activity tend to confound analyses of environmental effects. Population density is a direct metric of human presence, but it is not the most relevant measure of the influence of those people on their surrounding landscape. Expressions of the built environment, most commonly 13

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14 URBAN STORMWATER MANAGEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES FIGURE 1-1 Histogram of population for the United States, based on 2000 census data. The median population density is about 1,000 people/km2. SOURCE: Modified from Pozzi 2 and Small (2005), who place the rural–suburban boundary at 100 people/km . Reprinted, with permission, from ASPRS (2005). Copyright 2005 by the American Society for Photo- grammetry and Remote Sensing. BOX 1-1 What Is “Stormwater”? “Stormwater” is a term that is used widely in both scientific literature and regulatory documents. It is also used frequently throughout this report. Although all of these usages share much in common, there are important differences that benefit from an explicit discus- sion. Most broadly, stormwater runoff is the water associated with a rain or snow storm that can be measured in a downstream river, stream, ditch, gutter, or pipe shortly after the pre- cipitation has reached the ground. What constitutes “shortly” depends on the size of the watershed and the efficiency of the drainage system, and a number of techniques exist to precisely separate stormwater runoff from its more languid counterpart, “baseflow.” For small and highly urban watersheds, the interval between rainfall and measured stormwater discharges may be only a few minutes. For watersheds of many tens or hundreds of square miles, the lag between these two components of storm response may be hours or even a day. From a regulatory perspective, stormwater must pass through some sort of engi- neered conveyance, be it a gutter, a pipe, or a concrete canal. If it simply runs over the ground surface, or soaks into the soil and soon reemerges as seeps into a nearby stream, it may be water generated by the storm but it is not regulated stormwater. This report emphasizes the first, more hydrologically oriented definition. However, at- tention is focused mainly on that component of stormwater that emanates from those parts of a landscape that have been affected in some fashion by human activities (“urban storm- water”). Mostly this includes water that flows over the ground surface and is subsequently collected by natural channels or artificial conveyance systems, but it can also include water that has infiltrated into the ground but nonetheless reaches a stream channel relatively rapidly and that contributes to the increased stream discharge that commonly accompanies almost any rainfall event in a human-disturbed watershed.

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INTRODUCTION 15 road density or pavement coverage as a percentage of gross land area, are more likely to determine stormwater runoff-related consequences. An inverse metric, the percentage of mature vegetation or forest across a landscape, expresses the magnitude of related, but not identical, impacts to downstream systems. Alter- natively, these measures of land cover can be replaced by measures of land use, wherein the types of human activity (e.g., residential, industrial, commercial) are used as proxies for the suite of hydrologic, chemical, and biological changes imposed on the surrounding landscape. All of these metrics of urbanization are strongly correlated, although none can directly substitute for another. They also are measured differently, which renders one or another more suitable for a given application. Land use is a common measure in the realm of urban planning, wherein current and future conditions for a city or an entire region are characterized using equivalent cate- gories across parcels, blocks, or broad regions. Road density can be reliably and rapidly measured, either manually or in a Geographic Information System envi- ronment, and it commonly displays a very good correlation with other measures of human activity. “Land cover,” however, and particularly the percentage of impervious cover, is the metric most commonly used in studying the effects of urban development on stormwater, because it clearly expresses the hydrologic influence and watershed scale of urbanization. Box 1-2 describes the ways in which the percent of impervious cover in a watershed is measured. There is no universally accepted terminology to describe land-cover or land- use conditions along the rural-to-urban gradient. Pozzi and Small (2005), for example, identified “rural,” “suburban,” and “urban” land uses on the basis of population density and vegetation cover, but they did not observe abrupt transi- tions that suggested natural boundaries (see Figure 1-1). In contrast, the Center for Watershed Protection (2005) defined the same terms but used impervious area percentage as the criterion, with such labels as “rural” (0 to 10 percent im- perviousness), “suburban” (10 to 25 percent imperviousness), “urban” (25 to 60 percent imperviousness) and “ultra-urban” (greater than 60 percent impervious- ness). Beyond the problems posed by precise yet inconsistent definitions for commonly used words, none of the boundaries specified by these definitions are reflected in either hydrologic or ecosystem responses. Hydrologic response is strongly dependent on both land cover and drainage connectivity (e.g., Leopold, 1968); ecological responses in urbanizing watersheds do not show marked thresholds along an urban gradient (e.g., Figure 1-2) and they are dependent on not only the sheer magnitude of urban development but also the spatial configu- ration of that development across the watershed (Alberti et al., 2006). This re- port, therefore, uses such terms as “urban” and “suburban” under their common usage, without implying or advocating for a more precise (but ultimately limited and discipline-specific) definition. Changing land cover and land use influence the physical, chemical, and bio- logical conditions of downstream waterways. The specific mechanisms by which this influence occurs vary from place to place, and even a cursory review

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16 URBAN STORMWATER MANAGEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES BOX 1-2 Measures of Impervious Cover The percentage of impervious surface or cover in a landscape is the most frequently used measure of urbanization. Yet this parameter has its limitations, in part because it has not been consistently used or defined. Most significant is the distinction between total imper- vious area (TIA) and effective impervious area (EIA). TIA is the “intuitive” definition of impervi- ousness: that fraction of the watershed covered by constructed, non-infiltrating surfaces such as concrete, asphalt, and buildings. Hydrologically, however, this definition is incomplete for two reasons. First, it ignores nominally “pervious” surfaces that are sufficiently compacted or otherwise so low in permeability that the rate of runoff from them is similar or indistinguishable from pavement. For example, Burges and others (1998) found that the impervious unit-area runoff was only 20 percent greater than that from pervious areas—primarily thin sodded lawns over glacial till—in a western Washington residential subdivision. Clearly, this hydrologic con- tribution cannot be ignored entirely. The second limitation of TIA is that it includes some paved surfaces that may contribute nothing to the stormwater-runoff response of the downstream channel. A gazebo in the middle of parkland, for example, probably will impose no hydrologic changes into the catchment except for a very localized elevation of soil moisture at the edge of its roof. Less obvious, but still rele- vant, would be the different downstream consequences of rooftops that drain alternatively into a piped storm-drain system with direct discharge into a natural stream or onto splash blocks that disperse the runoff onto the garden or lawn at each corner of the building. This metric therefore cannot recognize any stormwater mitigation that may result from alternative runoff- management strategies, for example, pervious pavements or rainwater harvesting. The first of these TIA limitations, the production of significant runoff from nominally pervi- ous surfaces, is typically ignored in the characterization of urban development. The reason for such an approach lies in the difficulty in identifying such areas and estimating their contribution, and because of the credible belief that the degree to which pervious areas shed water as over- land flow should be related, albeit imperfectly, with the amount of impervious area: where con- struction and development are more intense and cover progressively greater fractions of the of the literature demonstrates that many different factors can be important, such as changes to flow regime, physical and chemical constituents in the water col- umn, or the physical form of the stream channel itself (Paul and Meyer, 2001). Not all of these changes are present in any given system—lakes, wetlands, and streams can be altered by human activity in many different ways, each unique to the activity and the setting in which it occurs. Nonetheless, direct influences of land-use change on freshwater systems commonly include the following (Nai- man and Turner, 2000): • Altering the composition and structure of the natural flora and fauna, • Changing disturbance regimes, • Fragmenting the land into smaller and more diverse parcels, and • Changing the juxtaposition between parcel types. Historically, human-induced alteration was not universally seen as a prob- lem. In particular, dams and other stream-channel “improvements” were a

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INTRODUCTION 17 watershed, it is more likely that the intervening green spaces have been stripped and com- pacted during construction and only imperfectly rehabilitated for their hydrologic functions dur- ing subsequent “landscaping.” The second of these TIA limitations, inclusion of non-contributing impervious areas, is formally addressed through the concept of EIA, defined as the impervious surfaces with direct hydraulic connection to the downstream drainage (or stream) system. Thus, any part of the TIA that drains onto pervious (i.e., “green”) ground is excluded from the measurement of EIA. This parameter, at least conceptually, captures the hydrologic significance of imperviousness. EIA is the parameter normally used to characterize urban development in hydrologic models. The direct measurement of EIA is complicated. Studies designed specifically to quantify this parameter must make direct, independent measurements of both TIA and EIA (Alley and Veenhuis, 1983; Laenen, 1983; Prysch and Ebbert, 1986). The results can then be general- ized either as a correlation between the two parameters or as a “typical” value for a given land use. Sutherland (1995) developed an equation that describes the relationship between EIA and TIA. Its general form is: EIA = A (TIA)B where A and B are a unique combination of numbers that satisfy the following criteria: TIA = 1 then EIA = 0% TIA = 100 then EIA = 100% 1.41 A commonly used version of this equation (EIA = 0.15 TIA ) was based on samples from highly urbanized land uses in Denver, Colorado (Alley and Veenhuis, 1983; Gregory et al., 2005). These results, however, are almost certainly region- and even neighborhood- specific, and, although highly relevant to watershed studies, they can be quite laborious to develop. common activity of municipal and federal engineering works of the mid-20th century (Williams and Wolman, 1984). “Flood control” implied a betterment of conditions, at least for streamside residents (Chang, 1992). And fisheries “en- hancements,” commonly reflected by massive infrastructure for hatcheries or artificial spawning channels, were once seen as unequivocal benefits for fish populations (White, 1996; Levin et al., 2001). By almost any currently applied metric, however, the net result of human al- teration of the landscape to date has resulted in a degradation of the conditions in downstream watercourses. Many prior researchers, particularly when consid- ering ecological conditions and metrics, have recognized a crude but monotoni- cally declining relationship between human-induced landscape alteration and downstream conditions (e.g., Figure 1-2; Horner et al., 1997; Davies and Jack- son, 2006). These include metrics of physical stream-channel conditions (e.g., Bledsoe and Watson, 2001), chemical constituents (e.g., Figure 1-3; House et al., 1993), and biological communities (e.g., Figure 1-4; Steedman, 1988; Wang et al., 1997).

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18 URBAN STORMWATER MANAGEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES FIGURE 1-2 Conceptual model (top) and actual response (bottom) of a biological system’s response to stress. The “Urban Gradient of Stressors” might be a single metric of urbani- zation, such as percent watershed impervious or road density; the “Biological Indicator” may be single-metric or multi-metric measures of the level of disturbance in an aquatic community. The right-declining line traces the limits of a “factor-ceiling distribution” (Thom- son et al., 1986), wherein individual sites (i.e., data points) have a wide range of potential values for a given position along the urban gradient but are not observed above a maxi- mum possible limit of the biological index. The bottom graph illustrates actual biological responses, using a biotic index developed to show responses to urban impacts plotted against a standardized urban gradient comprising urban land use, road density, and popu- lation. SOURCE: Top figure reprinted, with permission, from Davies and Jackson (2006). Copyright by the Ecological Society of America. Bottom figure reprinted, with permission, from Barbour et al. (2006). Copyright by the Water Environment Research Foundation.

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INTRODUCTION 19 FIGURE 1-3 Example relationships between road density (a surrogate measure of urban development) and common water quality constituents. Direct causality is not necessarily implied by such relationships, but the monotonic increase in concentrations with increasing “urbanization,” however measured, is near-universal. SOURCE: Reprinted, with permis- sion, from Chang and Carlson (2005). Copyright 2005 by Springer.

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20 URBAN STORMWATER MANAGEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES FIGURE 1-4 Plots of Effective Impervious Area (EIA, or “connected imperviousness”) against metrics of biologic response in fish populations. SOURCE: Reprinted, with permis- sion, from Wang et al. (2001). Copyright 2001 by Springer. The association between watercourse degradation and landscape alteration in general, and urban development in particular, seems inexorable. The scien- tific and regulatory challenge of the last three decades has been to decouple this relationship, in some cases to reverse its trend and in others to manage where these impacts are to occur. WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE NATION’S WATERS? Since passage of the Water Quality Act of 1948 and the Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1972, 1977, and 1987, water quality in the United States has meas- urably improved in the major streams and rivers and in the Great Lakes. How- ever, substantial challenges and problems remain. Major reporting efforts that have examined state and national indicators of condition, such as CWA 305(b) reports (EPA, 2002) and the Heinz State of the Nation’s Ecosystem report (Heinz Center, 2002), or environmental monitoring that was designed to provide statistically valid estimates of condition (e.g., National Wadeable Stream As- sessment; EPA, 2006), have confirmed widespread impairments related to dif- fuse sources of pollution and stressors. The National Water Quality Inventory (derived from Section 305b of the CWA) compiles data in relation to use designations and water quality standards.

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INTRODUCTION 21 As discussed in greater detail in Chapter 2, such standards include both (1) a description of the use that a waterbody is supposed to achieve (such as a source of drinking water or a cold water fishery) and (2) narrative or numeric criteria for physical, chemical, and biological parameters that allow the designated use to be achieved. As of 2002, 45 percent of assessed streams and rivers, 47 per- cent of assessed lakes, 32 percent of assessed estuarine areas, 17 percent of as- sessed shoreline miles, 87 percent of near-coastal ocean areas, 51 percent of assessed wetlands, 91 percent of assessed Great Lakes shoreline miles, and 99 percent of assessed Great Lakes open water areas were not meeting water qual- ity standards set by the states (2002 EPA Report to Congress).1 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also embarked on a five-year statistically valid survey of the nation’s waters (http://www.epa.gov/ owow/monitoring/guide.pdf). To date, two waterbody types—coastal areas and wadeable streams—have been assessed. The most recent data indicate that 42 percent of wadeable streams are in poor biological condition and 25 percent are in fair condition (EPA, 2006). The overall condition of the nation’s estuaries is generally fair, with Puerto Rico and Northeast Coast regions rated poor, the Gulf Coast and West Coast regions rated fair, and the Southeast Coast region rated good to fair (EPA, 2007). These condition ratings for the National Estuary Pro- gram are based on a water quality index, a sediment quality index, a benthic index, and a fish tissue contaminants index. The impairment of waterbodies is manifested in a multitude of ways. In- deed, EPA’s primary process for reporting waterbody condition (Section 303(d) of the CWA—see Chapter 2) identifies over 200 distinct types of impairments. As shown in Table 1-1, these have been categorized into 15 broad categories, encompassing about 94 percent of all impairments. 59,515 waterbodies fall into one of the top 15 categories, while the total reported number of waterbodies impaired from all causes is 63,599 (which is an underestimate of the actual total because not all waterbodies are assessed). Mercury, microbial pathogens, sedi- ments, other metals, and nutrients are the major pollutants associated with im- paired waterbodies nationwide. These constituents have direct impacts on aquatic ecosystems and public health, which form the basis of the water quality standards set for these compounds. Sediments can harm fish and macroinverte- brate communities by introducing sorbed contaminants, decreasing available light in streams, and smothering fish eggs. Microbial pathogens can cause dis- ease to humans via both ingestion and dermal contact and are frequently cited as the cause of beach closures and other recreational water hazards in lakes and estuaries. Nutrient over-enrichment can promote a cascade of events in water- bodies from algal blooms to decreases in dissolved oxygen and associated fish kills. Metals like mercury, pesticides, and other organic compounds that enter 1 EPA does not yet have the 2004 assessment findings compiled in a consistent format from all the states. EPA is also working on processing the states 2006 Integrated Reports as the 303(d) portions are approved and the states submit their final assessment findings. Susan Holdsworth, EPA, personal communication, September 2007.

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22 URBAN STORMWATER MANAGEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES waterways can be taken up by fish species, accumulating in their tissues and presenting a health risk to organisms (including humans) that consume the fish. However, Table 1-1 can be misleading if it implies that degraded water quality is the primary metric of impairment. In fact, many of the nation’s streams, lakes, and estuaries also suffer from fundamental changes in their flow regime and energy inputs, alteration of aquatic habitats, and resulting disruption of biotic interactions that are not easily measured via pollutant concentrations. Such waters may not be listed on State 303(d) lists because of the absence of a corresponding water quality standard that would directly indicate such condi- tions (like a biocriterion). Figure 1-5A, B, and C show examples of such im- pacted waterbodies. TABLE 1-1 Top 15 Categories of Impairment Requiring CWA Section 303(d) Action Cause of Impairment Number of Waterbodies Percent of the Total Mercury 8,555 14% Pathogens 8,526 14% Sediment 6,689 11% Metals (other than mercury) 6,389 11% Nutrients 5,654 10% Oxygen depletion 4,568 8% pH 3,389 6% Cause unknown - biological 2,866 5% integrity Temperature 2,854 5% Habitat alteration 2,220 4% PCBs 2,081 3% Turbidity 2,050 3% Cause unknown 1,356 2% Pesticides 1,322 2% Salinity/TDS/chlorides 996 2% Note: “Waterbodies” refers to individual river segments, lakes, and reservoirs. A single waterbody can have multiple impairments. Because most waters are not assessed, how- ever, there is no estimate of the number of unimpaired waters in the United States. SOURCE: EPA, National Section 303(d) List Fact Sheet (http://iaspub.epa.gov/waters/ national_rept.control). The data are based on three-fourths of states reporting from 2004 lists, with the remaining from earlier lists and one state from a 2006 list.

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INTRODUCTION 23 FIGURE 1-5A Headwater tributary in Philadelphia suffering from Urban Stream Syndrome. SOURCE: Courtesy of Chris Crockett, Philadelphia Water Department. Center for Watershed Protection FIGURE 1-5B A destabilized stream in Vermont. SOURCE: Courtesy of Pete LaFlamme, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation.

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36 URBAN STORMWATER MANAGEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES of stormwater discharges combined with a regulatory process that was created for point sources (the NPDES permitting approach). These problems are com- pounded by the shear number of entities requiring oversight. Although exact numbers are not available, EPA estimates that the number of regulated MS4s is about 7,000, including 1,000 Phase I municipalities and 6,000 from Phase II. The number of industrial permittees is thought to be around 100,000. Each year, the construction permit covers around 200,000 permittees each for both Phase I (five acres or greater) and Phase II (one to five acres) projects. Thus, the total number of permittees under the stormwater program at any time numbers greater than half a million. There are fewer than 100,000 non-stormwater (meaning wastewater) permittees covered by the NPDES program, such that stormwater permittees account for approximately 80 percent of NPDES-regulated entities. To manage this large number of permittees, the stormwater program relies heav- ily on the use of general permits to control industrial, construction, and Phase II MS4 discharges, which are usually statewide, one-size-fits-all permits in which general provisions are stipulated. An example of the burden felt by a single state is provided by Michigan (David Drullinger, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Water Bu- reau, personal communication, September 2007). The Phase I Stormwater regu- lations that became effective in 1990 regulate 3,400 industrial sites, 765 con- struction sites per year, and five large cities in Michigan. The Phase II regula- tions, effective since 1999, have extended the requirements to 7,000 construction sites per year and 550 new jurisdictions, which are comprised of about 350 “primary jurisdictions” (cities, villages, and townships) and 200 “nested juris- dictions” (county drains, road agencies, and public schools). Often, only a hand- ful of state employees are allocated to administer the entire program (see the survey in Appendix C). In order to comply with the CWA regulations, permittees must fulfill a number of requirements, including the creation and implementation of a storm- water pollution prevention plan, and in some cases, monitoring of stormwater discharges. Stormwater pollution prevention plans document the stormwater control measures (SCMs; sometimes known as best management practices or BMPs) that will be used to prevent or slow stormwater from quickly reaching nearby waterbodies and degrading their quality. These include structural meth- ods such as detention ponds and nonstructural methods such as designing new development to reduce the percentage of impervious surfaces. Unfortunately, data on the degree of pollutant reduction that can be assigned to a particular SCM are only now becoming available (see Chapter 5). Other sources of variability in EPA’s stormwater program are that (1) there are three permit types (municipal, industrial, and construction), (2) some states and local governments have assumed primacy for the program from EPA while others have not, and state effluent limits or benchmarks for stormwater dis- charges may differ from the federal requirements, and (3) whether there are monitoring requirements varies depending on the regulating entity and the type of activity. For industrial stormwater there are 29 sectors of industrial activity

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INTRODUCTION 37 covered by the general permit, each of which is characterized by a different suite of possible contaminants and SCMs. Because of the industry-, site-, and community-specific nature of stormwa- ter pollution prevention plans, and because of the lack of resources of most NPDES permitting authorities to review these plans and conduct regular compli- ance inspections, water quality-related accountability in the stormwater program is poor. Monitoring data are minimal for most permittees, despite the fact that they are often the only indicators of whether an adequate stormwater program is being implemented. At the present time, available monitoring data indicate that many industrial facilities routinely exceed “benchmark values” established by EPA or the states, although it is not clear whether these exceedances provide useful indicators of stormwater pollution prevention plan inadequacies or poten- tial water quality problems. These uncertainties have led to mounting and con- tradictory pressure from permittees to eliminate monitoring requirements en- tirely as well as from those hoping for greater monitoring requirements to better understand the true nature of stormwater discharges and their impact. To improve the accountability of it Stormwater Program, EPA requested ad- vice on stormwater issues from the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Water Science and Technology Board as the next round of general permits is being prepared. Although the drivers for this study have been in the industrial storm- water arena, this study considered all entities regulated under the NPDES pro- gram (municipal, industrial, and construction). The following statement of task guided the work of the committee: (1) Clarify the mechanisms by which pollutants in stormwater discharges affect ambient water quality criteria and define the elements of a “protocol” to link pollutants in stormwater discharges to ambient water quality criteria. (2) Consider how useful monitoring is for both determining the potential of a discharge to contribute to a water quality standards violation and for determin- ing the adequacy of stormwater pollution prevention plans. What specific pa- rameters should be monitored and when and where? What effluent limits and benchmarks are needed to ensure that the discharge does not cause or contribute to a water quality standards violation? (3) Assess and evaluate the relationship between different levels of storm- water pollution prevention plan implementation and in-stream water quality, considering a broad suite of SCMs. (4) Make recommendations for how to best stipulate provisions in storm- water permits to ensure that discharges will not cause or contribute to ex- ceedances of water quality standards. This should be done in the context of gen- eral permits. As a part of this task, the committee will consider currently avail- able information on permit and program compliance.

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38 URBAN STORMWATER MANAGEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES (5) Assess the design of the stormwater permitting program implemented under the CWA. The report is intended to inform decision makers within EPA, affected indus- tries, public stormwater utilities, other government agencies and the private sec- tor about potential options for managing stormwater. EPA requested that the study be limited to those issues that fall under the agency’s current regulatory scheme for stormwater, which excludes nonpoint sources of pollution such as agricultural runoff and septic systems. Thus, these sources are not extensively covered in this report. The reader is referred to NRC (2000, 2005) for more detailed information on the contribution of agricultural runoff and septic systems to waterbody impairment and on innovative technolo- gies for treating these sources. Also at the request of EPA, concentrated animal feeding operations and combined sewer overflows were not a primary focus. However, the committee felt that in order to be most useful it should opine on certain critical effects of regulated stormwater beyond the delivery of traditional pollutants. Thus, changes in stream flow, streambank erosion, and habitat altera- tions caused by stormwater are considered, despite the relative inattention given to them in current regulations. Chapter 2 presents the regulatory history of stormwater control in the United States, focusing on relevant portions of the CWA and the regulations that have been created to implement the Act. Federal, state, and local programs for or affecting stormwater management are described and critiqued. Chapter 3 deals with the first item in the statement of task. It reviews the scientific aspects of stormwater, including sources of pollutants in stormwater, how stormwater moves across the land surface, and its impacts on receiving waters. It reflects the best of currently available science, and addresses biological endpoints that go far beyond ambient water quality criteria. Methods for monitoring and mod- eling stormwater (the subject of the second item in the statement of task) are described in Chapter 4. The material evaluates the usefulness of current bench- mark and MS4 monitoring requirements, and suggestions for improvement are made. The latter half of the chapter considers the multitude of models available for linking stormwater discharges to ambient water quality. This analysis makes it clear that stormwater pollution cannot yet be treated as a deterministic system (in which the contribution of individual dischargers to a waterbody impairment can be identified) without significantly greater investment in model develop- ment. Addressing primarily the third item in the statement of task, Chapter 5 considers the vast suite of both structural and nonstructural measures designed to control stormwater and reduce its pollutant loading to waterbodies. It also takes on relevant larger-scale concepts, such as the benefit of stormwater man- agement within a watershed framework. In Chapter 6, the limitations and possi- bilities associated with a new regulatory approach are explored, as are those of an enhanced but more traditional scheme. Numerous suggestions for improving the stormwater permitting process for municipalities, industrial sites, and con-

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