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U.S. EPA Proposes Draft 2017 Construction General Permit; Short 45-Day Comment Period

April 14, 2016

Possible Revisions Go Well Beyond Current Requirements

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing for public comment the draft 2017 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Construction General Permit (CGP). Although EPA’s CGP directly applies in only a handful of states and territories, it serves as a national model for state-issued CGPs.  EPA wants industry input on new stormwater control provisions, procedural requirements, deadline changes, reporting obligations, etc. that would significantly impact construction operations and overall environmental management on regulated construction sites.  The public comment period closes on May 26, 2016. AGC has prepared a DISCUSSION DOCUMENT to facilitate members’ input.  Please see below for details on AGC’s “Call for Action” or click here to submit your individual comments directly to EPA. 

EPA is seeking comment on the draft permit – and its accompanying fact sheet with supporting documentation – that goes well beyond what is currently required, per the 2012 CGP, and includes: expanded and transparent (online) NOI reporting; public accessibility (online) of SWPPP information; more frequent site inspections; tighter land stabilization deadlines, plus a directive to temporarily stabilize all inactive stockpiles and land clearing piles; additional controls for construction dewatering activities; new restrictions on runoff from building washdowns; stricter controls on demolition of buildings made with PCBs; additional protection for construction/domestic waste containers; and additional BMP provisions (e.g.,  procedural requirements) to bring the permit in line with the 2014 “ELG” (Effluent Limitations Guidelines rule) for the construction industry. 

Stormwater Pollution Prevention (SWPPP) Responsibilities

AGC members should also take note of proposed draft footnote language that may help to better clarify, as well as allocate, responsibilities for compliance with the CGP terms/conditions between the owner and the contractor – particularly where there are multiple “operators” associated with the same site.  Additionally, EPA has asked for feedback on a possible new permit provision that would require a group SWPPP for sites with multiple operators, in order to document in one place how the permit responsibilities will be divided among the permitted parties.

Call for Action: AGC Comment Letter in the Works

AGC is already preparing its response to EPA on behalf of the construction industry.  The Association welcomes members’ input on the host of possible revisions to the federal CGP – many would go well beyond what is currently required – as summarized above and elaborated on in AGC’s DISCUSSION DOCUMENTPlease email Leah Pilconis, senior environmental advisor to AGC, at pilconisl@agc.org by May 6 so AGC can meet EPA’s short 45-day comment deadline.  Or, click here to submit your individual comments directly to EPA.

AGC plans to ask EPA for an extension of the comment deadline.

The CGP is EPA’s general permit for stormwater discharges from construction activities. It covers all areas where EPA is the NPDES permitting authority, including Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Indian country lands, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories except the Virgin Islands. The 2017 draft permit, once finalized, will replace EPA’s existing CGP, which expires Feb. 16, 2017.

For additional information, please contact Leah Pilconis at pilconisl@agc.org.  

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