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 Background on Phase II

A little background about stormwater permitting programs in North Carolina:

  • The Phase I and II stormwater permitting programs were established under the federal Clean Water Act and then delegated to the NC Division of Water Quality [DWQ] for implementation.
  • The Phase I stormwater program began in 1990 and applies to NC local governments that had populations of 100,000 or more at that time (Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville/Cumberland County, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro). Each subject local government now implements a stormwater management program that includes public education, illicit   discharge detection and elimination, and water quality monitoring.
  • The Phase II stormwater program applies to local governments that have been selected by automatic designation, state designation, or petitioning.

Automatic designation applies to areas defined as Urbanized Areas by the U.S. Census Bureau. In general, an Urbanized Area is any local government or group of local governments that combined have a population of 50,000 and a density of 1,000 people per square mile. Based on the 1990 and 2000 census data, there are 17 Urbanized Areas in North Carolina as shown on this map. There are 123 municipalities and 32 counties brought into the program through automatic designation.

State designation requires DWQ to develop criteria to screen communities outside of Urbanized Areas to determine if they will be subject to Phase II. State designation criteria include:

  • Discharge to sensitive waters
  • High population growth or growth potential
  • High population density
  • Contiguity to an Urbanized Area
  • Significant contributor of pollutants
  • Ineffective protection by other programs

Under the federal regulations, the state's designation criteria must be applied, at a minimum, to any unit of government that has a population of 10,000 or more and a density of 1,000 people per square mile. Currently, DWQ has not designated any additional communities for coverage under Phase II.

Petitioning is the third mechanism for adding communities to the Phase II program. Under this option, anyone can petition DWQ to cover a local government under a Phase II permit if there are significant water quality concerns associated with that community. DWQ will decide whether the community should be in the program. Currently, no communities have been added to the Phase II list through petitioning.

Phase II local governments are required to develop and implement a stormwater management program that includes six minimum measures:

  1. Public education and outreach on stormwater impacts,
  2. Public involvement/participation,
  3. Illicit discharge detection and elimination,
  4. Construction site stormwater runoff control,
  5. Post-construction stormwater management for new development and redevelopment, and
  6. Pollution prevention/good housekeeping for municipal operations.

DWQ has developed a Phase II Stormwater Program web site to assist local governments in understanding their requirements. Part of this web site includes a Phase II quick links web page that allows local governments to efficiently find rules, forms, fact sheets and maps to assist them in implementing Phase II.