EPA Industrial Stormwater Permit Hints at Tighter Rules

May 1, 2008
On Dec. 1, 2005, the EPA proposed an NPDES Stormwater Multi-Sector General Permit for Industrial Activities (MSGP).

by Jay Collert, CHMM, CET

On Dec. 1, 2005, the EPA proposed an NPDES Stormwater Multi-Sector General Permit for Industrial Activities (MSGP). This proposed permit will replace the MSGP-2000 that expired on Oct. 30, 2005. The agency asked for comments on the proposed permit and accompanying fact sheet. The comment period closed on Feb. 16, 2006. And, yet, still no final permit.

Final Impact

What will be the impact when it goes final? Even though it’s sometimes dangerous to read too much into a draft of anything from the EPA, a closer reading reveals some interesting facts.

Past permits have always implied that the required Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), required for all stormwater permits, is a permit condition. Thus, if one fails to comply with the SWPPP, one fails to comply with the permit. EPA, however, feels that based on an overall lack of compliance from the regulated community, the words “…failure to comply with this section of the permit are violations of this permit.” Candidly, the agency is taking great strides to ensure anyone who must manage their stormwater discharges under this permit, must comply with all sections of the permit, including the SWPPP, or face serious fines and penalties. This is like a warning shot across the bow. Let permittees beware should they fail to recognize a very blatant warning. And even though 46 states and territories write their own permits, after the federal permit goes final, you’ll probably see similar language in the state permits.

Conclusion

Permit compliance has always been implied and followed to the letter. With the new MSGP Stormwater permit, compliance is stated no less than 80 times throughout the permit. For more information on this stormwater permit, visit EPA’s MSGP website: http://cfpub2.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/msgp.cfm

About the Author: Jay Collert, CHMM, CET, is a nationally recognized environmental trainer and consultant with the Aarcher Institute of Environmental Training LLC. Contact: 281-256-9044, [email protected] or www.aarcherinstitute.com

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