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Minnesota to Reissue its Municipal Stormwater (MS4) Permit

Runoff from rain or snow events picks up pesticides, fertilizers, automotive fluids, sediment, pet waste, trash and more that is carried into storm drains. These storm drains discharge directly from streets to surface waters like lakes, rivers, wetlands, and streams. The Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit program was designed to reduce this type of surface water pollution. 

What is the MS4 permit?

The MS4 is a publicly-owned and operated network of conveyances (storm sewers, catch basins, ditches, drains, etc.) that collect rain and snow melt that eventually discharges to surface waters.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) requires certain public entities (including cities, townships, counties, military bases, hospitals, prison complexes, highway departments, universities, sewer districts, etc.) to take action to minimize potential impacts to surface waters by mapping and inspecting these stormwater conveyance systems, developing stormwater pollution prevention programs and adopting best practices.

Why is the MS4 Permit being Reissued on November 16, 2020?

Under state law, The MS4 general permit is issued for five years, after which it must be reissued for the next five-year period. As part of the reissuance, MPCA staff consult with permittees and stakeholders and solicit public comment to look for ways to improve and revise the permit.

What do I need to know about the Reissued Permit?

  • Existing MS4 permittees will have 150 days (until April 15, 2021) to complete and submit the permit application forms to the MPCA.
  • After permit coverage is issued to the MS4 permittee, they will have up to 12 months to meet the new permit requirements.

What has changed in the Reissued Permit?

  • Added specificity throughout the permit, such as written procedures and frequencies for educational activities, trainings, and inspections.
  • Added various documentation requirements throughout the permit so that the MPCA and permittees can better evaluate permit compliance and stormwater pollution prevention program (SWPPP) effectiveness
  • New application requirements for total maximum daily loads (TMDLs).
  • New requirements to address chloride from deicing material and bacteria from pet waste.
  • More protective post-construction stormwater management requirements for redevelopment projects.
  • Performance-based approach to address TMDLs for chloride, bacteria, and temperature.

There have been several significant changes to the new MS4 permit and complying with these new requirements can be daunting. If you require assistance, whether it be for determining the need for a permit, completing applications, conducting internal MS4 program audits, stormwater pond sediment sampling, assessing your stormwater conveyance systems or designing stormwater pollution prevention plans, choosing the right environmental consultants can help streamline the process. Braun Intertec has experienced stormwater professionals that can assist in these areas and ensure you reach, and stay in, compliance.

Travis Fristed, PWS Group Manager, Senior Scientist

P: 952.995.2027

Jamie Dayton Staff Scientist, Stormwater Specialist

P: 952-995-2000