U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues “General Permits” for storm water discharges associated with industrial activity, under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program (as defined in 40 CFR 122.21 and 40 CFR 122.26). Runoff that contacts industrial materials can transport pollutants into nearby water sources. As a result, the development and implementation of a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) is required in order to obtain a general permit. A SWPPP, and its required information, should be incorporated into a facility’s overall emergency management program.
The purpose of a SWPPP is to identify potential storm water pollution sources and reduce the potential for pollutants reaching nearby waterways. Establishing procedures and controls is necessary to accomplish the following SWPPP objectives.
- Identify pollutants that may come in contact with stormwater.
- Establish measures to prevent pollutants from coming in contact with storm water.
- Establish controls to reduce or eliminate the potential for contaminated storm water being released to the environment.
Annual site compliance evaluations are also required by the general permit and must be conducted by a qualified or SWPPP trained personnel. Evaluations must include the following:
- Inspect storm water drainage areas for evidence of pollutants entering the drainage system.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of Best Management Practices (i.e. good housekeeping measures, preventive maintenance, spill prevention and response, etc.).
- Observe structural measures, sediment controls, and other storm water best management practices to ensure proper operation.
- Revise the plan as necessary within two (2) weeks of the inspection, and implement any necessary changes within twelve (12) weeks of the inspection.
- Prepare a report summarizing inspection results and actions items, identifying the date of inspection and personnel who conducted the inspection.
- Sign the report and keep it with the plan.
- If the annual review does not identify any action items, it will certify that the facility is in compliance with the Permit.
Completed site compliance evaluation checklists must be retained for a period of one year after expiration of the General Permit.
According to the EPA, a general permit is an NPDES permit that covers several facilities that have the same type of discharge and are located in a specific geographic area. A general permit applies the same or similar conditions to all dischargers covered under the general permit.
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