On February 16, 2012, EPA issued the Final 2012 NPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activities ( the “Construction General Permit” or “CGP”), which replaces EPA’s 2008 CGP. The new Construction General Permit incorporates the requirements of the Construction and Development Rule issued by EPA in December 2009 at 40 C.F.R. Part 450 and effective on February 1, 2010. Along with the new requirements of the Construction and Development Rule, EPA is also requiring electronic filing of permit authorization documents, and has rolled out a revised stormwater pollution prevention plan (“SWPPP”) template and other guidance documents to aid permittees in complying with the new requirements. New Construction General Permit requirements incorporated from the Construction and Development Rule include measures for erosion and sedimentation control (including a natural buffer requirement), soil stabilization, dewatering, and pollution prevention, but the new CGP does not contain the numeric turbidity limit originally found in the Construction and Development Rule.
The Construction and Development Rule originally required construction sites 10 or more acres in size to meet a numeric standard for turbidity of 280 nephelometric turbidity units (“NTUs”) and conduct sampling of stormwater discharges to confirm compliance with the standard. However, EPA stayed the effectiveness of the numeric turbidity standard on November 5, 2010, after petitions for reconsideration pointed out errors in the methodology upon which the numeric limit was based. EPA has since published a Notice seeking additional data relevant to establishing a numeric turbidity limit with an aim to correct it and re-incorporate it into the Rule.
Meanwhile, EPA and states are required to incorporate the remaining requirements of the Construction and Demolition Rule into Construction General Permit renewals. EPA has suggested that states needing to renew their Construction General Permits before EPA issues a corrected numeric turbidity limit do so without a numeric limit, but EPA also recommends that these states consider issuing their CGPs for a shortened time period so the corrected limit can be incorporated sooner than in five years.
EPA is hosting a free webinar on the new EPA Construction General Permit on Wednesday, March 21, 2012, from 1:00 to 3:00 Eastern. Any interested party can register on EPA’s website. The two hour presentation will provide an overview of the 2012 CGP, including the new Construction and Development requirements, and will also address electronic filing requirements, available SWPPP templates and other helpful resources.
EPA’s CGP is effective in states and territories where EPA is the permitting authority, including Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, other U.S. territories and most Indian lands. In other states, a state general permit will apply.