Federal Regulation Permit Update From the EPA

11 February, 2022

What the EPA’s Updated Stormwater Discharge Construction Permits Mean for Sites Under Construction

  • Changes to the EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Construction General Permits (CGP) are affecting projects that are under construction as of February 16, 2022, currently covered by the permit, and located in one of five U.S. states.
  • Existing CGPs will expire at midnight on February 16, 2022 and you need to file a new one by May 18, 2022. This process includes updates to your Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP) to be compliant with the 2022 CGP.
  • The changes will require more site inspections that must be conducted by a certified inspector or licensed contractor.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has updated its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Construction General Permit (CGP) and corresponding processes, effective February 17, 2022.

The agency makes changes to this permitting process approximately every five years based on feedback from contractors and state agencies. This year’s updates are much less extensive than the last overhaul in 2017, but note that they may mean higher construction administration budgets.

What Projects Are Affected?

Projects that meet ALL of the following conditions will be affected:

  • Under construction as of February 16, 2022;
  • Currently covered by an EPA NPDES Construction General Permit; and
  • Located in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Washington, D.C., New Mexico, or on a U.S. territory or federal/tribal land.

If you have a project that meets these conditions, you will need to take action by May 18, 2022 to remain in compliance.

In all other states, NPDES permits are handled by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) or other agency, and therefore are not affected by this update. Check EPA-managed NPDES permits here.

What Do I Need to Do?

If you have an existing NPDES CGP, it will expire on February 16, 2022 and you need to file for a new one by May 18, 2022. This is an administrative process that can be completed online by you, as the applicant, or by the applicant’s consultant – typically whoever filed the original permit. There is no application fee.

NOTE: If your site completes construction and is fully stabilized before May 18, 2022, you should follow the normal process to close out your permit, which is to submit a Notice of Termination (NOT) to the EPA. This is also an administrative online process.

Existing Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) documentation – a plan that shows how stormwater will be managed on site during construction – that accompanies the permit will also need to be updated to reflect the conditions of the new permit. You will likely incur a cost here for your consultant team to make these updates.

What Are the Biggest Changes?

Updates regarding frequency and process for site inspections are among the most notable changes. For a typical inspection, a contractor, civil, or environmental consultant walks through the site, monitors construction activities, and takes pictures, to ensure that the parameters of the permit and SWPPP documents are being met.

1. More Site Inspections and Observations

Under the current permit, inspections and observations are required every seven or 14 days depending on your permit, as well as after a significant rainfall. The new permit has added water created by snowmelt after 3.25″ or more of snow as a trigger for an inspection.

Additionally, for projects discharging water, the contractor’s dewatering process – draining accumulated stormwater or ground water from building foundations or trenches – must be inspected and monitored daily for clarity of the water.

What this means for you: Depending on the project’s location and climate, this will likely increase your construction administration budget.

2. Inspections Require a Certified Inspector

Inspections for new permits must be completed by a certified inspector or licensed contractor. Consultants who wish to perform inspections must complete training to become certified. There is a one-year grace period for the certification, meaning that only NPDES CGP’s filed after February 17, 2023 will require a certified inspector.

Projects that are currently being renewed can continue inspections by whomever is currently making observations – typically the contractor, civil, or environmental consultant.

What this means for you: Over the next year, there will be a big push for contractors, engineers, and other consultants to become certified. If you are planning any new applications to be filed after February 17, 2023, ensure your consultant is certified to complete these inspections.

It is important to note that here are also various technical changes and updates that your contractor will need to be aware of. EPA details all the changes here. Additional information can be found here.

How Bohler Can Help

Our teams across the affected areas are staying on top of the updates and will ensure our staff are trained and certified.

If Bohler prepared a SWPPP for one of your projects currently under construction, the local office will be reaching out to assist with this update.


Questions about an EPA NPDES permit update?

Contact one of our local specialists

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