PADEP Issues New General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Construction Activity
On December 7, 2019, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) reissued its NPDES General Permit for Discharges of Stormwater Associated with Construction Activity, replacing the existing General Permit that became effective over two years ago. Coverage under the newly-issued General Permit continues to be required for activities with earth disturbances over the life of the project greater than or equal to one acre. For activities unable to comply with the conditions of the newly-issued General Permit, an individual NPDES permit may be necessary.
Among the changes under the newly-issued General Permit, stormwater discharges to certain impaired waters and waters covered by an EPA approved Total Maximum Daily Load will now require the implementation of non-discharge alternative or Antidegradation Best Available Combination of Technologies (ABACT) best management practices (BMPs). PADEP is also requiring the use of a number of new forms in connection with certain activities, including a standardized form for permit transfers, a form for the addition of new co-permittees, and a form to use for visual site inspections by the permittee. The newly-issued General Permit also requires the permittee to conduct corrective action inspections in response to observed deficiencies with Erosion and Sedimentation and/or Post-Construction Stormwater Management Plan implementation. Corrective action inspections are required in addition to routine inspections (conducted at least weekly) and post-storm event inspections (conducted within 24 hours of each storm event consisting of at least 0.25 inches of rainfall or snowmelt sufficient to cause a discharge).
Existing permittees under the previous General Permit are subject to the terms and conditions of the newly-issued General Permit. Accordingly, permittees under the previous General Permit who determine that they will be unable to comply with the newly-issued General Permit must submit an application for an individual NPDES permit by March 9, 2020. PADEP has requested that existing permittees submit an acknowledgement form indicating whether the permittee will comply with the newly-issued General Permit. Therefore, permittees under the previous General Permit should review the conditions of the newly-issued General Permit to determine whether they need to apply for an individual NPDES permit, or to acknowledge to PADEP that they can comply with the newly-issued General Permit.