The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) has restructured the municipal storm water (MS4) permit program. Discussions between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and WDNR in 2016 led to a goal of 35 MS4 audits per year out of 245 MS4 permitted communities statewide. This goal will result in most communities being audited during the 5-year MS4 permit term. Notification of an upcoming audit is typically given shortly before WDNR staff plan on visiting (approximately 2 weeks).
WDNR requests documents and information to be submitted for review prior to the actual audit; this process will be easier if documents and information have been tracked and stored well over the years.
Three tips to prepare for a MS4 Audit:
- Document, document, document. Record and track information and data related to the MS4 permit programs.
- Review and update MS4 permit program descriptions to reflect current operations. WDNR will evaluate whether the submitted program descriptions are being implemented or not. Review and update program descriptions with annual reports.
- Keep staff updated on MS4 program requirements. Make sure staff know what each MS4 program requires, and how to meet the permit requirements. Storm water program updates from staff meetings, inter-departmental newsletters or commutations, etc., can be helpful during audits.
Approach a MS4 Audit as an opportunity to share ideas, and ultimately, to find ways to make the next MS4 permit better fit your community.
For more information on how to prepare for, and to survive, a WDNR MS4 Audit, please contact Maureen McBroom.
About the Author
Maureen A. McBroom
Maureen is dedicated to the protection and improvement of Wisconsin’s resources through close collaboration with municipalities and their citizens. Efficient & effective implementation, driven by strong relationships and communication, are drivers behind her project implementation strategies. She has experience in the WDNR’s Runoff Program, specifically issuing WPDES Permit coverage for construction site erosion control & long-term storm water plans, industrial storm water sites and municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permittees. Maureen has been with R/M since 2015.