Stormwater Permitting

Stormwater carries away dirt and debris, oil from parking lots, lawn chemicals, pesticides, and other pollutants.  To minimize the effect of these pollutants on our waterways, under the authority of the CWA, EPA has promulgated stormwater regulations (40 CFR 122.26 -- Stormwater Discharges). 

Phase I of the stormwater program was promulgated in 1990 and applied to:

  • medium and large municipalities (stormwater systems serving a population of 100,000 people or more),
  • certain industrial facilities (not hospitals), and
  • any construction activity disturbing greater than 5 acres (“large construction sites”).

Phase II of the stormwater program was promulgated in 1999 and applies to:

  • small municipalities,
  • publicly owned universities, hospitals, and similar facilities located in urban areas, and
  • construction activity greater than 1 acre and less than 5 acres (“small construction sites”).

Construction activities at hospitals are covered by Phase I or II regulations if those activities are meet the threshold acreage requirements.  These rules apply to the construction of a new hospital or to expansion of existing hospitals (e.g., building, parking lots).  To comply with the construction stormwater regulations, a healthcare facility must obtain a permit from their state environmental agency or EPA (depending on the status of the agency) and prepare a stormwater management plan, which includes a pollution prevention element.  Once the construction activity is completed, the facility then submits a notice of permit termination.  More information on construction stormwater permits (including state-specific guidance) is available at the Construction Industry Compliance Assistance (CICA) Center.

If a healthcare facility must meets the definition of a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) it must obtain a Phase II permit.  The MS4 definition includes facilities such as hospitals, universities, and prisons that are located in urban areas and are owned or operated by a state, city, town, borough, county, parish, district, association, or other public body and have a system of stormwater conveyances (including roads with drainage systems, municipal streets, catch basins, curbs, gutters, ditches, man-made channels, or storm drains).  Healthcare facilities that fall under the definition of an MS4 must obtain a stormwater discharge permit from their state environmental agency or EPA, abide by the rules stated in the permit, and renew the permit every five years.

©2015 Healthcare Environmental Resource Center