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EPA issues construction site water pollution rule

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday issued a final rule to help reduce water pollution from construction sites.

The agency believes the rule, which takes effect in February 2010 and will be phased in over four years, will significantly improve the quality of water nationwide.

According to the EPA, construction activities like clearing, excavating and grading disturb soil and sediment. If that soil is not managed properly it can easily be washed off of the construction site during storms and pollute nearby water bodies.

The final rule requires construction site owners and operators who disturb one or more acres to use best management practices to ensure that soil disturbed during construction activity does not pollute nearby water bodies, a release from the EPA said.

In addition, owners and operators of sites that impact 10 or more acres of land at one time will be required to monitor discharges and ensure they comply with specific limits on discharges to minimize the impact on nearby water bodies.

This is the first time that the EPA has imposed national monitoring requirements and enforceable numeric limitations on construction site stormwater discharges.

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