The revised US EPA general permit for stormwater discharge from construction sites began effective on February 22, 2017. The revised general permit included an option for a permit waiver for certain projects.
These waivers are only available to stormwater discharges associated with small construction activities (i.e., 1-5 acres). The operator of a small construction activity may be able to qualify for a waiver in lieu of needing to obtain coverage under the general permit based on:
(A) a low rainfall erosivity factor,
(B) a TMDL analysis, or
(C) an equivalent analysis that determines allocations for small construction sites are not needed.
Each operator, unless otherwise needing permit coverage, must notify EPA of its intention for a waiver by submitting a waiver certification. Where the operator changes or another is added during the construction project, the new operator must also submit a waiver certification to be waived.
Waiver certifications are submitted prior to commencement of construction activities. If operators submit a TMDL or equivalent analysis waiver request, the project is not waived until EPA approves the request, and operators are advised not commence construction activities until receipt of approval from EPA. Operators are not prohibited from submitting waiver certifications after initiating clearing, grading, excavation activities, or other construction activities. However, EPA has indicated it reserves the right to take enforcement for any unpermitted discharges that occur between the time construction commenced and waiver authorization is granted.