EPA Proposes Reissuance of General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Industrial Activities

UPDATE: EPA is extending until Dec. 26, 2013, the comment period for the Draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit for Stormwater Discharges From Industrial Activities.  Click here to read the Federal Register notice.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will accept public comment through Wednesday, Nov. 27 on a draft general permit to regulate stormwater discharges from most industrial activities (78 Fed. Reg. 59,672, Sept. 27, 2013).  Construction companies that perform activities associated with cement or concrete manufacturing, asphalt paving, minerals mining, or landfill operations will all likely be impacted by changes to EPA’s Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP).  Stormwater discharges from active construction sites that disturb one acre or more of land are regulated separately under a state or EPA’s Construction General Permit.

Once re-issued, EPA’s MSGP will be directly applicable in all or part of ten states and the District of Columbia, on Indian lands, and in some territories. It will also serve as a model for other state-issued general permits, as it is looked to and cited by water regulatory agencies as an authority on EPA’s industrial stormwater permitting strategy.

Coverage under an industrial stormwater permit is required at facilities that fall within one of EPA’s 29 “sectors” of industrial activity and that have the potential to discharge stormwater to a water of the United States.  See 40 CFR 122.26(b)(14)(i)-(ix), (xi).  Historically, such activities have included “active” and “inactive” materials source sites that are not covered by a Construction General Permit (CGP) including quarries, borrow pits, and sand/gravel pits, as well as their associated materials processing operations.  Stormwater discharges from active mining, concrete- and asphalt-batching locations also must be covered by an industrial stormwater permit.  These categories are generally most applicable to road and bridge construction and/or maintenance activities.

Although the draft permit provisions are similar to the previous MSGP, which was issued in 2008 and expired Sept. 29, 2013, there are some noteworthy changes that EPA is considering.  For example, the draft permit would modify the discharges eligible for coverage under the permit.  Specifically, it would require facilities discharging stormwater to superfund sites to notify the regional EPA offices beforehand so as to prevent recontamination of a site that is being cleaned up. Industrial operators would have to eliminate discharges of toxic pollutants of concern above the detection limit or apply for an individual permit. In addition, the proposal would clarify that pavement washwaters may not come into contact with hazardous cleaning products (i.e., bleach, hydrofluoric acid, sodium hydroxied, nonylphenyls) to be covered under the permit. The proposal sets specific requirements for pavement washwater discharges to be treated, unless it is first treated by control measures.

Other changes of interest to AGC members would include—

  • Public accessibility to SWPPP (stormwater pollution prevention plan) information, either by posting on the Internet or by incorporating salient information into the Notice of Intent (NOI) form;
  • Electronic submission for the NOI froms, Notice of Termination (NOT) forms, annual reports, and all monitoring results (benchmark, effluent limits, impaired waters, and numeric effluent limits) – limited waivers may be granted; and
  • Specific deadlines for taking corrective actions.

Take Action

AGC has compiled a supplemental information sheet identifying some of the proposed changes to EPA’s new industrial stormwater permit that are noteworthy or may be of concern.  This information will be helpful to AGC members and chapters who are reviewing the proposed new MSGP either to share their comments and/or concerns with AGC of America or to submit individual comments to EPA.

AGC is working with its partners in the Federal Stormwater Coalition to submit comments to EPA in advance of the Nov. 27 deadline.  Members of the coalition are directly affected, or which have members that are directly affected, by regulatory decisions made by federal and state permitting authorities under the Clean Water Act (CWA or the Act).  Please share any comments or concerns with Leah Pilconis, senior environmental advisor to AGC, at in advance of the comment deadline.

New Permit Not Finished In Time

The draft MSGP will replace the 2008 general permit that expired on Sept. 29.  However, EPA does not expect to finish reissuance of the new MSGP until spring 2014.  Facilities that obtained coverage under the 2008 MSGP prior to its expiration are automatically granted an administrative continuance of permit coverage.  Those facilities already covered under the 2008 MSGP must continue to operate under the requirements of that permit until the new MSGP is finalized. This includes conducting routine facility inspections, maintaining best management practices and good housekeeping measures, performing sampling, and submitting annual reports.

EPA has issued a memorandum concerning new facilities that began discharging stormwater associated with industrial activity after Sept. 29, 2013.  This memorandum provides a “no action assurance” for the new facilities that comply with the requirements of the 2008 MSGP, subject to particular terms and conditions as set forth in the memorandum.

When EPA reissues the MSGP in the spring of 2014, all facilities desiring coverage under the new permit, including those with administrative continuance under the 2008 MSGP, will need to submit NOIs for permit coverage. Please visit EPA’s website to download the proposed permit and fact sheets at

Areas Where EPA Remains the NPDES Permitting Authority

EPA’s MSGP is the stormwater permit for most industrial facilities located in the states and other areas where EPA is responsible for issuing NPDES permits. This includes the following states and areas: Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New Mexico, the four states not delegated by the EPA to operate their own National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit program; the District of Columbia; Puerto Rico and all other U.S. territories except the Virgin Islands; federal facilities in Colorado, Delaware, Vermont, and Washington; and, finally, most tribal lands and oil and gas operations in Texas and Oklahoma.

As indicated above, the MSGP sets the standard for general permits issued by authorized states. What EPA does with this permit has a significant impact on how all facilities nationwide need to manage their stormwater.

MSGP Resources

Monitoring Guide:

SWPPP Guide:


For more information:

If you have further questions, please contact Leah Pilconis, senior environmental advisor to AGC, at