Work underway on 2023 construction stormwater permit; Electrical Code adoption; Board of Plumbing and Electricity back in person; Energy Code review coming

MPCA plans to release a draft stormwater permit in late 2022 with the final permit released in spring 2023.

2023 construction stormwater permit update

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has begun working on the state’s 2023 construction stormwater permit. Minnesota’s construction stormwater permit is adopted every five years and must conform to the EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System specifications.

MPCA staff are meeting with stakeholders and reviewing how to best work federal requirements into Minnesota’s 2023 construction stormwater permit. Items that may be changed include tribal input on individual permits, dewatering changes, a stabilization time frame on larger projects and changes to stockpiles.

MPCA hopes to release a draft permit in late 2022, with the final permit released in spring 2023, allowing time for training on the new requirements. For residential construction, the 2018 construction stormwater permit, which expires July 31, 2023, included only minor NPDES-required changes.

The 2023 permit is set to take effect on Aug. 1, 2023.

2023 National Electric Code adoption

At its July 12 meeting, the Minnesota Board of Electricity announced that the technical review of the 2023 National Electric Code (NEC) will kick off once the final model electrical code has been published.

In advance of the NEC adoption process, Housing First Minnesota sent a letter to the Board of Electricity, recommending five procedural improvements to the adoption of the 2023 NEC as Minnesota’s electrical code. These recommendations included hosting all technical review meetings in person, the appointment of residential construction stakeholders to the technical review panel, an in-depth cost analysis, respecting the 270-day waiting period on codes and acceptance of amendments.

Unlike the rest of the state’s construction codes, the Board of Electricity does not typically amend the model codes. “Minnesota’s housing crisis continues to worsen, and the status quo process of decades past cannot continue,” wrote Nick Erickson, director of research and regulatory affairs for Housing First Minnesota. “Regulatory bodies must adapt to address these challenges head-on or see the state Legislature step in and adjust the process so that it works for all parties.”

The Board of Electricity announced that it will be hosting in-person meetings for the two planned technical review meetings.

Plumbing Board examines code, statute interpretations

At its July 19 meeting, the Minnesota Plumbing Board reviewed a request for interpretation on the installation of replacement appliances connected to a home’s plumbing system. The request for interpretation was limited to the replacement of an existing appliance, without the installation or replacement of a valve or new water/disposal line.

The Plumbing Board also reviewed a request for interpretation from the Minnesota Water Quality Association (MWQA) on integral bypass appurtenances on residential water conditioning systems. MWQA stated that some municipalities’ interpretation required redundant systems, which cost consumers $400 in duplicative costs.

The consensus of the Plumbing Board was that the integral components meet code.

In-person DLI meetings return

The July 2022 meetings of the Minnesota Board of Electricity and the Minnesota Plumbing Board mark the first in-person meetings of housing regulators since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Minnesota in March 2020.

DLI to review model energy codes

On Aug. 23, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry will perform its required review of the model energy codes. In July, the U.S. Department of Energy issued its determination.