Industrial Storm Water Permitting

Published On: January 31, 2022

Are you in compliance?

Is your business subject to storm water permitting?

Storm water programs are regulated by the EPA, State, and local authorities. However, most states are authorized to implement individual storm water NPDES permitting programs. The EPA remains the permitting authority in a few states, territories, and on most Native American lands.  In some instances, local municipalities are granted additional regulating authority through a state’s program.

Storm water permitting requirements are based on your location and type of industry. 40 CFR 122.26(b)(14) describes storm water discharges associated with industrial activities and lists 11 categories of facilities that fall under the regulation. In terms of permitting, this is determined based on a facility’s Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) or North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) number. A list of applicable industrial classifications regulated by the EPA can be found in the 2021 Multi Sector General Permit Appendix D.

Examples of Industries subject to storm water permitting:

Permit Subsector ApplicabilitySIC CodeIndustrial Activity
C42821-2824Plastics Materials and Synthetic Resins, Synthetic Rubber, Cellulosic and Other Manmade Fibers Except Glass
J21422-1429Crushed and Broken Stone, Including Rip Rap
Y13052, 3053Gaskets, Packing and Sealing Devices, and Rubber and Plastic Hoses, and Belting
AA13411-3499 (Except 3479)Fabricated Metal Products, Except Machinery and Transportation Equipment, and Coating, Engraving, and Allied Services

Both the EPA and individual states have developed Multi-Sector General Permits (MSGPs) to set general regulatory requirements and then specify industry-specific requirements for each industrial classification or classification range. State MSGPs do not have to incorporate any new requirements that the EPA finalizes into their MSGP, but they may if they so choose.

Do you qualify for a No Exposure Certification?

To qualify for a condition of, “no exposure,” facilities must determine if they can adhere to the following statements:

A condition of, “no exposure,” exists at an industrial facility when all industrial materials and activities are protected by a storm-resistant shelter to prevent exposure to rain, snow, snowmelt, and/or runoff. Industrial materials or activities include, but are not limited to, material handling equipment or activities, industrial machinery, raw materials, intermediate products, by-products, final products, or waste products. Material handling activities include the storage, loading and unloading, transportation, or conveyance of any raw material, intermediate product, final product or waste product. A storm-resistant shelter is not required for the following industrial materials and activities:

  •  drums, barrels, tanks, and similar containers that are tightly sealed, provided those containers are not deteriorated and do not leak. “Sealed” means banded or otherwise secured and without operational taps or valves;
  • adequately maintained vehicles used in material handling; and
  • final products, other than products that would be mobilized in storm water discharges (e.g., rock salt).

A No Exposure Certification must be provided for each facility qualifying for the no exposure exclusion. In addition, the exclusion from NPDES permitting is available on a facility-wide basis only, not for individual outfalls. If any industrial activities or materials are or will be exposed to precipitation, the facility is not eligible for the no exposure exclusion.  (NPDES Form 3510-11)

In addition the facility must be able to answer “no” to all [11] storm water related questions on the NPDES Form 3510-11 and maintain the “no” status 365 days a year for 5 years.

How to apply and comply with a permit?

First, you must determine if your industry is subject to storm water permitting under federal or state MSGPs. If you determine that your facility is applicable a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWP3) should be developed. This plan should contain the following information:

  1. Identification of personnel who are responsible for storm water management
  2. Accurate site description
  3. A summary of potential pollutant sources
  4. Description of storm water control measures currently in place
  5. A calendar with important compliance reporting submission dates and procedures for filling out these reports.
  6. Training records of all employees who can effect storm water
  7. All documentation showing compliance with the facility permit.
  8. Signatures of facility management stating their understanding of the plan.

After the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWP3) is established, the facility needs to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) at least 30 calendar days prior to commencing discharge.

Once a facility is regulated under an MSGP they should conduct inspections, assessments, and monitoring according to their industry-specific permit. These facility checkups should all be documented and kept with the SWP3 and the permit.

Permit Updates

National (EPA)

The EPA and State regulators strive to continuously improve surface water quality. To do so they update the MSGPs once every 5 years and when administrative changes are necessary. The last update to the EPA MSGP went into effect March 1, 2021.

State (Ohio)

This year the Ohio Multi-Sector General Permit OHR000006 is set to expire on May 31, 2022. The new permit, is estimated to have an expected date be June 1, 2022.

Facilities with existing Ohio Industrial Stormwater Discharge permits will be required to submit the renewal Notice of Intent (NOI) within 90-days of the final effective date of the new permit, before September 1, 2022. The NOI is required to be submitted through Ohio EPA’s Surface Water Tracking, Reporting, and Electronic Application Management System (STREAMS) which is available through the Ohio EPA eBusiness Center. This will require the facility to establish an eBusiness account and Personal Identification Number (PIN) for final submission of the NOI. Existing eBusiness Center account holders can access the NOI form through their existing account and submit using their PIN.

Additionally, facilities must update their existing Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans (SWP3) within 180-days of the final effective date of the new permit, before December 1, 2022.

Existing Facilities

When permit changes occur, existing facilities must submit a renewal NOI within 90 days of the effective date of the new permit. (State & Federal)

The first monitoring quarter for the new permit will be the first full quarter under the new permit and the first annual report is due the following year. This will cover the last quarter of the original permit and first quarter or two of the new permit (depending on effective date of new permits).

Existing facilities should update their SWP3 within 180 days of the effective date of the new permit.

New Facilities 

Many times, facilities who are applying for a storm water permit are either leasing an existing building or finishing construction of a new facility. For those businesses who are transitioning from a construction storm water permit to an industrial storm water permit, it is important to remember to talk to your general contractor about terminating the construction permit as soon as the Industrial NOI is approved so as to not be operating under two storm water permits.

For those who are leasing or are thinking about leasing a space to operate a business, it is important to remember to evaluate the design of the building to determine how industrial processes will affect storm water permitting.

When applying for an EPA NPDES MSGP the NOI is due at least 30 calendar days prior to the commencing of discharge. When a new source is planning to apply in the state of Ohio, the NOI is due at least 180 calendar days prior to the planned commencement of storm water discharge. The first monitoring quarter will be the first full quarter following the authorization of discharge (when the NOI is approved). The annual report will be due the following year covering each full quarter of the previous year after the authorization of discharge date.

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