May 26, 2020
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The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials is requesting the elimination of Section 404 authorization from for “temporary discharges” necessary for routine roadway maintenance activities – a duplicative U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) rule that “can cumulatively consume significant manpower and other resources and potentially affect maintenance schedules.”

[Above photo by the Virginia DOT.]

“Temporary discharge” refers to the removal of accumulated sediments and debris from a roadside drainage ditch during routine maintenance activity.

AASHTO is asking for a remove of the USACE mandate due to regulatory changes made as part of a revision of “Waters of the United States” or WOTUS rules finalized in September of 2019.

Photo by VDOT

The organization argued in four-page letter submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency and USACE on March 12 that state departments of transportation already routinely perform annual maintenance on tens of thousands of miles of roadside drainage ditches in accordance with stringent WOTUS rules.

AASHTO further argued that its members said that USACE district offices are requiring Section 404 permits for temporary discharges that are “incidental” to such roadside maintenance activities. And making them more costly.

“This has placed unnecessary regulatory burden both on state DOTs as well as USACE district offices,” the organization said.

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