Author: Heidi Marshall, PE

With over three decades of experience, Heidi has developed strong municipal, industrial, and site development design and construction skills. As a full-service engineer focusing on northern New England communities, her background includes transportation, environmental, stormwater, and recreational facilities. Heidi’s passion is to serve communities while recognizing the importance of maximizing taxpayers’ dollars spent with incorporating innovative solutions. In addition to design and management, Heidi is actively involved in the permitting, compliance and public input aspects of projects.

MS4 Timeline: The Second Annual Report & What’s Next

MS4 timeline with relevant dates

September 2020 marks another year for MS4 permitting in New Hampshire. Since MS4 rules were updated in 2017, we have continued to help communities regulate their stormwater discharges to meet these new requirements. This month on the MS4 timeline, communities should be aware that Second Annual Reports are due.

First, let’s back-track and recall that MS4 permitting refers to regulations in place to manage stormwater in a community. Stormwater outfalls from an MS4 area must be located, mapped, and assigned a unique identification number. Then, inspections and condition assessments must be completed for each outfall based on priority ranking. We have a detailed post about what happens if you observe flow during dry weather and different outfall rankings based on testing samples. We also identified a timeline  following the initial mapping, focusing on what happens after the first annual report. With September’s deadline quickly approaching, here is what communities can expect with the next steps.

The Second Annual Report

Communities should be submitting their second annual reports to EPA by September 28, 2020.

EPA has provided a partially filled-in report template to permitees; EPA has provided a partially filled-in report template to permitees; however, the New Hampshire stormwater coalitions have modified the template to be more user-friendly. The updated template can be found as part of the Coalition blog site here: NH Stormwater Coalition Annual Report for Year 2 Template.

We have worked with a half dozen small communities in New Hampshire to prepare them for their annual reports. In some communities, this means we mapped, visited, and screened their outfalls, and provided training. For others, we helped coordinate stormwater team meetings and activities, or just provided reassurance. After working with several communities, we’ve found that the same hurdles present themselves and have gathered a few tips to help the process move smoothly:

  • Do not omit information. When filling out the second annual report, be sure to take credit for everything that had progress between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020.
  • Take time now to review the requirements for the next report. Some required activities or tasks are more easily performed during specific times of the year; now is a good time to plan how to keep up with your Stormwater Management Program activities.
  • Be conscious of the timeframe.  Any efforts begun, but not completed in the Year 2 timeframe, cannot be marked complete. Any progress should be mentioned in the comments section.

What Next?

The most important thing to keep in mind is that as each year of the permit term passes, the stringency of the requirements increases. There is no time for rest or relaxation – pull out that Stormwater Management Program and see what elements (written program updates, outfall screenings, training, regulatory review and updates, stormwater management device Inspection, etc.) are required to be completed when the complete outfall ranking (based on dry-weather samplings) is due – June 30, 2021. Reviewing the required elements ahead of time will help with early coordination of next year’s report.

Not every MS4 community will encounter the same challenges. Meeting these deadlines and documenting all stormwater sources can be time consuming and difficult. Our stormwater experts are here to help and are fully prepared to help with unique challenges and stormwater setbacks. Reach out to our experts Heidi Marshall, PE or Michael Trainque, PE with stormwater inquiries!

*This post was co-written by Catie Hall, marketing coordinator. MS4 Expert Michael Trainque, PE also contributed to this post.

NHDOT 2018 TAP Grant Application Deadline Fast Approaching

Manchester Piscataquog Trail

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) is providing an opportunity for communities to secure funds to promote non-motorized transportation facilities under the Transportation Alternative Program (TAP). New Hampshire’s allocation for TAP projects over the next 2 years is approximately $3.2 M.

If your community has voter and administrative support for your intended project(s), then the TAP program may be for you! Full details on the program can be found on the NHDOT’s website.

A few key dates to know:

  • A letter of interest (LOI) is due to the NHDOT by July 13, 2018 (must be an electronic submission). A sample letter can be found here. The LOI must be accompanied by a plan or map that shows key project area elements.  Based upon the LOI, communities will be invited to prepare and submit a formal application.
  • A municipal representative that will be directly involved with the management of the project must be available to attend a mandatory informational meeting between July 23 and August 24th.
  • A complete application must be provided to NHDOT by September 7, 2018.

Tips for preparing your application:

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A full-time employee of the community must assume assigned duties of “Person in Responsible Charge” and must attend training to be Local Public Agency certified as such. If a full-time employee is not currently certified, the next training session is currently scheduled for October 2018.

 

 

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Propose a manageable project and schedule for the community and the person in responsible charge. (Budget inflation and the required regulatory elements into the estimate.)

 

 

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Working with the Regional Planning Commission (RPC) to develop your application will likely improve success (this is important such that the RPC understands the potential positive impact your project could provide to your community and/or region). The RPC representatives will likely be able to assist with highlighting the evaluation criteria strengths of your project. Sample evaluation criteria may include:  Public Benefit, Connectivity, Accessibility/Equity, Safety, Financial Support/Project Readiness, Potential for Success, Demonstrated Need, and/or Socioeconomic Benefits.

 

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Determine what total project cost percentage the community wishes to match. The community will be responsible for at least 20 percent of the total project cost, but a community pledging a higher match percentage has been known to favor an application.

 

 

Hoyle, Tanner’s team can assist with all aspects of the application process.  For questions, email or call me at 603.669.5555 x 125.