USEPA – Region 7 has been working on a mobile air emissions inventory (dubbed Gmap) to identify major immediate health concerns in the St. Louis area. On Oct 25, they also held two community meetings in the Lemp neighborhood to provide a status update on air monitoring efforts. So – if you don’t have your facility properly permitted and in compliance with construction or operational air emissions, you’re in for increased scrutiny from the agency and the public alike. The USEPA officials we work with stress that accuracy and timeliness in submitting your permit and responsiveness to agency questions are the keys to successful and relatively painless permitting, which many environmental consultants can assist with.
Another issue related to air permitting is keeping on top of the changing landscape of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). East St. Louis and St. Louis, as well as St. Charles and Jefferson Counties, are currently mapped as non-attainment zones for ozone. Proposed reductions in the allowable limits for particulate matter (PM) 2.5 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m³) under the Clean Air Act, which could go into effect at any time, will result in the designation of additional non-attainment areas in the region and, accordingly, far greater difficulty in air permitting for new or expanding facilities. The current annual average primary standard for PM 2.5 is 12 µg/m³, whereas the proposed standard will likely fall to between 9-10 µg/m³. It’s also important to know that EPA recently announced $3.5 million for Environmental Justice projects across Missouri and that EJ is becoming a bigger and bigger challenge for industrial facilities housed in EJ communities, so if your facility is an air emitter, even if properly permitted, you could face operational and PR challenges.
Another important thing to be proactive about is National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for construction and wastewater or stormwater runoff. NPDES non-compliance is becoming a major concern for MDNR and EPA as Missouri has a higher non-compliance rate than many other states. And ditto for spill prevention, control, and countermeasure (SPCC) and stormwater pollution prevention plans (SWPPP). Facility compliance audits are a great tool to ensure you have everything in place so you don’t end up with unexpected notices of violation.
Finally, as hopefully many of you are aware, due diligence and permitting requirements will become increasingly strict as polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) are declared hazardous substances under CERCLA. There is likely to be a great deal of litigation over this. PFAS have already been added to other regulatory frameworks, such as the recent requirement for toxic release inventory reporting to include them as chemicals of special concern, removing the de minimis exemption formerly in place.
Successful industrial facilities I work with are proactive in their permitting and compliance efforts. They carve out ample time for due diligence and – if needed – remediation work before facility acquisitions and expansions. My advice is to know what you’re getting into and that front-end costs are nothing compared to fines or cleanup costs you might be subject to if you don’t get your ducks in a row. For example, the USEPA recently issued a sizeable fine related to a Clean Water Act violation for a scrap metal recycling facility in St. Louis alleged to have illegal discharges into the Mississippi River.
About the Author: Rachel McShane, LEP, has over 15 years of experience in environmental due diligence projects (Phase I, II and III Environmental Site Assessments) as well as Brownfields redevelopment, risk-based corrective action, and remediation projects. She is familiar with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental assessments, vapor investigations and mitigation, radon, asbestos, lead-based paint surveys, and leachate monitoring/solid waste management. Reach Ms. McShane at or via LinkedIn.
On July 1, 2023, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) posted and updated General NPDES Permit No. ILR00 for Industrial Storm Water Discharges (2023 General Permit). The 2023 General Permit is effective July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2028.
Multiple industry sectors must now update their site-specific Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) to comply with the 2023 General Permit. Three key updates in the 2023 General Permit are:
1-Permittees are required to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) for renewal no later than 150 days after the 2023 General Permit is issued (i.e., by November 28, 2023).
2-Permittees must place a sign of permit coverage (except in instances where other laws or local ordinances prohibit such signage) in a safe, publicly accessible location in close proximity to the facility and include the following:
3-Benchmark sampling requirement updates, varying based on the industry sector’s Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code classification:
List 1 – SIC Code Groups with Updated Benchmark Sampling Constituents
Subsector C1 & C2
Subsector E1 & E2
Subsector F1 & F2
List 2 – SIC Code Groups with New Benchmark Sampling Requirements for Reporting Purposes Only
Our authors are available to answer questions about the Illinois stormwater regulations. You will find state professionals for updates or filing requirements local to your operation here.
Spencer LaBelle serves as a Senior Project Engineer for our Upper Midwest Team. Spencer has prepared SWPPPs for multiple, diverse industries and operations throughout Illinois and assisted clients with SWPPP inspections from the Illinois EPA. He has diverse experience in civil/environmental consulting for stormwater and erosion control management systems, site development, and regulatory compliance.
Betsy Powers serves as a Vice President/Senior Project Manager for our Upper Midwest Team. She has over 25 years of experience in civil/environmental consulting, including erosion control and stormwater management, site development, regulatory compliance, landfill design and permitting, landfill construction, material recovery facility design, and compost facility design and permitting.
Additional NPDES and Stormwater Resources:
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.
Do you know how much oil you store in aboveground containers at your facilities? If you have more than 1,320 gallons at a facility, you may need an SPCC Plan. SPCC stands for Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure, and it is a federal rule (40 CFR 112 in the Federal Register) designed to prevent oil-based products from entering navigable waterways of the United States. But it’s about more than just compliance. It’s an important tool to help you limit your liability.
As a utility leader, your focus is to deliver electricity to your customers; however, facilities covered under the SPCC Rule are subject to inspections and potential enforcement actions if your practices are out of compliance.
The 1,320-gallon threshold isn’t the only requirement for an SPCC Plan. The SPCC Rule only counts oil storage containers with a capacity of 55 gallons or more. Many electric utility facilities will meet the oil storage threshold, including substations, storage yards, power plants, and operations and maintenance facilities.
Another criterion is that a facility must reasonably be expected to discharge oil into navigable waters or adjoining shorelines of the U.S. The Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) does not define what “reasonably be expected” means. Instead, the responsibility is on the facility owner or operator to determine the potential for discharge. In reality, it’s usually easy to think of a scenario where spilled oil could reach a waterway. Even if you think a spill would never reach the stream, what if there was a significant rain event that washed away spilled oil on the ground through a storm sewer? Often “reasonably be expected” is not challenged, and it’s best to err on the side of caution.
It’s time to prepare an SPCC Plan. The Plan summarizes your facility’s oil sources, identifies spill response coordinators, and outlines your spill prevention measures and spill response procedures. There are three options: 1) Prepare the Plan yourself; 2) Use a third-party provider to prepare your Plan; or 3) Have a licensed professional engineer (PE) prepare your Plan. The option you choose depends on how much oil you store at your facility and your working knowledge of the SPCC Rule.
If your facility has less than 10,000 gallons of oil and no single aboveground oil storage container with a capacity greater than 5,000 U.S. gallons, you may prepare your own SPCC Plan, following the USEPA’s Tier I qualified facility template.
You can download the USEPA’s Tier I qualified facility template here: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-05/documents/tier1template.pdf. It is the cheapest way to comply with the SPCC Rule. You need to be familiar with the SPCC Rule’s requirements to complete a self-certified plan. You must also follow all of the requirements without deviation.
If your facility has less than 10,000 gallons of oil and a single aboveground oil storage container with a capacity greater than 5,000 U.S. gallons, you qualify under the USEPA’s Tier II qualified facility category. The USEPA does not provide a plan template for a Tier II qualified facility. You can still prepare the Plan yourself, or you may hire a third party or PE to prepare the Plan for you. If you prepare the Plan yourself, you must still follow all of the requirements precisely without deviating from them.
If your facility has greater than 10,000 gallons of oil storage, you must have a licensed PE prepare and certify your facility’s SPCC Plan. The Rule allows PEs the flexibility to deviate from certain requirements, so you may decide you want a PE to prepare and certify your plan for your Tier I or Tier II qualified facility.
An SPCC Plan is about more than just compliance. An SPCC Plan contains important information that will be critical if you have an oil spill. The Plan contains inspection forms and protocols that help you maintain your oil sources and prevent a spill from happening in the first place. It identifies the single point of contact, an “SPCC Coordinator” for the facility. If there is a spill, the Plan contains steps to contain and control the spill initially, and the proper contacts to notify internally and externally.
The SPCC Rule requires oil-handling personnel to receive annual training to respond to spills in their work areas properly, and the SPCC Plan contains the material that must be covered in training. The SPCC Plan also contains forms for you to document training, plan reviews and updates, and spill notifications.
Work with your staff to determine if the SPCC Rule applies to you. An SPCC Plan is a required document for certain facilities to help you comply with the SPCC Rule and gain the benefits of having a plan in place. But more than that, it’s a practical document designed to assist with training and inspections while serving the function to help prevent spills from occurring. And if spills do occur, an SPCC Plan provides the guidance to help control the spill and limit your liability.
Read Part II – Are You Ready to Respond to an Industrial Spill?
About the Author: Jared Omernik has 12 years of experience helping electric utilities comply with environmental regulations, including helping utility owners and operators build and review SPCC Plans and Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPPs).
Federal regulations require NPDES industrial stormwater Discharger to certify and submit via SMARTs an Annual Report on or before July 15th of each reporting year. Each facility should have already prepared the Annual Comprehensive Facility Compliance Evaluation (ACFCE). Per IGP Section XVI, the Discharger shall include in the Annual Report:
We hope that you find these tips helpful. If you have questions about sampling techniques, how to be prepared for storms, permitting, or anything else for compliance in California contact: Jonathan Meronek, , or your local office.
In her latest article, Betsy Powers describes how industrial storm water permits are designed to protect the quality of surface waters, wetlands, and groundwater. She succinctly provides what you need to know to ensure your company complies with state and federal laws under the Tier 1 or Tier 2 General Permit for Storm Water Associated with Industrial Activity. Betsy answers these questions:
Betsy also sends you to the necessary documents for Wisconsin in her article. A quick read, packed with guidance and resources.
About the Author: Ms. Powers is a civil and environmental engineer with more than 16 years of consulting experience. She has consulted on diverse site development and environmental compliance projects and has helped clients work cooperatively with regulatory agencies and their constituents to successfully complete projects.
By October 17, 2016, coal combustion residual (CCR) landfills subject to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) CCR regulations published at 40 CFR 257, Subpart D, also known as the Federal CCR Rule, were required to prepare a Run-on and Run-off Control System Plan. Your plan documents how you have designed and constructed your landfill to prevent storm water from running onto or off the active landfill. But, what’s next?
Have you addressed run-on and run-off control system operation and maintenance?
Spring is a great time to review your storm water control plans and, more importantly, your storm water controls. The snow is gone now and spring rains are on their way, so knowing that your storm water controls are working and water is going where you intend it to go should be part of your spring inspection routine. Don’t want to waste money managing clean storm water with your leachate management system, or put your facility at risk by allowing unintended runoff from the landfill. A few basic inspection tasks will help ensure you don’t.
A spring run-on and run-off control system inspection should include the following:
Don’t let spring rains catch you off guard. SCS Engineers can help you assess the effectiveness of your run-on and run-off control systems. For help conducting storm water inspections as well as studies to review leachate, contact water, and storm water minimization and reuse opportunities, or for questions about run-on and run-off control system inspections or more information about minimization and reuse studies, please contact:
Or, contact your local SCS Engineers office.
Learn more about the author Eric Nelson:
Eric J. Nelson, PE, is a Vice President of SCS Engineers and our National Expert for Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR). He is an experienced engineer and hydrogeologist. His diverse experience includes solid waste landfill development, soil and groundwater remediation, and brownfield redevelopment.
Mr. Nelson has worked with utility clients to complete numerous projects for dry CCR landfills, CCR ponds, and general environmental monitoring and compliance. He has been involved with CCR landfill projects that include feasibility analyses and permitting of landfill expansions; hydrogeologic and geotechnical site investigations; site design and operating plans; soil borrow source identification and permitting; liner and final cover construction liner, cover, and storm water management repairs. He has worked with utility clients to evaluate, plan, permit and complete CCR pond repairs and closures.
Mr. Nelsons environmental monitoring and compliance experience includes groundwater monitoring; oil containment design and construction; and Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) planning. This diverse project experience has provided him the opportunity to work on challenging and innovative projects that have included design and permitting for wetland and stream mitigation, identifying and avoiding former underground mines during site design, and assessing the feasibility of installing a solar photovoltaic system on a closed CCR landfill.
Mr. Nelsons additional areas of expertise include remedial action planning, cost estimating, bidding and construction documents, and construction quality assurance. He has worked with electric utilities, solid waste facility owners/operators, and private property owners and developers.
For years, Wisconsin landfills have relied on compliance with the storm water (stormwater) management requirements in the Chapter NR 500 code series to achieve compliance with the NR 216 storm water standards. Effective June 15, 2016, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) changed their policy, and now requires landfills and associated non-commercial borrow sites to obtain separate industrial storm water permit coverage.
Read the SCS Engineers Technical Bulletin to determine what action you may be required to take and by what date.
If you have questions or need help filing or developing a plan, please contact: