Navigating the Current Storm Water Compliance Requirements

shutterstock_60855322 As many of you know, the new industrial general permit (IGP) was adopted on July 1, 2015. The new IGP significantly expands storm water monitoring, sampling and reporting requirements. It requires many facilities that were not previously obliged to comply with the permit to begin doing so. Facilities subject to the IGP are required to file for a Notice of Intent (NOI) to discharge to waters of the United States or a No Exposure Certification (NEC) if they believe their facilities’ industrial activities do not affect storm water. It has been nearly a year since this requirement has gone into effect, and the storm water annual report monitoring (SWARM) submissions are now due to the water board. For those who are required to file for a NOI, the SWARM is due to be submitted to the water boards through the Storm Water Multiple Application and Report Tracking System (SMARTS) on or before July 1, 2016. Those filing for an NEC are required to evaluate their facility on or before October 1, 2016. Through this report, dischargers must answer an array of questions pertaining to monthly visible observation requirements, sampling event visual observations and sampling the required number of Qualifying Storm Events during the reporting year. Dischargers must report whether or not the required number of samples have been completed. According the IGP, each discharger filing for an NOI should collect at least four (4) storm water samples in each reporting year. If the minimum number of storm water samples was not collected over the previous reporting year, then the discharger must explain why the required number of samples was not collected. This is the most important part of the annual report! In addition, each discharger must evaluate their storm water samples to ensure that they do not exceed Numeric Action Levels (NAL), exceedances of which trigger increasing levels of required action. NALs are evaluated over the prior reporting year using two methods. The first one is known as the “annual NAL exceedance,” in which the discharger compares the average concentration for each parameter to those of the previous reporting year. Specifically, the discharger is required to compare the average concentration for each parameter to the corresponding NAL values in Table 2 of the IGP. The second method that should be used when analyzing storm water samples is the “Instantaneous Maximum NAL Exceedance,” which determines whether an analytical sample exceeds the instantaneous maximum NAL value found in Table 2 of the IGP. An instantaneous maximum NAL exceedance occurs when two (2) or more analytical results from samples taken for any single parameter within a reporting year exceed the instantaneous maximum NAL value or are outside the instantaneous maximum NAL range for pH. The first time an NAL exceedance occurs for any one parameter, the Discharger’s status changes from Baseline to Level 1 Discharge status for the next reporting year, requiring that a Qualifying Industrial Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan Practitioner (known as a “QISP”) evaluate the storm water pollution prevention plan. The good news is that ACT can offer an array of storm water compliance services to your facility, with a registered QISP on our consulting services team. Please contact Madison McLaughlin at [email protected] or by phone at (951) 990-2888 with any questions you may have.
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