EPA to Announce Toothless Regulation for Pollution from Commercial and Residential Development

Regulation Fails to Set Standard for Controlling Stormwater from Completed Projects

WASHINGTON (March 31, 2004) - The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release a regulation today that will fail to adequately control pollution runoff from residential and commercial development, according to NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). The new regulation will lead to more beach closings, waterborne disease, flooding, fish kills, and contaminated drinking water supplies, the group said.

EPA will issue this regulation, which was prompted by a settlement of a 1989 NRDC lawsuit, under a Clean Water Act program that sets technology standards for controlling water pollution from various industries. The new regulation was supposed to control runoff from residential and commercial development during construction and after the projects are finished, but EPA today will only address pollution from construction.

"This regulation doesn't protect water, it protects asphalt," said Nancy Stoner, director of the Clean Water Project at NRDC. "The parking lot lobby will love it, but if you like to swim, fish or drink clean water, this regulation is not for you."

Pollution from runoff from paved surfaces, such as parking lots, highways and rooftops, is the second largest and fastest growing source of water pollution in the nation. EPA's failure to control urban stormwater pollution inevitably will despoil the environmental and threaten public health, particularly in coastal areas, where stormwater already is the largest source of water pollution, and where population is growing rapidly. This new regulation does not set any standard for stormwater controls from new development after construction is completed.