EPA’s revamped stormwater approach could impact building codes

October 01, 2012 |
Dwight Perkins

The Environmental Protection Agency's Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Planning Approach Framework released in June provides guidance on development of an "integrated" planto help local governments meet their Clean Water Act obligations. It allows local governments to implement rules that encourage or require green stormwater infrastructure such as rain gardens, green roofs, cisterns to collect rainwater for later use, permeable pavement, and bioswales.

The purpose of the new approach to stormwater is to use natural elements to reduce the amount of rainfall that makes its way into city sewer systems. Stormwater can overwhelm storm drainage systems in heavy rains and cause sanitary sewers to overflow into rivers, harbors, and lakes.

"We're at a tipping point," says Katherine Baer of environmental group American Rivers, which is working with communities to implement green infrastructure. "We're going to see a lot more of these practices that protect, restore or replicate natural functions, as cities grapple not only with water quality, but with livability and climate adaptation."

More than a thousand US communities have sewage overflow problems, says one expert. Because of the high cost of replacing this infrastructure, new tools are necessary. Building codes may well adopt these new techniques as a result.


Dwight Perkins | Codes and Standards

Dwight Perkins is the Senior Director of Field Operations for the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and orchestrates the code adoption efforts of 11 other IAPMO Field Service regions as well as directly working with the state code agencies in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and Oregon. Mr. Perkins has more than 35 years experience in the plumbing industry starting as an Apprentice in Alaska moving through the ranks to become a Journeyman Plumber and Business Manager of with UA Local 262. Prior to joining IAPMO, Perkins served in the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly while worked as Deputy Commissioner for the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. He is extremely familiar with the demands jurisdictions face on a daily basis and he is particularly well suited to address those needs. Mr. Perkins may be contacted at IAPMO at 503-982-1193 or email dwight.perkins@IAPMO.org

Related Blogs

Overlay Init