Special Topics in Environmental Management

2012 Construction Stormwater General Permit Cheat Sheet

 Structure & Appearance of Permit

EPA attempted to restructure its CGP so that it would be better organized to present requirements in a generally more readable manner. EPA’s hoping that this structure will enhance your understanding of and compliance with the permit’s requirements. So, for example, the permit’s stormwater control requirements are organized into distinct and related categories, such as erosion and sediment control requirements, stabilization requirements, and pollution prevention requirements.

Authorization Process / NOIs

The "waiting period" has been increased from 7 days to 14 days for construction site operators seeking coverage under this permit. This new 14-day timeframe is intended to better reflect the endangered species-related reviews that must take place prior to authorization. EPA also is hoping to maximize the use of its electronic NOI, or eNOI, process for authorizing construction discharges by requiring that construction operators seek coverage using the eNOI system. You can still use a “paper NOI” in cases where filing an eNOI is not feasible, but you have to get approval from the applicable EPA Region.

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Sediment and Erosion Controls

The final permit includes specific requirements that implement the C&D rule’s sediment and erosion control limits. While some of these requirements are already included in the 2008 CGP, the final permit includes more detail and additional requirements in order to more closely track the language and organization of the C&D rule.

Here are some requirements that can be considered significant modifications to the 2008 CGP:

1. Installation of Sediment Controls Prior to Construction – By the time earth-disturbing activities in any given portion of the site have begun, operators must install and make operational any downgradient sediment controls for the initial site clearing, grading, excavating, and other land-disturbing activities, unless infeasible. Following the installation of these initial controls, all other stormwater controls described in the SWPPP must be installed and made operational as soon as conditions allow.

2. General Maintenance Requirements – The final permit includes requirements for initiating work to fix problems on the same day that they are found and completing such work by the close of the next work day if the problem does not require signif

icant repair or replacement, or if problem can be corrected through routine maintenance.

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3. Buffer Compliance Alternatives – To implement the C&D rule requirement to provide and maintain natural buffers around surface waters, unless infeasible, sites must ensure that any discharges flowing through the area between the disturbed portions of the property and any surface waters located on or within 50 feet of the property on which the construction activities will occur are treated by an area of undisturbed natural vegetation and/or additional erosion and sediment controls to achieve a reduction in sediment loads equivalent to that achieved by 50 feet of undisturbed natural vegetation. Certain exemptions to this requirement based on feasibility considerations are also provided. Appendix G of the final permit has been added to provide guidance to operators in complying with this requirement.

4. Perimeter Controls – Operators are required to install sediment controls along those perimeter areas of the site that will receive stormwater from earth-disturbing activities.

5. Exit Points – Operators are required to minimize track-out of sediment onto streets and other paved areas from vehicles exiting the construction site. To comply with this requirement, the operator must (1) restrict vehicle use to properly designated exit points, (2) use appropriate stabilization techniques and other controls, as necessary, at all points that exist onto paved roads, (3) where necessary, use additional controls to remove sediment from vehicle tires prior to exit and (4) remove tracked-out sediment from paved surfaces by the end of the work day in which the track out occurs or by the end of the next work day if track-out occurs on a non-work day.

6. Storm Drain Inlets – Controls must be installed and maintained to remove sediment from the discharge prior to entry into any storm drain inlets that carry stormwater flow directly from the site to a surface water and that are accessible to the operator.

7. Dewatering Practices – Specific controls and discharge restrictions apply to sites that will discharge ground water or accumulated stormwater removed from excavations, trenches, foundations, vaults, or other similar points of accumulation.

See tomorrow’s Advisor for more important changes in the requirements for the new 2012 construction general permit.