The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 56-13 [New]

Budgetary Practices for State Stormwater Permit Compliance Programs

  Project Data
Funds: 55000
Staff Responsibility: Edward Harrigan
Research Agency: -----
Fiscal Year: 2024

Preliminary Scope

Since 2003 and, in some cases, earlier, state DOTs have been required to develop and implement stormwater management programs to meet Section 402 - National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) requirements of the Clean Water Act, known as the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit. State DOTs are regulated as Non-Traditional MS4 owner/operators of storm sewer systems. The MS4 permit places requirements on the management of stormwater quality and quantity and allows state DOTs to discharge stormwater runoff from their storm sewer systems. An additional standard permit provision is that state DOTs must maintain adequate funding and staffing to meet the requirements of the permit.

Like other state DOT programs, the MS4 stormwater programs are subject to risks such as budget shortfalls, project overruns, diversion of funds to address emergencies or non-compliance situations, and staff turnover and the associated loss of institutional knowledge. MS4 permits are renewed every 5 years with requirements typically escalating with each permit reissuance.

To address these risks and uncertainties, state DOTs currently implement a wide variety of budget development and program cost determination practices and procedures. These practices vary from highly centralized models for determining permit program budgets to decentralized models where budgets are allowed to vary significantly across DOT districts. Some practices involve no budgeting at all, with DOTs taking the position that certain permit compliance programs are ancillary activities undertaken in pursuit of achieving a larger primary objective.

The objective of this synthesis is to document current state DOT MS4 budget development and program cost determination practices.

Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to):

  • Programs compliant with MS4 stormwater permits;
  • Existence of written guidelines or procedures for developing MS4 stormwater program budgets (e.g., responsible staff, frequency);
  • Process for developing the MS4 stormwater program budget;
  •  MS4 stormwater program budget funding source; 
  • MS4 stormwater program budget management practices; 
  • Methods to forecast the administrative, management, and implementation needs of MS4 stormwater programs; 
  • Programs funded by the MS4 stormwater program budget; and
  • Management practices for MS4 stormwater program budgets (e.g., frequency, performance metrics, and revisions).

Information will be gathered through a literature review, a survey of state DOTs, and follow-up interviews with selected DOTs for the development of case examples. Information gaps and suggestions for research to address those gaps will be identified.

Information Sources (Partial)

  • National Municipal Stormwater Alliance (NMSA) – Web page link - https://ms4resource.nationalstormwateralliance.org/index.php/determining-program-costs/#Topic%203
  • AASHTO. (2010). Cost and Benefit of Transportation-Specific MS4 and Construction Permitting.
  • Taylor, S., et al. (2014). NCHRP Report 792: Long-Term Performance and Life-Cycle Costs of Stormwater Best Management Practices. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/22275.
  • Whitman, J.B., and Perez, M.A. (2024). NCHRP Synthesis Report 614: Outsourcing Post-Construction Stormwater Best Management Practice Inspection and Maintenance Activities. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/27502.
  • Dong, R., Nelson, J., Cummins, S., and Goodall, J. (2023). “Tracking the Cost of Maintaining Stormwater Best-Management Practice Facilities: The Role of Database Design and Data Entry Best Practices.” Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment.

TRB Staff
Edward Harrigan
Phone: 540-454-2149
Email: eharrigan@nas.edu

Meeting Dates
First Panel Meeting: September 18, 2024 (Virtual, via Microsoft Teams)
Teleconference with Consultant: TBD
Second Panel Meeting: TBD (Virtual, via Microsoft Teams)

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