The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) issued a Federal Register notice on January 24 regarding its general permit 2022 Clean Water Act National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) for water discharges. stormwater from construction activities (“Building Permit”). See 87 Fed. Reg 3522.
The construction permit is a general permit (as opposed to an individual permit) used by the EPA to address stormwater discharges associated with certain construction activities involving clearing, excavation, and grading that disturb the terrain.
The EPA 2022 building permit is used in states that do not have primacy for the Clean Water Act program. Arkansas has been authorized to administer the NPDES Construction Stormwater Permit Program for many years. As a result, the EPA 2022 building permit is not applicable in this state. Nevertheless, primacy states often consider EPA choices to some degree (i.e., in terms of permit conditions and limits) when revising or reissuing their blanket permits. rainwater.
A permit under the Clean Water Act is required for stormwater discharges from any construction activity that disrupts:
- An acre or more of land,
- Less than an acre of land but part of a joint development or sale plan that will eventually disrupt one or more acres of land.
Construction activities include land disturbance activities that involve the clearing, grading and excavation of land and other construction-related activities that could generate pollutants.
The 2022 building permit will come into effect on February 17. It replaces the 2017 Building Permit.
The EPA describes the changes to the 2022 building permit from the previous building permit of 2017 as generally falling into one of two categories:
- Changes to improve license clarity
- Changes that add specificity to permit requirements
Changes noted as intended to improve clarity include:
- Approved Products of Stormwater Control Plan and Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan
- Differentiate between routine maintenance and corrective actions
- Include additional stormwater control design considerations
- Clarify the factors where infiltration would be impossible or inadvisable
- Clarify the application of perimeter control and natural buffer zone requirements
- Clarify permit flexibilities for arid and semi-arid areas
- Clarify pollution prevention requirements for construction waste
- Clarify the proper handling of wash down applicators and containers used for stucco, paint, concrete, form oils, curing compounds or other materials
- Clarify requirements for inspections during storms
- Availability of Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), inspection reports and corrective action log in electronic form
- Updated Endangered Species Act Eligibility Determination Process
Changes that are said to be intended to add specificity to building permit requirements include:
- Include additional perimeter control installation and maintenance requirements
- Update pollution prevention requirements for chemicals used and stored on site
- Specify new dewatering relief requirements
- Require baseline turbidity monitoring for sites discharging dewatering water into sensitive waters
- Update training requirements for personnel performing site inspections
- Specify the requirements for documenting signs of sedimentation attributable to releases from the construction site
- Require photographic documentation of adequate site stabilization
- Add new Notice of Intent (NOI) questions
A copy of the Federal Register notice can be downloaded here.