Brave New World For Proposed County & Municipal Phase II MS4s

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) gave a proverbial lump of coal to 5 counties and eight municipalities on December 22, 2016, when it announced they were to be subject to the federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Phase II permit for stormwater mitigation. The 5-year MS4 permit requires affected entities to mitigate stormwater runoff, such as by improving stormwater infrastructure and retrofitting a certain amount of existing impervious surface. Phase I MS4 permits are individually tailored to the jurisdictions they affect while the Phase II permit is a general permit containing the same basic requirements for all affected permittees. The MS4 permit program is overseen by the United States Environmental Protection Agency who has delegated administration authority in the state to the Maryland Department of the Environment.

The proposed permittees include:


  1. Allegany
  2. Calvert
  3. Queen Anne’s
  4. St. Mary’s
  5. Wicomico

(These counties would join the two existing Phase II MS4 counties of Cecil and Washington. Ten other counties are subject to Phase I MS4 permits.)


  1. North East [Cecil]
  2. Perryville [Cecil]
  3. Rising Sun [Cecil]
  4. Indian Head [Charles]
  5. La Plata [Charles]
  6. Easton [Talbot]
  7. Boonsboro [Washington]
  8. Williamsport [Washington]

(These municipalities would join 20 other municipalities already subject to a Phase II MS4 permit. No municipality is subject to a Phase I MS4 permit.)

In addition to announcing the proposed permittees, MDE also unveiled its new proposed Phase II permit. Public comment on the proposed permit runs until March 30, 2017. MDE will also be holding a public hearing on the issue on February 6. From MDE’s Phase II MS4 webpage:

Questions concerning the General Permit may be directed to Mr. Raymond Bahr at, or by phone at 410-537-3545 or 1-800-633-6101 or to make an appointment during the hours of 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Copies of the document may be procured at a cost of 36¢ per page.

MDE will hold a public hearing concerning this tentative determination from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM on February 6, 2017 at MDE, Aqua/Terra/Aeris conference rooms, 1800 Washington Blvd., Baltimore, Maryland, 21230. Any hearing impaired person may request an interpreter by contacting the Office of Fair Practices at 410-537-3964 at least ten working days prior to the scheduled hearing date. TTY users should contact the Maryland Relay Service at 1-800-201-7165.

Written comments should be directed to Mr. Raymond Bahr, Maryland Department of the Environment, Water Management Administration, Sediment, Stormwater, and Dam Safety Program, 1800 Washington Blvd., STE 440, Baltimore, Maryland 21230-1708. Written comments concerning this tentative determination will be accepted through March 30, 2017. This comment period already incorporates the additional 60 day extension period provided in Environment Article §1-606(d)(2)(ii).

MACo, the Maryland Municipal League (MML), and the Maryland Municipal Stormwater Association (MAMSA) are jointly sponsoring a Phase II MS4 General Permit Regulatory Workshop to provide assistance and guidance to those local governments already subject to or proposed to be subject to a Phase II permit . The Workshop will be on February 13 from 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM in Baltimore City. Attendance is limited to local governments only. Look for more information soon.

Useful Links

MDE Phase II MS4 Permit Webpage

Copy of the Proposed Phase II MS4 Permit

MDE Phase II MS4 Permit Fact Sheet