Posted on April 27, 2011 by Gregory Sharp
The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) has significantly changed the way storm water discharges from industrial facilities are regulated with the adoption of a new General Permit for Storm Water Discharges Associated with Industrial Activities (“GP”). The new GP becomes effective on October 1, 2011, but the deadline for facilities to submit renewal registrations is June 1, 2011. Approximately 1,500 facilities in the state are subject to the GP.
For the first time, the GP includes a public participation process to allow the public to comment on Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans (“SWPPs”) before they are approved by DEP. The SWPPs contain the best management practices proposed by the registrant to minimize pollution from storm water run-off.
The public participation provision was added at the urging of environmental groups. They cited the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Environmental Defense Center, Inc. et al. v. EPA, 344 F. 3d 832, (2003), which addressed EPA’s general permit for Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewers (“MS4s”). It held that public participation was an essential part of the federal Clean Water Act permitting scheme, and that EPA’s failure to provide for public review of applications for coverage (Notices of Intent) under the MS4 general permit violated the intent of Congress. Id. at 856.
The new GP also expands monitoring requirements and sets enforceable “benchmark” concentrations, replacing the previous aspirational “target values”.