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NATIONAL POLLUTION DISCHARGE ELIMINATION SYSTEM


The Clean Water Act (CWA), amended in 1972, provides that discharging of pollutants into waters of the United States from any point source is unlawful without a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. For a number of reasons, United State Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and authorized NPDES States have failed to issue NPDES permits for the majority of point source discharges of storm water. Recognizing this, Congress added section 402 (p) to the CWA in 1987 to establish a comprehensive framework for addressing storm water discharges associated with industrial activity.

Thus, most storm water point source discharges related to industrial activities are required to obtain an NPDES permit. This may be accomplished by filing a Notice of Intent (NOI) for industrial activities. However, some facilities are eligible for the "no exposure" exemption. The No Exposure Certification form must be filed along with the NOI with USEPA. To obtain the NOI form for industrial activity, please click here.

Facilities subject to a point source discharge NPDES permit are also required to prepare a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWP3). Existing environmental management plans must also be evaluated for consistency to determine which, if any, provisions can be incorporated into the SWP3.

Other related plans may include the Preparedness, Prevention and Contingency Plan (40 CFR Parts 264 and 265), the Spill Control and Countermeasures Plan requirements (40 CFR Part 112), the National Pollutant discharge Elimination System Toxic Organic Management Plan (40 CFR Parts 413, 433, and 469) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Emergency Response Plan (29 CFR Part 1910).

Because the conditions which affect the presence of pollutants in storm water discharges vary among industries, today's permit contains industry-specific sections that describe the storm water pollution prevention plan requirements, the numeric effluent limitation requirements and the monitoring requirements for the industry.

However, a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWP3) can be prepared containing the following minimum criteria:

Pollution Prevention Team - The Pollution Prevention Team is to:

  1. Decide who will be responsible for developing and implementing your Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan.
  2. Identify these individuals and describe each person's responsibilities at the site.
  3. Implementing all general permit and pollution prevention plan requirements.

Site Map - A site map is a complete illustration of site features. At a minimum, the site map must include:

  1. Discharge points
  2. Pollutants likely to be discharged
  3. Direction of flow
  4. Surface water bodies
  5. Structural control measures
  6. Locations of significant materials exposed to storm water

Materials Inventory - Each facility must inventory the types of materials that are handled, stored, or processed onsite. "Significant materials" are of particular concern. The material inventory section must contain the following:

  1. List materials that have been exposed to storm water in the past 3 years
  2. Provide a narrative description of methods and location of storage and disposal areas, materials management practices, treatment practices, and any structural or nonstructural control measures

Past Spills and Leaks - Provide a list of significant spills and leaks of toxic or hazardous materials that have occurred in the past 3 years. "Significant spill" includes releases in excess of reportable quantities. Permittees are encouraged to list spills and leaks of both non-hazardous materials as well as spills of hazardous materials.

Non-Storm Water Discharges - If your facility has been tested or evaluated for non-storm water discharges, you must:

  1. Describe the method used and results of any test and/or evaluation for such discharges
  2. Indicate the location of the onsite drainage points that were checked during such discharges
  3. Provide the date of the test or evaluation

Monitoring Data - Where existing storm water sampling data are available, the facility must:

  1. Provide a summary of any existing storm water sampling data
  2. Describe the sample collection procedures used

Site Evaluation - Facilities must fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Provide a narrative description of activities with a high potential to contaminate storm water at your site, including those associated with materials loading and unloading, outdoor storage, outdoor manufacturing or processing, onsite waste disposal, and significant dust or particulate generating activities.
  2. Describe any pollutants of concern that may be associated with such activities.

Preventative Maintenance - Each permittee must develop a preventative maintenance program that involves inspections and maintenance of storm water management devices and routine inspections of facility operations to detect faulty equipment.

Management of Runoff - Permittees must describe existing storm water controls found at the facility and any additional measures that can be implemented to improve the prevention and control of polluted storm water. Examples include: vegetative swales, reuse of collected storm water, infiltration trenches, and detention ponds.

Employee Training - Permittees must develop an employee training program that covers such topic as spill prevention and response, good housekeeping, and material management practices. Learn more here.

Recordkeeping and Internal Reporting - Your facility must record and maintain records of spills, leaks, inspections, and maintenance activities for at least one year after the permit expires. For spills and leaks, records should include information such as the date and time of the incident, weather conditions, cause, and resulting environmental problems.

Plan Revisions - Major changes in a facility's design, construction, operation, or maintenance will necessitate changes in that facility's Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan.

NOTE:  To verify the requirements for your specific conditions, you may wish to review Part VII of the Wednesday, September 30, 1998 Federal Register. This is the Notice of the Final Modification of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Storm Water Multi-Sector General Permit for Industrial Activities. EPA also provides SWP3 guidelines which you can access by clicking here.

If the permitted industrial activity is terminated or changes ownership, a Notice of Termination (NOT) should be filed with the EPA. In the case of new ownership, it should be accompanied by a Notice of Intent (NOI) by the new owner. To obtain the NOT form for industrial activity please click here.

Dust Control  - Dust controls reduce the surface and air transport of dust, thereby preventing pollutants from infiltrating into storm water. Control measures are often instituted in industrial areas or in areas where land is being disturbed (EPA 832-F-99-003). Date Published: 09/01/1999

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