The Water Infrastructure Improvement Act – H.R. 7279, which became Public Law 115-436, provides Congressional support for use of the Integrated Planning process on a long-term basis. The act became law on Jan. 14, 2019.
Integrated Planning relates to compliance with the national Clean Water Act:
•EPA (or the State if the State has been delegated a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System NPDES permit authority) must inform communities of the opportunity to develop an integrated plan that may be incorporated into the municipality’s permit.
•A permit incorporating an integrated plan may integrate all regulatory requirements addressed in the plan, including requirements related to: (1) a combined sewer overflow, (2) a capacity, management, operation and maintenance program for sanitary sewer collection systems, (3) a municipal stormwater discharge, (4) a municipal wastewater discharge, and (5) a water quality-based effluent limitation to implement an applicable wasteload allocation in a total maximum daily load.
•An integrated plan incorporated into a permit may include the implementation of (1) projects, including innovative projects, to reclaim, recycle, or reuse wastewater; and (2) green infrastructure.
MassDEP already acknowledges the aquifer recharge provided by septic systems and other discharges to groundwater in the Water Management Act permitting process. The federal law encourages green infrastructure through the integrated planning process as an alternative to consent/enforcement orders for CWA compliance. This can be a benefit to water suppliers in meeting mitigation requirements of their withdrawal permits. More information can be found at the Environmental Law Foundation article.