This post is the second in a series of three regarding the San Diego Regional Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit for the San Diego region.
In our previous post on the San Diego Regional Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit, you got a small look into the MS4 permit and how San Diego Coastkeeper is involved in its development. This entry will outline the opportunities there are for you, the public, to get involved in shaping the requirements of the MS4 permit.
The current version of the permit is the administrative draft, so it’s like a draft of a draft. There is a public workshop scheduled for September 5 for this version of the permit, which you should attend. This will give you a better understanding of the permit so that when the public version is released later this year, you are able to spot possible problems and offer meaningful comments. Also, the previous comments on the draft MS4 permit will likely be released, which are a good way to learn how comments should look.
When the public version of the MS4 permit is released for commenting, it will likely only be available for 30 to 60 days, so it is important to be on top of it and start learning it as soon as possible. The Regional Board provides email updates on the process, but you have to sign up to get them. The best thing you can do to contribute to this process is to read through the permit and submit a thought-out and reasoned comment letter after. It is important that your comments be on-point and concise so that the Regional Board can better understand what you support, oppose or feel should be altered. Be sure to make your reasoning and goals clear because if you try to tie in Cervantes’ Don Quixote to your analysis, the Regional Board won’t take you seriously.
This is not the most exciting aspect of public advocacy, but these regulations will be in effect for the next 5 years. The Regional Board also feels that this permit is such an improvement that they plan torenew it in 5 years without making significant changes. This can be good because it gives regulated entities more long-term certainty, but it’s only truly good if the requirements help us achieve better water quality.
We often get asked about ways that people can be more involved that don’t necessarily involve giving us money or picking up trash. This is the perfect opportunity to have your voice heard on water quality issues and accountability for those who pollute our waters. Get cracking and submit some comments, because this process is central to Regional Board actions: public notice, document release, review period, and comment deadline. The more practice you have at it, the more informed and better you’ll be.