Introduction to Stormwater
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created to protect the environment. The EPA enforces regulations based on laws passed by Congress. President Nixon created the EPA by signing an executive order in 1970. In 1972 the Clean Water Act (CWA) was passed by Congress and became Federal Law. The CWA authorizes the creation of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) in each state.
The NPDES is delegated to the State of California and is run by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the nine Regional Water Boards. The Industrial General Permit (IGP) was adopted by the SWRCB on April 1st, 2014 and went into effect on July 1st, 2015. The IGP provides regulations regarding storm water compliance to the industrial business sector. The IGP designates a list of Standard Industrial Classification Codes (SIC Codes) that are subject to the IGP. Industrial businesses in those SIC Codes must apply for a Notice of Intent (NOI) to receive a WDID Number and be permitted under the IGP. The IGP is an NPDES Permit issued by the SWRCB.
NOI, NEC, NONA
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created to protect the environment. The EPA enforces regulations based on laws passed by Congress. Industrial companies that are subject to the IGP must file a Notice of Intent (NOI) with the SWRCB. They must then follow the regulations set forth in the IGP concerning storm water run-off sampling and other storm water compliance rules. These companies would need a Basic or Premium Monitoring Contract from Frog Environmental.
The IGP lists a specific set of SIC Codes that are known as “light industry” companies. These companies do most, or all, of their industrial activity indoors and they can qualify for an exemption from the NOI, by filing a No Exposure Certification (NEC). The NEC allows businesses to be exempt from storm water run-off sampling. These companies would need an NEC Contract from Frog Environmental.
In rare cases, some companies can qualify for the Notice of Non-Applicability (NONA). NONAs are rare and require the signature of a Professional Engineer. Facilities claiming “no discharge” through the NONA must meet one of these very specific eligibility options: (1) Using government climate data to prove there will be no discharge based on the maximum historic precipitation event option, or (2) Proving the facility is cut off from waters of the United States.
Learn More About NOI and NONA
Learn More About NEC
Monitoring, Sampling, and Exceedances
Frog Environmental provides storm water consulting services, including monitoring and sampling, for the industrial companies that are required, under the IGP, to prove that their storm water run-off is under the limits set by the IGP. The IGP mandates that all Permittees under the IGP test for specific parameters. Here is a list of the most common pollutants, also called parameters, that industrial facilities may be required to test for:
TSS – Total Suspended Solids O&G – Oil & Grease pH – Test of pH
Zn – Zinc Pb – Lead Al – Aluminum
Fe – Iron Cu – Copper
To prove that the storm water run-off is under the limit for each of the pollutants, also known as parameters, that the facility is required to test for, the storm water run-off must be sampled. Each facility will have specific sample points where storm water run-off discharges into a drain or into a body of water. When it rains, these points must be sampled by employees of the company that owns the facility, or by Frog Employees if the company purchased a Premium Monitoring Contract and is paying us extra to have our consultants perform the samples. Companies that perform their own sampling have a Basic Monitoring Contract.
The samples are performed using specific guidelines and are put into bottles or jars. Our consultants are experts in collecting the samples of storm water run-off and they train our customers to collect samples using correct procedures. There is a chain of custody to prove what happens to samples between the facility and the lab. The lab tests and analyzes the water samples and determines how much of each pollutant, or parameter, is in each sample.
The IGP sets a Numeric Action Level (NAL) for each parameter. If a sample is under the NAL for all parameters, then the sample is deemed clean and there is no problem. This indicates that the customer is following the correct procedures and keeping the facility pollutant free of excessive pollutants. If the sample exceeds the NAL for any or all parameters, the results are called Exceedances. Water samples are submitted online using the Water Board’s Storm Water Multiple Application and Report Tracking System (SMARTS) Database.
If a facility has too many exceedances, they will eventually be placed into Level 1 Exceedance Response Action (ERA) designation by the Water Board. This means the facility will need to have an evaluation by a Qualified Industrial Storm Water Practitioner (QISP) by October 1st of the storm water year when they were placed into Level 1. By January 1st of that same storm water year they must have a Level 1 ERA Report submitted by a QISP and uploaded to SMARTS.
The 2016-2017 storm water year was the first year that facilities could be placed into Level 1 ERA designation. Level 1 companies who continue to have significant exceedances will be placed into Level 2 ERA designation by the Water Board beginning in the 2017-2018 storm water year.
The IGP calls for possible penalties as high as $37,500 per day for anyone who violates IGP conditions. Fines up to $10,000 and imprisonment are also possible for falsification of compliance records required by the IGP.
Third Party Environmental Groups now pose a more serious threat than ever before. Environmental Lawsuits are filed every day against industrial companies. Because the IGP requires sample results to be uploaded online to the SMARTS database, it creates complete transparency, and allows attorneys to easily access your sample results online. Lawsuits can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.
Best Management Practices (BMPs)
Best Management Practices (BMPs) are actions or products that can be put into place by industrial companies to reduce pollutants in water samples. As part of being permitted under the IGP, facilities must create a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) that shows a map of their facility, their sample points and a list of BMPs that should be used to reduce pollutants. One of the simplest BMPs is sweeping. By ensuring that an employee sweeps up the area near industrial activity several times each day, the pollution in their storm water runoff will be reduced. Other BMPs are products that steer water away from drains, filter water, or remove pollutants from water. The most popular BMPs that Frog sells are Basic BMPs such as wattles, flocculant socks and metal media socks. Frog also has a series of Intermediate BMPs used to remove higher levels of pollutants from storm water run-off. Our Consultants are Experts in BMP usage and deployment. They provide excellent advice on how customers can utilize BMPs to reduce pollutant levels and avoid violations or enforcement.
BMP Case Studies
Regional Water Boards
The Nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards in California. The State Water Resources Control Board has jurisdiction throughout California. Created by the State Legislature in 1967, the Board protects water quality by setting statewide policy, coordinating and supporting the Regional Water Board efforts, and reviewing petitions that contest Regional Board actions. There are nine regional water quality control boards that exercise rulemaking and regulatory activities by basins. This organization is a result of the landmark Porter-Cologne Act. The Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act took effect on January 1, 1970. It combined the State Water Rights Board and the State Water Resources Control Board and created the nine Regional Water Boards.
Industrial permit holders who enter Level 2 Status will be required to implement Advanced BMPs to address pollutants in storm water runoff. If your sample results are exceeding Numeric Action Levels (NALs) by 30% and your facility is at risk of becoming Level 2 Status, a Treatment System may be necessary to reduce exceedances. Implementing treatment on your site now, can help prevent further enforcement action from the State and Regional Water Boards and the threat of lawsuits from Third Party Environmental Groups. For more information about storm water treatment systems, visit www.StormWaterSystems.net.
Industrial Stormwater Permitting
According to the Industrial General Permit (IGP), businesses operating under an Industrial SIC Code are required to obtain coverage under the California Industrial General Permit, in order to discharge storm water. The new IGP requires many dischargers who were previously exempt due to the “Light Industry Exemption”, to now file for one of three levels or coverage; Notice of Intent (NOI), No Exposure Certification (NEC), or a Notice of Non-Applicability (NONA). Frog Environmental can determine what level of coverage your facility needs to be in compliance with the State and Regional Water Boards. For more information on SIC codes that require permit coverage, you can refer to Attachment A.
Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S)
In addition to stormwater compliance, Frog Environmental provides a comprehensive range of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) services. We offer technical solutions for our clients to establish, implement, and maintain EHS compliance management systems in the workplace.
Your safety, sustainability and compliance needs are our priority. Some of our services include; Hazardous Materials Business Plan (HMBP), Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures Plan (SPCC), Slug Discharge Control Plan (SDCP), Trainings, and EHS Audits and Management. For more information click here for a full list of services offered.
Senate Bill 205 & Affected Business Licenses
Senate Bill 205 became effective on January 1, 2020 throughout California. Under SB 205, applicable businesses must show they have enrolled under the NPDES Stormwater Industrial General Permit (IGP) program, in order to obtain or renew its business license. Impacted businesses must show the following information… click here to learn more about Senate Bill 205.