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National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the regulation entitled "National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System - Regulations for Revision of the Water Pollution Control Program Addressing Storm Water Discharges; Final Rule" on December 8, 1999 in the Federal Register. This program is often referred to as the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II program. Under the Phase II regulations [40 CFR Parts 9, 122, 123, and 124], portions of the highway drainage system owned and operated by MassHighway (now MassDOT) meet the definition of regulated Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s). Operators of regulated small MS4s were required to apply for NPDES permit coverage by submitting a Notice of Intent (NOI); develop and implement a storm water management program which includes the six minimum control measures; and periodically evaluate effectiveness of the program.

EPA Region 1 developed the "NPDES General Permit for Storm Water Discharges from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems" for the New England region. The permit was issued in the Federal Register on May 1, 2003. In Massachusetts, the general permit has been issued jointly by EPA and Massachusetts DEP. In recognition of the differences between federal or state-operated MS4 and their municipal counterparts, the general permit includes separate requirements for Massachusetts Small MS4s, New Hampshire Small MS4s (including Indian Lands in MA, CT and RI), Non-Traditional MS4s (e.g., schools, prisons, hospitals) and Transportation MS4s.

The Notice of Intent (NOI) which serves as the application for authorization to discharge storm water under the general permit was due no later than July 30, 2003. MassHighway submitted a NOI on July 28, 2003. Over the next four years and through multiple submittal iterations, MassHighway and EPA/DEP worked together to develop a NOI which would receive authorization. A final NOI was submitted on December 26, 2006. MassHighway received partial authorization to discharge in all watersheds except portions of the Merrimack and Connecticut River with certain endangered species while MassHighway waited to receive feedback regarding the endangered species from National Marine Fisheries and US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Once responses were received from these agencies, EPA and DEP issued authorization for MassHighway discharge for all urbanized areas on April 27, 2007.

MassDOT and EPA continue to work together to revise the associated SWMP and this web page includes the most recent version which has been submitted to EPA for review. The web site also includes annual reports which document the progress towards implementing each of the programs discussed in the SWMP and copies of the authorization to discharge letters from EPA and DEP.

Documents and manuals available through this page in Adobe Acrobat format (PDF) may be viewed online if you have Acrobat configured as a plug-in. Otherwise you will need to download the files and open them with Acrobat Reader. If you don't have Acrobat Reader, it is available for free from

NPDES Permitting Documentation
NPDES Annual Reports
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