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Water: Stormwater

Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Plans


EPA, the States and municipalities have achieved real progress in implementing the Clean Water Act (CWA) and protecting public health and the environment. The challenges today, however, are more complex than those of the past. Population growth, aging infrastructure, increasingly complex water quality issues and the current economic challenges are stressing the implementation of CWA programs. Today, EPA, States and municipalities often focus on each CWA requirement individually without full consideration of all CWA obligations. This approach may have the unintended consequence of constraining a municipality from addressing its most serious water quality issues first. 

An integrated planning process has the potential to identify a prioritized critical path to achieving the water quality objectives of the CWA by identifying efficiencies in implementing competing requirements that arise from separate wastewater and stormwater projects, including capital investments and operation and maintenance requirements. This approach can also lead to more sustainable and comprehensive solutions, such as green infrastructure, that improves water quality as well as supports other quality of life attributes that enhance the vitality of communities. The CWA and implementing regulations, policy and guidance provide the necessary flexibility to implement an integrated planning process.

The integrated planning approach is not about lowering existing regulatory or permitting standards or delaying necessary improvements. Rather, it is intended to be an option provided to help municipalities meet their CWA obligations by optimizing the benefits of their infrastructure improvement investments through the appropriate sequencing of work.


October 27, 2011, Memorandum entitled Achieving Water Quality Through Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Plans (3 pp, 1.1MB, About PDF)


On May 9, 2014, EPA announced the availability of $335,000 in technical assistance for communities seeking technical support to develop and implement an integrated planning approach to meeting Clean Water Act (CWA) requirements for municipal wastewater and stormwater management. The primary purpose of the technical assistance is to help EPA develop practical examples of how to implement the different steps in developing an integrated plan in order to provide useful information to communities across the nation who are interested in integrated planning. Interested communities are encouraged to respond to our Request for Letters of Interest (PDF) (4 pp, 158K, About PDF). Applicants must submit their letters of interest via email to Kevin Weiss (IP_Tech_Assistance@epa.gov). Letters of interest must be received by June 27, 2014, 5:00 p.m. EDT. EPA anticipates providing assistance to 5 communities. If additional funding becomes available, EPA may return to the applicant pool identified through this Request to select additional recipient communities.


On June 5, 2012, EPA released the final Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Planning Approach Framework (9 pp, 396K, About PDF). The framework was developed in conjunction with the October 27, 2011 memorandum to provide further guidance for EPA, States and local governments in developing and implementing effective integrated plans under the CWA. This framework was finalized after extensive public input including a series of workshops across the country.


Over the last several months, EPA and local governments have discussed clarifying how the Clean Water Act (CWA) provides flexibility to consider a community’s financial circumstances when developing schedules for municipal projects necessary to meet CWA obligations. This dialogue demonstrates EPA’s strong support for ensuring communities move forward to meet their CWA obligations in a sustainable manner. On January 18, 2013, EPA issued a memorandum to EPA Regions that described the status of the dialogue (4 pp, 701K, About PDF).


EPA has developed responses to frequently asked questions about the Integrated Planning process (10 pp, 234K, About PDF).


The links presented below provide more information related to NPDES program areas that address municipal obligations.

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