Industrial stormwater discharge regulatory compliance defined by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System – NPDES, and the Federal Multi-Sector General Permit – MSGP, slated for implementation in January 2021, will affect state Industrial General Permits. In the states where the EPA is the regulating body (New Mexico, New Hampshire, and West Virginia), the impact will be immediate.
California on the Rise, by Jonathan Meronek and Alissa Barrow, discusses the emerging general commonalties of “lessons learned” that can help dischargers successfully manage their stormwater programs.
Jonathan and Alissa explain best practices that help businesses understand and prepare ahead of the expected changes. The strategies can streamline preparation and response to minimize risk and help prevent fines and lawsuits.
About the Authors: Jonathan Meronek is a State of California IGP Qualified Industrial Stormwater Practitioner – QISP. With SCS Engineers for over 17 years, he leads Stormwater Management in the Southwest U.S. Alissa Barrow has 10 years of experience as an environmental professional specializing in environmental assessment, remediation, and compliance. Find a stormwater professional near you.
The environmental reporting season is just around the corner. Every year Ann O’Brien publishes a table to help you determine your reporting obligations. The table summarizes the most common types of environmental reports due to environmental regulatory agencies in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, along with respective due dates.
The professional engineers and consultants at SCS Engineers can help you navigate the local, state, and federal reporting obligations and permitting for your business, in your region, and in your industry. Contact us at or find a professional like Ann, nearest you.
Ann O’Brien is a Project Manager with SCS Engineers with more than 30 years of experience in the printing industry. Ann’s experience includes air and water quality permitting, environmental recordkeeping, reporting and monitoring programs, hazardous waste management, employee EHS training, environmental compliance audits, and environmental site assessments and due diligence associated with real estate transactions and corporate acquisitions.
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.
The new Exceedance Response Action (ERA) paradigm has wide-reaching implications for future NPDES permittees of industrial stormwater discharges. This growing regulatory compliance mechanism is already being implemented in California, Washington, and most recently in Oregon. These states are viewed as precursors of future trends throughout the United States, as several key components of the forthcoming Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) will influence other states to move toward similar ERA response scenarios and regulations.
Join Forester University for this live, educational, two-part webinar as speaker Jonathan Meronek, QISP ToR, CPESC, QSDP/D, of SCS Engineers discusses the future of the tiered ERA paradigm and why stormwater managers and facility compliance personnel have only begun to come to terms with it. He will help you better understand if your site is covered and how an Industrial Permittee can come into compliance.
The webinar will examine past lessons, including the implementation of effective best management practices, water quality characterizations, and successful compliance strategies. It will also project what the compliance paradigm will look like during the first years of an industrial General NPDES Permit.
Attendees can expect to learn to:
Attendees can expect to earn credits: 2 PDH / 0.2 CEU
We will continue to see changes on the federal, state and local regulatory front that together will help us manage storm water in a smart, cost-effective manner preserving our water resources. Betsy Powers of SCS Engineers provides an update in her most recent article.
Until a new WOTUS definition is finalized, the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Department of the Army have indicated their intent to re-codify the pre-Obama regulations. The revised WOTUS rule is expected to include looser regulatory requirements, meaning fewer waters will qualify, and therefore, fewer permits will be required.
To speed up approvals of permits for highways, bridges, pipelines and other major infrastructure, an Obama-era executive order aimed at reducing exposure to flooding, sea level rise and other consequences of climate change were rolled back reducing the environmental reviews and restrictions on government-funded building projects in flood-prone areas.
Removing phosphorus from storm water runoff is a hot topic, with partners exploring alternative opportunities to reduce the introduction of phosphorus in runoff, remove it or manage it in watersheds.
More proprietary filters are being used for pretreatment before underground infiltration for redevelopment sites for total suspended solids (TSS) control and where land is limited. The performance of proprietary devices continues to be studied and improved to meet regulatory requirements. Increasing general attention is being paid to emerging contaminants that are problematic in storm water runoff. Among the emerging contaminants of concern are pharmaceutical and personal care products, pesticides, hydrocarbons, and hormones. Many of which are now included within the Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals group.
Betsy Powers is a civil and environmental engineer with SCS Engineers.
Ann O’Brien of SCS Engineers has pulled together a list of questions that printers should be asking themselves before the environmental reporting season is upon us.
Use Ann’s questions as a guide to find out how ready your company is, and decrease your risk of non-compliance by being more organized.
If you don’t know the answers, ask Ann. She’s one of our air and water permitting, monitoring, and reporting experts at SCS. Ann specializes in printing industry compliance.
It is challenging to restore properties with a past, but you can do it on time and on budget if you plan ahead to address contaminated historic fill. Follow these tips and use the brownfield redevelopment checklist to keep your next redevelopment on track.
Consider how contaminated historic fill impacts the following:
Site feature locations – You can reduce or even eliminate landfill disposal costs by carefully selecting locations for your building, underground parking, parking lot, utility, and green space.
Storm water infiltration – Do you know that storm water infiltration devices must be located in areas free of contaminated historic fill? Infiltration devices cannot be located where contaminants of concern (as defined in s. NR 720.03(2)) are present in the soil through which the infiltration will occur.
Subslab vapor mitigation system – Already know you have contaminated historic fill on site? Consider adding a subslab vapor mitigation system to the design of your new building. It is usually much cheaper to install this system in a new building than to retrofit one into an existing building. It can also mitigate radon gas.
Planning & Design
Determine if contamination requires the following plans to manage the construction phase:
Material management plan – It establishes how you will separate excavated contaminated material from material that is not contaminated. It also outlines how you will handle contaminated material, either by disposing of it off site in a landfill or reusing it on site in an approved area such as a paved parking lot. This plan also covers screening, sampling, and testing contaminated materials, if required.
Dewatering plan – If the development requires excavation through contaminated historic fill to depths below groundwater, you will need a dewatering plan to properly manage discharge of the water. You may be able to discharge the water to the storm sewer or the sanitary sewer depending on the type and concentration of contaminants. You must determine local and state permit requirements before implementing your dewatering plan.
Demolition plan – The demolition plan for removing existing structures during redevelopment should include handling, removal, and disposal of potential contaminants such as lead and asbestos. The demolition plan should also address recycling and reuse of existing on site materials like concrete. You may be able to save money by crushing and reusing concrete on site as fill material, or by hauling and crushing it off site to reuse it as fill at another property. This approach can save you considerable money compared to landfill disposal.
Ready to start saving time and money addressing contaminated historic fill at your next redevelopment? Contact Ray Tierney for help evaluating your options in the Upper Midwest, or using the SCS Brownfield Redevelopment Checklist .
Learn more about these services at SCS Engineers; read our case studies and articles:
How to stay in compliance, do what is right and avoid costly fines and litigation.
The State of California passed regulations in 2015 that impact all craft brewers (SIC Code 2082) who must comply with these regulations by either preparing and implementing a plan or certifying “no exposure” for their facility. While enforcement has so far been limited, the State maintains a searchable database by SIC code, and compliance determinations by government officials, environmental groups and other non-government organizations is comparatively easy.
Based on our research, the current compliance rate for craft brewers in California is relatively low. Those who don’t comply run the risk of fines or citizen suits by non-profits, which can be costly and time-consuming. Find out about the different types of compliance, what is involved, and how to stay in compliance.
A Qualified Industrial Storm Water Practitioner (QISP) can help you answer the following questions:
For more information or help with stormwater compliance in California, contact Dan Johnson at or the California Craft Brewers Association. If you are a CCBA member, you may access slides from a recent Webinar relating to Stormwater Compliance for Craft Brewers here. To sign up for our e-newsletter on stormwater and compliance tips send an email to .
If your company stores oil-based inks and manages them as part of your facility’s Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) Plan, it may be feasible to use an impracticability determination as an alternative approach to comply.
The high viscosity of oil-based inks can provide an opportunity for an alternative means of complying with the secondary containment requirements of the SPCC Rule. An impracticability determination can be an appropriate option for oil-based ink you store in single walled containers at print or similar facilities.
Your facility will need a Qualified Industrial Stormwater Practioner (QISP) to perform an ERA Level 1 Assessment, on or before October 1, 2017, and follow up with an ERA Level 1 Technical Report by January 1, 2018, or as soon as is practicable. We recommend that this assessment and report be performed prior to the wet season of the 2017-18 permit cycle year, to assist dischargers in reviewing their minimum required BMPs and if needed, implement additional BMPs.
Review your ERA Level 1 Action Plan now. Is it correct given the additional NAL exceedances? You should review all items needed for a successful ERA Level 2 Action Plan and Technical Report to successfully reduce and/or eliminate pollutants of concern in stormwater discharge.
Your facility is required to submit an ERA Level 2 Action Plan, prepared by a QISP, which addresses each Level 2 NAL exceedance via SMARTs. This Action Plan must identify which of the three options below (or a combination thereof) of demonstration(s) the Discharger has selected to perform:
The State Water Board acknowledges that there may be cases where a combination of the demonstrations may be appropriate; therefore a Discharger may combine any of the three demonstration options in their Level 2 ERA Technical Report, when appropriate.
It is important to note that Level 2 is a serious situation under the IGP and you should start working immediately on your stormwater management goals for the ERA Level 2 Action Plan, which is due by January 1, 2018. For the BMP demonstration option, Dischargers may have to implement additional BMPs, which may include physical, structural, or mechanical devices that will reduce and/or eliminate pollutants in stormwater discharge.
The ERA Level 2 Technical Report, which summarizes the option(s) chosen and all relevant technical information, including design storm standards for treatment control BMPs, must be overseen and signed by a California Professional Engineer (PE) and submitted by January 1st, 2019.