Information provided for reference purposes only

Note: This information is provided for reference purposes only. Although the information provided here was accurate and current when first created, it is now outdated. All the links in the document have been removed.

April 2000

Frequently asked questions addressed here:


How did the Transportation Act affect permitting requirements for municipalities under 100,000?

Storm water discharges from certain industrial activities owned or operated by municipalities with a population of less than 100,000 people were granted a moratorium from the original October 1, 1992 deadline for storm water permit applications. Exceptions to this moratorium include discharges from powerplants, airports and uncontrolled sanitary landfills.

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When must the discharges that fell under the moratorium obtain permit coverage?

The Storm Water Phase II Final Rule (published on December 8, 1999), established March 10, 2003 as the deadline for permit coverage for these temporarily exempted discharges.

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What is an "uncontrolled sanitary landfill?"

An uncontrolled sanitary landfill is a landfill or open dump, whether in operation or closed, that does not satisfy the runon/runoff requirements established pursuant to subtitle D of the Solid Waste Disposal Act. However, landfills closed prior to October 9, 1991 are not subject to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) runon/runoff requirements, and therefore need not submit storm water permit applications if they are located in municipalities of less than 100,000 population. Landfills closed after October 9, 1991 and others that meet the above definition would be subject to the storm water permit application requirements.

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How does the Transportation Act impact privately owned or operated industrial activities located in municipalities under 100,000?

The provisions of the Transportation Act specifically address publicly owned or operated industrial activities. Privately owned facilities that have storm water discharges associated with industrial activity, as defined at 40 CFR 122.26(b)(14), must submit a permit application regardless of the size of the population of the municipality in which they are located.

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If a municipally-owned sewage treatment plant is located in a municipality with a population of less than 100,000 people, but the service population is greater than 100,000 people, is the facility subject to the permitting requirements?

Yes, because service populations are used in determining population for publicly-owned treatment works (POTWs). Additionally, where one sewer district operates a number of POTWs, the entire service population of the district will be used to determine the applicable population classification of all the POTWs operated by the district. For example, if a district with a cumulative service population of 160,000 operates two sewage treatment plants, one of which serves 120,000 and the other which serves 40,000, both plants will be considered to be owned or operated by a municipality with a population of 100,000 or more.

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If a construction operation disturbing five or more acres is owned by a small municipality (a population of less than 100,000 people) but operated by a private contractor, is the activity regulated?

No. If the construction activity is either owned or operated by a municipality with a population of less than 100,000 it would not be required to obtain a storm water permit during Phase I of the storm water program. Some state permitting authorities may require that an application be submitted.

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Disclaimer: The information contained on these pages is a general statement of policy. It does not establish or affect legal rights or obligations. It does not establish a binding norm and is not finally determinative of the issues addressed. Agency decisions in any particular case will be made by applying the law and regulations to the specific facts of the case. This applies to all pages in the NPDES Storm Water Program web hierarchy (
This page was last updated on March 15, 2001.