A Tiered Approach for an Increased Regulatory Compliance Trajectory
Under the Clean Water Act (CWA), stormwater regulation is growing, evolving and becoming more robust, with increased compliance standards. For the stormwater managers, consultants and dischargers, the stakes have never been higher. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) regulations are in an iterative cycle, facing increased pressure from Non-government organizations (NGOs) to increase water quality standards.
As stakeholders, the stormwater community has come a long way since the Cuyahoga “River on Fire” in 1969. Now Federal regulations at 40 CFR 122.26(b)(14)(i)-(xi) require stormwater discharges associated with eleven (11) specific categories (29 Sectors) of industrial activity to be covered under National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits.
Recently noted, the Multi-sector General Permit (MSGP) draft for the year 2020 be significantly altered through a large NGO lawsuit, the US EPA entered into a landmark settlement agreement (Waterkeeper Alliance v. US EPA [2d Cir. 15-02091]).
With an escalation of NPDES industrial stormwater compliance, there must be a pronounced emphasis on reducing and eliminating pollutants of concern in Stormwater Discharge. The fundamental concentration starts with Best Management Practices (BMPs). To achieve compliance to these benchmarks, one must prioritize BMPs to meet a “level of control” which includes achieving Best Available Technology and Best Conventional Technology (BAT/BCT) to reduce industrial discharge pollutants of concern.
For many industrial dischargers, it is no longer viable to adhere to status quo BMPs. In many cases, it is more feasible to approach escalating regulatory compliance with an eye to the future, by thoughtfully seeking long term and sustainable solutions. Industrial stormwater BMPs and their associated implementation is the critical path towards regulatory compliance. Data, including internal sampling, matched up with BMP targeted pollutant specifications has to be continually collected and reviewed in light of US EPA Benchmarks.
Increased Water Quality Objectives for 303d and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) can and have increased receiving body benchmarks to Numeric Effluent Limits (NELs). Over the last five years, several states adoptions of State Industrial General Permits (Washington, California, and Oregon) have been comprised of stakeholder input regarding NELs, and in many cases, the outcome was a lesser standard of Numeric Action Limits or NALs. However, based on the recent Waterkeeper Alliance Settlement, studies concerning the viability of NELs are imminent, and therefore NELs are becoming more prevalent.
Never before has BMP selection and implementation been more important.
At Jonathan’s session at StormCon 2019, he will discuss the challenges of the industrial regulations and associated escalation scenarios, and provide a review of compliance numbers for the dischargers seen as “case studies” for the emerging regulatory trends. He will show facilities with advanced BMPs and how they have come to terms with Industrial Stormwater compliance.
Presenter at StormCon 2019: Jonathan J. Meronek, QISP, IGP-ToR, CPESC, CISEC, QSP/D