Determining MS4 Status of the Project Area

Section 319 Nonpoint Source Grants may only be used for work that is not required by NPDES stormwater permits. This short guide explains how to determine eligibility.

Table of Contents

Determining Eligibility for S. 319 Nonpoint Source Competitive Grant Projects

December 2017

Draft and Final NPDES MS4 and RDA stormwater permit requirements will dictate eligibility for s.319 Nonpoint Source Competitive Grant projects. In areas regulated by these permits, 319 funds cannot be used for work that is required in the permits. The regulated discharges become point sources that are no longer eligible for nonpoint source funding.

Determining what draft and final permits are in effect, in what areas, and what work will be allowed, is important to consider when applying for 319 funding.

A few simple guidelines:

  • As in past years, stormwater work that is not required by a draft or final NPDES permit can be funded with 319 dollars.
  • The 2010 draft and final permits are very detailed, requiring, for example, development of a written Stormwater Management Program (SMP) for the regulated area. The SMP must include a detailed list of outfalls and receiving waters, with plans to address the pollutants, including identification of all BMPs that will be put in place (draft permit, 1.10.02).  The prescriptive approach of the new draft permits effectively converts the nonpoint source pollution in the regulated area into point sources that are no longer eligible for 319 funds.
  • Areas outside the regulated areas remain eligible for 319 funds as in past years.
  • A municipality that contains both regulated and unregulated areas is eligible for 319 funds for work in the unregulated area.

Therefore, with regard to NPDES issues, the critical questions in determining eligibility of projects for s.319 funding are:

  1. Where is the regulated area?
  2. What permit is in effect?

EPA has provided information that can help clarify the NPDES status of a project.

  1. Go to the EPA web site for Regulated Communities in Massachusetts.
  2. Scroll down to the town you are interested in. Click on the '303d/305b' map. Areas in green represent the regulated areas affected by the permit. Areas in yellow are not affected by the permit.

Note that this map only indicates regulated municipalities. Some large stand-alone entities, such as MassDOT and public universities, have individual NPDES draft and final permits that must be followed.

Potential 319 applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss proposal ideas and eligibility with program staff prior to the annual April issuance of the solicitation. Please contact Malcolm Harper, 319 Nonpoint Source Program Coordinator, at 508-767-2795 or

Key Actions   for Determining Eligibility for S. 319 Nonpoint Source Competitive Grant Projects

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