Water Quality Permitting and Compliance

Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP)

Water quality standards (WQS) serve to protect the public health or welfare and also enhance the quality of water. WQS are legally defined as “the limits or levels of water quality constitutes or characteristics which are established for the reasonable protection of beneficial uses of water or the prevention of nuisance with a specific area.”

Federal stormwater regulations require industrial facilities included in one of the following categories to acquire an NPDES stormwater permit:

What Requires a Permit
  • Manufacturing 
  • Mineral, metal, oil, and gas
  • Hazardous waste treatment or disposal facilities 
  • Landfills
  • Recycling facilities
  • Organization electric plants
  • Transportation facilities
  • Treatment works
  • Construction activities
  • Light industrial activity

Regulated facilities are required to obtain permits, prepare Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPPs), comply with effluent limitations, conduct training, sample stormwater discharges and report information to the EPA. 

 

The Clean Water Act does not allow discharge of pollutants into ‘Waters of the United States’ unless an NPDES permit is held. The permit will outline what can be discharged, and also monitor reporting requirements, to ensure that the substance that is discharged does not harm the quality of the water or health of individuals. 

 

The Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act builds upon the Federal Clean Water Act by giving the State Water Resources Control Board broad authority to protect “Waters of the State.’ Waters of the State include surface water, groundwater, and wetlands.

California businesses are regulated by the stormwater Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and are required to perform water sampling and file an annual stormwater report. Our organization has helped numerous business comply with this requirement. The following businesses must closely comply with this requirement:

Compliance
  • Manufacturing Facilities
  • Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage, or Disposal Facilities
  • Landfills, Land Application Sites, and Open Dumps
  • Recycling Facilities (salvage yards, metal scrap yards, vehicle dismantlers)
  • Transportation Facilities (airports, vehicle maintenance shops, equipment cleaning operations)
  • Sewage or Wastewater Treatment Works

The Consequences

Administrative and/or civil penalties may be issued up to $70,000 per day per violation if a facility violates the outlined conditions, standards, and time schedules. Our organization will help you to better understand these fines and ensure that your business does not have to pay them.

Level 1 and Level 2 Status – ERA (Exceedance Response Action)

Additional requirements may be assigned to a facility that has been given level 1 status due to an annual NAL exceedance or two exceedances. This includes:

    • Facility oversight by a Qualified Industrial Stormwater Practitioner (QISP)
    • Implementation of additional BMPs to address pollutants in stormwater runoff
    • A Level 1 ERA Report submitted online via the SMARTS database
Industrial_707x418-min

A facility with level 1 status can quickly be given level 2 status if just one bad sample result is given in the upcoming stormwater year. If a business is given level 2 status, a level 2 action ERA plan needs to be put together by a QISP and submitted to the SMARTS database by January 1st of the stormwater year following the exceedance. 

Advanced BMPs will be required and stormwater treatment may be necessary to reduce exceedances below NAL levels. The Level 2 Discharger will also be required to submit a Level 2 Technical report prepared by a QISP, and then also submitted via the SMARTS database.

Facilities must comply with the industrial general permit to avoid lawsuits and penalties.

Ready To Assess Your Environmental Compliance Needs?