Storm water Runoff / Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP – 2015) & Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP)

On November 16, 1990, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a regulation as an outgrowth of the Clean Water Act of 1972 and the Water Quality Act of 1987, requiring National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for discharges of storm water from the Industrial and Construction sectors in the United States.  Historically, the EPA declined to issue permits for many regulable Stormwater discharges, preferring instead to concentrate its attention on controlled discharges of process waters from industrial facilities and publicly owned treatment works (POTWs).  Under this newest “leg” of the Clean Water Act, uncontrolled Stormwater discharge conveyed from a facility became the focus for permitting in 1992. 

Simply stated, an industrial facility is required to secure a Stormwater Runoff Permit if Stormwater (rain and snowmelt) escapes the facility, finding its way into streams, creeks, rivers, lakes, aquifers and eventually the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  Chemical pollutants in the form of dusts, vapors, fumes, paint emissions, spills and fugitive emissions are released from facilities through HVAC systems, wall/ceiling exhaust fans, air recycling and recovery systems, open garage doors, shipping docks, motorized vehicles and equipment, outdoor storage, maintenance procedures, trucking fleets, dumpsters and many more avenues.  As these typical daily releases occur, pollutants collect on roofs and facility grounds, being further spread by winds.  Storm events, assisted by the law of gravity, consequently carry pollutants through downspouts and over facility grounds, and off-site to ditches and gullies, eventually resulting in the pollution of water resources.

The Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) is the overriding EPA methodology to control the discharge of pollutants from stormwater point sources and outfalls.  Amendments continue to change the complexion of compliance responsibilities, e.g., the 1998 amendment to consider your facility's eligibility regarding include the Endangered Species Act.

Any uncontrolled industrial stormwater discharge that comes in direct contact with EPA's so-called "Water Priority Chemicals" (692 toxic chemicals directly related to SARA, Sec. 313 Toxics) requires a more sophisticated process of semi-annual sampling, monitoring and reporting to the EPA in Washington, D.C. and/or the State of Record.  Moreover, there are industry sector and site-specific requirements, whereby most facilities must undergo quarterly sampling / monitoring, stated known simply as "Quarterly Monitoring."  In addition to 30 industrial sectors established by the EPA, there are an additional 65 sub-sectors. Also integral to the site-specific Pollution Prevention Plan is annual training for a facility’s personnel/response team. 

Update on EPA’s 2015 Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP). 

The 2015 MSGP replaces the 2008 MSGP, which has expired.  Industrial facilities that want coverage under the 2015 MSGP must submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) by September 2, 2015 to be covered by the new permit.  The NOI submittal information has been expanded.  Importantly, e-Reporting is required for the 2015 MSGP for all data submissions via EPA’s NPDES e-Reporting Tool.  However, EPA has included a paper option that operators may use after they ask for and are granted a case-by-case waiver, by their EPA region.  There are also changes to procedures that owner/operators must follow with regard to protection of threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.  The 2015 MSGP includes metal monitoring benchmarks for facilities that discharge into saline (salt) waters, in addition to freshwater criteria previously required under the 2008 MSGP.  As has always been the case, annual training is required as a component for compliance with the SWR regulation.

Process/Wastewater Discharge (Industrial)

The hallmark of the CWA is the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System  (NPDES), which requires a permit for the discharge of any pollutant into waters of the United States.  To varying degrees, the states have been delegated to administer permitting and enforcement responsibilities under the CWA.  Wastewater permitting can be a lengthy process that requires submission of extensive and detailed information on the industrial processes of a facility, water quality data, computer modeling and other information. Facilities are subject to technology-based effluent limitations specific to their industrial category and new facilities within certain industrial categories must comply with New Source Performance Standards.  A total of 568 chemical hazards called “priority toxic pollutants” are regulated under this, the second leg of the Clean Water Act.  Responsive, credible and persuasive documentation and interaction with federal and state regulators is crucial to obtaining the desired result from the permitting process and maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements.

Spill Prevention Control & Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan

The SPCC regulation, while a separate EPA mandate, is extremely relevant to stormwater issues, especially in the pollution prevention targets being attained by the client.  The EPA requires the SPCC Plan as a spill response/emergency procedure to prevent the discharge of chemicals, fuels and all oil-related products to U.S. water tables, aquifers, streams, reservoirs and rivers, which would eventually convey pollutants to navigable waters.  The SPCC Plan is to be implemented by identifying potential spills, establishing equipment and procedures to prevent the occurrence of a spill and to provide immediate response and notification in the event of a spill or release.  The obvious purpose of the SPCC is to prevent the loss of life (human or otherwise), property and the release of hazardous substances, pollutants and contaminants to the environment. An SPCC Plan is required for stationary facilities which store chemicals, fuels or oil-related products under the following conditions:

  1. Store the product above ground at an aggregate capacity of 1,320 gallons in containers the size of 55 gallon drums or larger; and
  2. Could reasonably be expected to discharge the product into U.S. waters if a spill occurred.

Integral to the SPCC Plan is annual training for a facility’s personnel/response team.

Clean Water Testimonial

I’d just like you to know that I sleep better at night knowing Vanguard’s compliance management protects us against inspectors, enforcement agents and the like. - Automotive Brake Mfr./Oklahoma