Stormwater Regulation is evolving, pushing more responsibility on to the dischargers by holding them accountable through categorization based on a discharger’s ability to meet numeric benchmarks. Additionally, how a discharger responds and applies effective BMPs determines their status. Ultimately, it is up to the industrial permittee to take the initiative, with an eye to priorities and feasibility for the future of their stormwater compliance program.
Stormwater managers and facility compliance personnel have only just begun to come to terms with the tiered ERA Response paradigm. However, as the tiered escalation becomes more common and ERA Level 1 and Level 2 reporting is performed, facilities are beginning to reach an equilibrium of stormwater compliance in terms of strategy, feasibility, budget and allocation of resources.
In his whitepaper, Jonathan Meronek, QISP, ToR, takes readers through the fundamental components of the ERA, Exceedance Response Action, or tiered Corrective Action compliance mechanism already in place, and currently being implemented in the States of California, Washington and the most recent General Permit in Oregon. ERA has wide-reaching implications for future NPDES permittees of industrial stormwater discharges. The escalation or “tiered” response standards is based on EPA Benchmark Levels and potential for future Numeric Effluent Limits (NELs). The three western states are viewed as “precursors” of what may be expected throughout the United States, as several key components of the forthcoming Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) will push other states to move towards similar ERA response scenarios and regulations.
Rainy Days – SCS Engineers’ newsletter on everything Stormwater! We have shared some information below about stormwater compliance to help you understand and navigate the sometimes confusing regulatory process – a process that may leave you in a “daze”.
Cory Jones, PE, QSD, QISP ToR, ENV SP
SCS Engineers, Stormwater Management
Businesses attending California’s Storm Water Workshop know that the State Board is currently considering a tiered approach for storm water fees. Toward that end, the Board is reviewing the industrial storm water fee schedule with the intent of updating it by this summer.
Current rates are flat fees where permittees pay approximately $1,800 for a permit whether you have one acre of industrial operations or 100. The proposed rates would consider criteria such as total acres of activity exposed to storm water, permeability, and percent of property used for industrial operations. If you would like to comment directly to the Water Board, email your suggestions to
A panel of experts will convene on Tuesday, March 1, 2016, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. at the Civic Building #8P-Presentation Hall to provide businesses with information necessary to determine if they need to comply or are exempt. The building is located at 10601 Magnolia Avenue in Santee, CA.
The session is free and will cover these topics:
Panel of Experts:
Bill Fischbeck, Esq., and the moderator is an attorney in East San Diego County since 1976, Bill’s practice is concentrated in real estate, including transactions and dispute analysis as well as land use matters before public agencies throughout the County.
Cory Jones, P.E., ToR, is a storm water program manager at SCS Engineers. Jones manages complex projects for private and public clients that include site/civil, water/wastewater and storm water engineering. He has completed a wide variety of special studies in storm water management and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) compliance for federal, state and municipal public agencies.
An Environmental Attorney will also join the panel. The educational session is sponsored by Commercial Properties Group and the San Diego East County Economic Development Council.
The Industrial General Permit is an NPDES permit that regulates discharges of stormwater associated with industrial activity. Based on the projected revenue and the predicted surplus, SWRCB is working to refine program funding and plans to adjust the current IGP permit fee structure.
Glen Osterhage, Fee Branch Manager for the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), Division of Administrative Services, met with industry leaders on November 3, 2015, to discuss potential changes to the stormwater Industrial General Permit (IGP) fee structure. Meeting attendees included: SCS Engineers, the Industrial Environmental Association (IEA), California Stormwater Quality Association (CASQA), the California Taxpayers Association (CTA), California Chamber of Commerce, the Independent Energy Producers Association (IEPA), and the host – California Manufacturing and Technology Association (CMTA).
The SWRCB funds eight core permit programs through the Waste Discharge Permit Fund, which pays for over 800 staff. California has cut allocations for agency staff funding by approximately $30 million dollars, forcing SWRBC to distribute its cost burden across the permit fee base. Currently, IGP permit fee revenue is $14.4 million (a single permit fee of $1,791 multiplied by approximately 8,035 permittees). However, SWRCB projects higher revenues due to increased enrollment when all newly required permittees file. Core programs are also subsidized with excess funds coming from the Construction Permit fees (excess of $2M over required $2M last year). Based on the current projected revenue and the predicted surplus the SWRCB is working to refine the IGP program funding and plans to adjust the structure of the permit fee from a flat rate to a rate adjusted for facility size, project complexity, and the threat to water quality.
Following the 2017 to 2018 year permit periods, the SWRCB will have better estimates with which they can accurately adjust fees. The SWRCB is exploring the potential for providing fee discounts for benefits or subsidizing other permit compliance cost burdens. For now, the No Exposure Certification (NEC) IGP Permits are likely to remain a flat fee, but their value may change following additional baseline permit data results.
The SWRCB’s revenue goal is, as always, to break-even; any proposed change to the fee structure is not intended to boost agency revenue over expenses. Another goal is to have data readily available for selecting a permit fee tier from the information submitted on the IGP’s online database application (Storm Water Multiple Application & Report Tracking System, SMARTS, smarts.waterboards.ca.gov).
The SWRCB will have additional meetings to collect comments on the proposed change in hopes of creating a consensus with permittees on these impending changes.
SCS Engineers will provide information as it becomes available. Our professionals are available to assist newly required permittees with filing and compliance requirements.