Federal Regulations

There are multiple Federal Regulations that play a role on how to properly manage stormwater runoff, some more so than others. The first of these regulations was issued in 1968 as the National Flood Insurance Program. This was the first federal law related to stormwater management and required communities to meet specific policies and procedures while building in floodplains as an attempt to alleviate flooding that was being reported across the country.

Then in 1972, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (The Clean Water Act) was passed. Initially this Act applied to just municipal waste and industrial wastewater, and prohibited these sources of pollution from discharging into waterways unless NPDES Coverage authorization was granted. Initially Stormwater Runoff was not seen as a significant contributor to the quality of the nation's waterways and was not address until later revisions of the act.

Despite the lack of stormwater-related pollution being addressed in the Clean Water Act, another Federal Program was implemented to determine stormwater runoffs affect on these receiving waterways.

State Regulation

The Clean Water Act

Learn more about how the CWA affected how to address stormwater management.

EPA Regulations

Common Pollutants

Information on various pollutants that can be found in stormwater runoff.

Federal Acts

Waters of the State

The quality of lakes, rivers and wetland areas are essential for supporting human lifestyles and wildlife.

This program, the Nationwide Urban Runoff Program , was implemented from 1978 through 1982 and eventually lead to the realization that stormwater runoff was a serious source of the pollution found in the nation's waterways.

This results of the Urban Runoff Program lead to the enactment of the Water Quality Act (WQA) of 1987.  The WQA called for a phased approach to control the pollutants in stormwater runoff, which was to be implemented through the NPDES Program managed by the EPA. All stormwater runoff associated with land disturbing activities including Industrial and Construction activities, as well as municipal systems (MS4s), became required to obtain authorization before allowing runoff to discharge into any Waters of the State. The EPA released Final Rules to accomplish this tasks mandated by the WQA in 1990.

In addition to the above there are many other Federal Laws that may impact the way in which stormwater runoff is managed. Please visit the EPA website to learn more about the Federal Laws listed in the table below.

Endangered Species Act

May affect stormwater management designs when dealing with downstream habitats of endangered species or habitats of endangered species currently residing onsite.

National Environmental Policy Act

If a new source of discharge is established, environmental impact reviews must be conducted and approved before coverage is granted under the NPDES Program.

National Historic Preservation Act

May affect stormwater management design when historical places are located onsite.

Coastal Zone Management Act

Prohibits the issuance of NPDES permits for activities affecting land or water use in coastal zones unless the permit applicant certifies that the proposed activity complies with the State CZM Program.


Environment Stormwater