Stormwater runoff occurs naturally from rainfall or snow storms, which flows over any land surface and does not percolate into the ground. However, human activities such as construction work, and urbanization can change the natural flow pattern and can add pollutants to the runoff water which is entering lakes, streams and coastal water bodies. Recent studies have shown that stormwater runoff is a main source of pollutants which includes petroleum products, fertilizer from lawns and gardens, bacteria from human waste, and debris from construction sites that affects many of the water bodies around the country.Water gushing from a stormwater drain or culvert with powerful force as it flows into a rock line drainage canal or waterway

To prevent this, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) developed a Federal Program under the Clean Water Act known as stormwater discharge permitting under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). However, to address stormwater discharge in New York, the State created the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) program to maintain the highest quality of water and surrounding water bodies. US EPA approved NY’s SPDES program in line with the Clean Water Act to maintain wastewater and stormwater discharges. To specifically address stormwater discharge from industrial sites and construction sites, the SPDES program created a Multi-Sector General Permit for stormwater discharges associated with industrial activity and a General Permit for stormwater discharges from construction activity. Individual permits are required for sites that do not qualify for a general permit.

Any discharge of stormwater runoff from construction sites which disturbs 1 or more acres of land must be covered by a stormwater permit. SPDES program also requires filing and developing a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) under the SPDES permit. Additionally, owner/operators are required to have a qualified professional perform inspection on-site for some projects, in order to be in compliance with the SWPPP under the SPDES permit.

Likewise, to be authorized to discharge under a Multi-Sector General permit (MSGP) for stormwater discharge associated with industrial activity, a facility must have stormwater discharge impacted by industrial activities. All facilities that have obtained coverage under MSGP must conform to the general requirements incorporated in Parts I through VII of the permit.

Facilities that do not qualify under a general permit, might need to obtain an individual permit. An individual permit is written to meet the specific needs of the facility. To obtain an individual permit, an applicant must submit a form that defines their activities in detail.

Walden has qualified professional SWPPP preparers and inspectors who can help guide you through this process. If your construction or industrial site is close to a water body, then you might need to check to see if it’s required to develop a SWPPP under a SPDES permit. To learn more about inspection requirements or to develop and implement a SWPPP plan, please call Walden at 516-624-7200.