March 5, 2012
On February 16, 2012, US EPA reissued and renewed the expiring 2008 Stormwater Construction General Permit (CGP) for a five-year term. The new permit covers stormwater discharges from disturbances of one or more acres of land. EPA states that the CGP is issued to “improve its readability, clarity, and enforceability.” EPA’s Fact Sheet summarizing the 2012 “clarified” CGP is 135 pages long.
New requirements to implement technology-based Effluent Limitation Guidelines and New Source Performance Standards for the construction and development industry were issued on December 1, 2009 (the “C&D Rule”), but the numeric turbidity discharge limits are currently stayed indefinitely.1 Therefore, new non-numeric performance standards apply under the 2012 CGP for C&D sites:2
- erosion and sediment controls;
- soil stabilization;
- pollution prevention measures;
- prohibited discharges; and,
- surface outlets.
The 2012 CGP includes new provisions that apply to:
- eligibility for emergency-related construction;
- ineligibility for coverage for sites using certain treatment chemicals;
- increased usage of the electronic Notice of Intent process;3
- sediment and erosion controls;
- natural buffers or alternative controls;
- water quality-based effluent limits;
- site inspections;4
- corrective action;5
- stormwater pollution prevention plans (SWPPPs); and,
- permit termination.6
Because US EPA is the permitting authority in only a limited number of states, construction and development activity managers should determine the applicability of the 2012 CGP for the state governing their project, and verify the status and implementing procedures of the 2012 CGP by those states with delegated NPDES permitting authority.
For further information or assistance concerning the 2012 CGP, please contact a member of Taft’s Construction Practice or Environmental Practice Groups.
1The numeric turbidity limits (stayed as of January 4, 2011) apply to sites disturbing 10 or more acres. 40 C.F.R. § 450.22.
240 C.F.R. § 450.21.
3EPA increased the NOI waiting period from 7 to 14 days.
4The frequency of site inspections for storm-based schedules increases under the 2012 CGP due to the trigger being lowered from a 0.5 inch storm event to a 0.25 inch storm event.
5The final permit includes specific triggering conditions for corrective action as well as deadlines to fix problems and document corrective actions.
6The CGP has new requirements for permit termination: all temporary stormwater controls and construction materials, waste, and waste handling devices must be removed.