The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Industrial Activity (PAG-03) expired on December 5, 2015.
The Department published a draft revised permit on October 18, 2015. The PAG-03 General Permit is intended to provide NPDES permit coverage to facilities discharging stormwater associated with industrial activity to waters of the Commonwealth that are not considered High Quality or Exceptional Value. If a facility is not eligible for coverage under the PAG-03 General Permit because it is located in a High Quality or Exceptional Value watershed, it may apply for an individual NPDES permit.
The draft PAG-03 General Permit included some significant changes in comparison to the expired permit:
- The revised General Permit is consistent with the EPA National Multisector General Permit (MSGP) for stormwater associated with industrial activity, which was reissued in 2015.
- The Department proposed the addition of nine appendices to PAG-03, which had been consolidated in the expired version of the permit. An appendix prescribes the sector-specific monitoring and best management practice requirements for permittees.
- DEP proposed new eligibility criteria in the draft PAG-03. The Department may deny coverage under the General Permit for stormwater discharges to impaired waters where the discharges contain or are expected to contain parameters that have the potential to cause or contribute to the impairment, regardless of whether a Total Maximum Daily Load has been developed and approved for those impaired waters.
- Benchmark concentrations for certain pollutants were proposed in the draft PAG-03. Two consecutive benchmark exceedances would trigger the need to develop and submit a corrective action plan to the Department and implement corrective measures to ensure no additional benchmark exceedances. Monitoring frequency has been standardized for all permittees to once every 6 months.
- All permittees will need to conduct quarterly visual inspections of areas and activities exposed or potentially exposed to precipitation, and submit a summary of inspection findings in an annual report due by May 1 each year.
- All permittees would be required to submit an annual report due on May 1 that would also serve as the ongoing notice of intent to continue operating under PAG-03.
Facilities seeking new or reissued No Exposure Certification approvals from the Department would need to complete and submit the PAG-03 Notice of Intent (NOI) which must be renewed every five years. In general, all industrial materials and activities must be stored and conducted indoors or under roof for a facility to qualify for No Exposure Certification. The No Exposure Certification alternative is not available to facilities in High Quality or Exceptional Value watersheds.
As of February 29, 2016, the draft general permit had not been finalized.
Caltha LLP provides technical support to industrial facilities located in Pennsylvania to obtain coverage under the General Permit and to assist in development of compliance programs.