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Industrial General Permit Amendment to Incorporate Total Maximum Daily Load Implementation

By January 5, 2018 March 11th, 2019 No Comments
The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) has proposed an amendment to the Statewide Industrial General Storm Water Permit.  To publicize the proposed amendment and receive public comment, the SWRCB conducted workshops followed by discussion sessions in Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Diego in December.  This blog post is a summary of the workshop organized by the SWRCB at the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (LARWQCB) office on December 21, 2017.
In 2014, the SWRCB began to regulate storm water discharges associated with industrial activities (the General Permit).  The SWRCB is proposing an amendment to incorporate Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirements to implement existing TMDLs adopted by the regional boards of San Francisco Bay, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, and San Diego.
The amendment proposes to address the following:
  1. Requirements to implement TMDLs included in Attachment E of the General Permit,
  2. Updates to the monitoring requirements for compliance with the 2014 federal Sufficiently Sensitive Methods Rule, and
  3. Addition of statewide compliance options to incentivize storm water capture and regional collaboration, as appropriate.
The federal Clean Water Act requires this General Permit to implement applicable TMDLs that have assigned a Waste Load Allocation to industrial dischargers and assign additional limits to the pollutants. TMDLs are the maximum amount of a specific pollutant that the waterbody (e.g. river, lake, stream) can receive while meeting water quality standards. The TMDLs are therefore proposed to be implemented into this General Permit to address the sources of waterbody impairment.  A Waste Load Allocation is a concentration-based target with a point of compliance located in a receiving water body and not at a point of discharge from a facility.
Numerous water bodies under the jurisdiction of the San Francisco Bay, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, and San Diego Regional boards have been designated as impaired by various pollutants.  These pollutants include bacteria, metals, sediment, organic compounds, trash, nitrogen, phosphorus, among others (see the complete list here).  If a TDML applies to any sites that discharge into these water bodies, the industrial SWPPP for the dischargers must be revised.
Also in 2014, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgated the new Use of Sufficiently Sensitive Test Methods for Permit Applications and Reporting Rule.  The new rule requires permitees to use “sufficiently sensitive” analytical test methods for the analyses of regulated pollutants.  The proposed amendment includes revised monitoring and reporting requirements for industrial storm water sampling.
According to the proposed amendment, dischargers must comply with the Numeric Action Limits (NALs) and the TMDL-specific requirements (Numeric Action Level or Numeric Effluent Limitation).   Dischargers would be required to sample discharge quarterly to determine if the TMDL has been exceeded for any one year.
All reporting activities will be uploaded to the Storm Water Multiple Application and Report Tracking System (SMARTS).  SMARTS will not calculate exceedances of TNAL/NEL; these must be calculated by the discharger.
There are two options that dischargers may use to demonstrate compliance with the proposed amendment:
  1. Onsite compliance: BMPs are installed to capture industrial storm water and used onsite. The design and installation of a structural BMP requires a California licensed engineer. Furthermore, the influent into any infiltration BMP must be sampled and demonstrated to meet Maximum Contamination Levels.
  2. Offsite compliance: the discharger enters an agreement with the municipality with existing storm water retention BMPs. Many municipalities have entered agreements with their regional water boards. Dischargers within the municipality may be able to participate in a watershed-based compliance program.
The State Water Board is accepting written public comments regarding this proposed amendment. Written comment letters must be received no later than 12:00 p.m. noon on January 31, 2018. Written comments must be addressed to: Jeanine Townsend, Clerk to the Board State Water Resources Control Board P.O. Box 100, Sacramento, CA 95812-2000 (mail) 1001 I Street, 24th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814 (hand-delivery) Comment letters may be submitted electronically, in pdf text format, to the Clerk to the Board via e-mail at commentletters@waterboards.ca.gov.
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