The Paradox of Compliance

Frequently, it is regulatory compliance, or more specifically, regulatory enforcement, that brings environmental awareness to a company or organization. Some of the best programs and hardest working companies got their environmental start with a good old-fashioned regulatory spanking. Many see increased regulation and enforcement as the only real solution to environmental restoration. This is unfortunate, but the stick is obviously[…]

The Clean Water Rule

I am still somewhat fascinated by the political nature of filed lawsuits and general fury caused by the new rule defining waters of the United States. A final draft was added to the Federal Register on June 29, 2015. The rule will be effective on August 28, 2015 unless one of the suits changes that.[…]

“It’s cheaper to pay the fine.”

The short view: The cost of compliance exceeds the cost (and odds) of getting caught. It’s obvious that an effective environmental protection program can be expensive. So is an effective safety program, an effective quality assurance program, and an effective marketing and sales program. Effectiveness on its own requires resources. Valuable and scarce resources can be saved or[…]


TS4 – a term sometimes used to describe a municipal separate storm sewer permit addressing urban discharges from transportation facilities. Its not a term used officially by EPA or supported by law, but it does get thrown around a lot. State DOTs are in a unique position. They have typically been seen as co-permittees with the[…]

Municipal or Urban

Some friends and I have been discussing the differences between the terms urban and municipal as they relate to stormwater (ok, its nerdy, but you knew that when you signed up). The term, municipal, has a nice familiar ring to it. And when connected to stormwater, there is an unmistakable relationship between land use associated[…]


Responsibility: our ability to respond. The level of concern in the general public over the recently proposed rule attempting to clarify the definition of Waters of the United States really didn’t surprise me much. If the subject was even on their radar, it was because of clips and snippets of information provided to them from their[…]

Incommunicado… kind of

A few of you noticed my absence here recently while others saw way too much of me. The last three last three months have been tough as obligations,  commitments, and opportunities came calling all at once. Projects, training, speaking, learning, meeting, leading, following, contributing, serving, teaching, and working. I decided to give up a few favorite, but discretionary things for a[…]

Stormwater in the Mainstream May 2014

This month’s news with potentially the greatest impact to our profession and to water quality may just be the Supreme Court ruling on LA County’s responsibility for managing its stormwater.  Some answers to be looking for in the fallout – who’s going to pay for the required measures?; will LA County begin suing polluters as[…]

Stormwater Iconoclasts

From i·con·o·clast – noun: a person who attacks cherished beliefs, traditional institutions, etc., as being based on error or superstition. Synonyms: nonconformist, rebel, dissenter, radical. Jesse Poore and I delivered a half day workshop at the Great Connections conference this week in Davenport Iowa. We made the case for accepting collaborative leadership as a best practice for water quality professionals, and we also started conversations about some more technical issues. Here is some[…]

Stormwater in the Mainstream April 2014

I caught three articles from my home state of Alabama in the Mainstream this month.  Google News picked up one from Garden Talk in Birmingham and one story from Mobile (both below). Also, the Anniston Star provided notice of a not-so-publicized stormwater bill that was signed into law this month.  Along with providing a funding[…]