DEC Set to Renew and Add Climate Change Requirements to the Multi-Sector General Permit for Industrial Stormwater (GP-0-23-001)

January 18, 2023
Stephen D. Daly, Esq. and Technical Consultant Michael C. Nines, P.E., LEED AP
MGKF Special Alert - New York Forecast 2023

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is expected to finalize its renewed Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) for stormwater associated with industrial activities in early 2023.  The existing MSGP is set to expire on February 28, 2023 with the new permit anticipated to go into effect on March 1, 2023 for another 5-year term.  Existing MSGP permit holders will need to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) for coverage under the renewed MSGP within 90-days of the MSGP being renewed (i.e., on or before May 30, 2023), in order to maintain permit coverage and authorization to discharge stormwater associated with industrial activities.  Permittees will also need to update their Stormwater Pollution Plan (SWPPP) which contains a regulated facility’s best management practices (BMPs) for preventing industrial activities from polluting stormwater. 

Facilities that are currently exempted from stormwater permitting through a Conditional Exclusion for No Exposure (NEC) are anticipated to be able to maintain their NEC status as the NEC will remain valid until the expiration date identified on the letter from DEC that approved the NEC. 

The renewed MSGP is substantially similar to the existing MSGP, with a few notable changes.  For instance, pursuant to the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and related guidance, the new MSGP contains a requirement for permittees to implement enhanced stormwater control measures for facilities that have a potential to be impacted by future physical climate risks.  Regulated facilities will need to evaluate the potential to be impacted by future physical climate risks due to major storm events, storm surge, seiche, sea-level rise and flood events pursuant to the Community Risk and Resiliency Act (CRRA), 6 NYCRR Part 490, and associated guidance (e.g., “State Flood Risk Management Guidance” (SFRMG) and “Estimating Guideline Elevations”).  The new MSGP specifically identifies enhanced BMPs which these permittees must consider, including but not limited to:

  • Reinforcing interior and exterior material storage structures to withstand flooding; 
  • Delaying delivery of raw materials when a major storm event is expected within 48 hours;
  • Elevating or securing semi-stationary structures to prevent floating;
  • Permanently storing materials and waste above expected flood level;
  • Permanently reducing or eliminating exterior storage; and
  • Relocating company vehicles to higher ground.

Permittees must evaluate these measures and then update their SWPPP to identify which enhanced stormwater control measures were selected for implementation and which were not, along with an explanation as to why certain control measures were not selected, where applicable.

The new MSGP will require the electronic submittal of the NOI and related materials, as well as the Annual Certification Report (ACR) and Discharge Monitoring Reports (NetDMR) through DEC’s nFORM portal.  The new MSGP also clarifies industrial sector requirements for Sectors engaged in dismantling of used motor vehicles for resale of parts (Sector M) and facilities primarily engaged in dismantling of motor vehicles for scrap (Sector N), with separate and specific BMPs and monitoring requirements for each activity.  Finally, other changes include overall organizational and formatting changes, as well as duplicative language removal.

Covered facilities should review the new MSGP and discuss the enhanced BMP climate-related requirements to gain a full understanding of the complexities that may be encountered when addressing any climate-related risks for its covered facility.