The 2017 Construction General Permit (“CGP”) is effective today. It’s 171 pages of heart pounding, can’t put it down literature. Just kidding.
There are few significant changes to the 2017 CGP. Although a bit longer, the Environmental Protection Agency did a nice job of streamlining and refining the language to be easier to read and understand. However, they did remove several of the ever ambiguous ‘if unfeasible’ options for the permit requirements. But, if you continue with good housekeeping habits and follow your SWPPP, you’ll be in good shape.
Changes to note:
- New Prohibited Non – Stormwater Discharges:
The 2017 permit prohibits discharging external building washdown waters containing hazardous substances. Hazardous substances include soap, solvents, detergents, paint, caulk containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and related materials. If the external building washdown does not contain these items, it is an authorized non – stormwater discharge under the permit but must continue to comply with the stormwater, erosion/sediment and pollution control requirements with which you are familiar.
- NPDES Permit Notification:
The NPDES Permit Coverage Notification (e.g. the SWPPP Board) must now include instructions the public may use to contact the EPA to receive a copy of the project’s SWPPP, and how to contact the EPA if they see stormwater pollution discharging from the site. The notification must continue to be located at a readily accessible location near the construction site.
- Stockpiles and Land Clearing Debris Piles:
The Operator must cover or temporarily stabilize all inactive stockpiles and land clearing debris piles that will not be used for 14 days or more. See #5 for deadline requirements.
- Stabilization Deadlines:
The requirement to ‘immediately’ initiate stabilization measures triggers when you know the site or area will be inactive for 14 days or more or as soon as you know the earth – disturbing activities have stopped.
The EPA’s goal is to incentivize limiting earth disturbance through phasing by offering longer stabilization time frames for smaller disturbed areas. As such, if your total project is more than five acres but you disturb fewer than five acres at a time, the stabilization requirements follow the 14 – day time frame.
- Sites disturbing ≤ 5 acres must initiate stabilization measures immediately and complete the stabilization as soon as possible, but no later than 14 days after initiating the stabilization.
- Sites disturbing > 5 acres must initiate stabilization measures immediately and complete the stabilization area as soon as possible but no later than seven days after initiating the stabilization.
- Construction and Domestic Waste:
Operators must close or cover actively used waste containers when not in use and at the end of each business day. If the container does not have a lid, the Operator must cover the container with a similarly effective method as a lid.
- Discharge Limitations to Sensitive Waters:
If the site discharges to a U.S. water that is impaired for PCBs, and the site is engaging in demolition of any structure with at least 10,000 square feet of floor space built or renovated before 01/01/1980, you must (1) implement controls to minimize precipitation/stormwater exposure to PCB containing materials (e.g. paint, caulk, pre-1980 fluorescent light fixtures), and (2) dispose of those materials in compliance with local, state and federal laws.
- Notice of Intent and CDX System:
The EPA added a few new questions to the NOI form. E2RC will handle those questions for you. However, all NOI certifiers will use a new CDX system and NOI certification process. We’ll send more comprehensive information and instructions to access the new system to all NOI certifiers in a couple of days.
- Indian Country Requirements:
Section 9.4 of the 2017 CGP outlines additional requirements applicable to work or discharges occurring on specific pueblos in New Mexico. If your project will take place on pueblo land, give us a call to go over any additional requirements. Likely, you are already performing these tasks, but it never hurts to check.
That’s it. No big deal. If you have any questions about the new CGP or its requirements, please call our office at (505) 867-4040. We wish you best on current and future projects, and look forward to partnering with you for a successful 2017.