NAHB and other organizations that advocate on behalf of building and development issues today asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove city stormwater and sewer systems, also known as MS4s, from the revised definition of “waters of the United States” under the federal Clean Water Act.

It’s one of many moves the association is taking to rein in the regulatory overreach proposed the expansion of the act, which EPA released in the spring.

The Coalition of Real Estate (CORE) Associations told EPA that MS4s should be categorically excluded from the definition of waters of the U.S. because, for one thing, waste treatment systems have always had to abide by different rules because they aren’t designed to carry clean water.

Excluding MS4s would also provide “regulatory clarity,” the comments said, “and prevent improper interpretations that municipal storm sewers and their components could somehow be deemed jurisdictional ‘tributaries’ or ‘adjacent waters.”

“EPA’s obligations to establish water quality standards, criteria, and [other requirements] would prove to be illogical and unworkable as applied to MS4s and the conveyances within these systems,” the CORE comments said.

In addition, these storm and sewer systems are operated by the cities and other jurisdictions where they are located, and the Clean Water Act (CWA) is not supposed to intrude on local rights and responsibilities.

“Excluding MS4s . . . furthers the CWA’s objectives to vest states (and localities) with the primary responsibilities to control water pollution within their borders,” the comments said.

Read the full text of the CORE comments here.

EPA has proposed a substantial expansion to its enforcement of the clean water act that has been characterized by many as a “land grab.”