Jul 01, 2021

Tennessee Regulators to Loosen Runoff Rules at Construction Sites

The proposed new rules from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation propose changes in state environmental oversight of builders, developers, property owners, contractors and subcontractors in controlling runoff. 

storm water runoff

A Tennessee state plan aims to rollback long-standing regulations for construction site storm water runoff. 

These plans have received criticism from environmental groups, who allege that Tennessee creeks and streams will suffer as a result, reported Tennessee Lookout.

Historically, silt has been one of the primary pollutants in Tennessee’s waterways, reported Tennessee Lookout.

The proposed new rules from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) propose changes in state environmental oversight of builders, developers, property owners, contractors and subcontractors in controlling runoff. 

Construction sites currently are prohibited from disturbing 50 acres of property at one time unless they have received a special storm water permit, which the proposed new rules would eliminate that permit requirement, reported Tennessee Lookout.

Smaller construction site disturbances fewer than 50 acres currently require storm water monitoring inspections twice a week. The proposed new rules would keep the inspection requirement in place at sites with 50 or more acres undergoing construction activity and reduce required inspections to once per week for smaller acreages, reported Tennessee Lookout.

“Anybody with experience in construction knows that designs are easy to do but things don’t get built that way unless there is oversight and inspections,” said Dennis Gregg, director of the Crossville, Tennessee-based Obed Watershed Community Association, reported Tennessee Lookout.

Construction site operators are currently required by TDEC to comply with any additional local storm water management rules required by MS4s.

TDEC will continue to collect written comments on the proposed new rules until July 9, reported Tennessee Lookout. Depending on the feedback, Janjic said the agency planned to republish new versions of the rules.

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