Land Use and Construction Support /
IEPA NPDES Phase II Inspection Program

In 1977 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recognizing the degraded quality of U.S. waterways due to pollution, passed the Clean Water Act. The Act regulates the emission of pollutants from specific locations, or point sources, (i.e. industrial pipes) into waters of the U.S.

While the quality of our nation’s waters began to improve drastically with the regulation of point source pollutants, polluted water bodies still existed. Many pollutants enter our waterways indirectly as run-off from impervious surfaces. When these nonpoint pollutants flow through our stormwater systems and out into our rivers and lakes they degrade the quality of our waterways.

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES Phase I) was formulated in 1990 under the Clean Water Act to address the issue of polluted runoff, or nonpoint source pollution. Nonpoint source pollution is defined as pollution that comes from many different sources over a large area, and it is generated when rain or snow melt collects impurities as it travels to a body of water.

NPDES Phase I was designed to regulate stormwater runoff discharges on construction sites that disturb five (5) or more acres. In 1999 The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) expanded the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Storm Water Program by designating additional sources of storm water for regulation to protect water quality. This new, expanded program is NPDES Phase II.

The new Phase II regulations strengthen the ability of government to regulate sources of nonpoint source pollution, the leading cause of water quality degradation in the United States. In 2008 the Will-South Cook SWCD entered into an agreement with the Illinois EPA establishing an inspection program for construction sites. Sites are monitored for the implementation of soil erosion and sediment control Best Management Practices (BMP’s) and sites that are found out of compliance are reported to the IEPA.

Protecting water resources is not only the responsibility of government, industry and development. To find out what you can do review the Clean Water is Everybody’s Business Tip Sheet.