April 7, 2010
In late March, 2010, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Citizens’ Board adopted a new general permit regulating stormwater discharges from industrial sites across the State of Minnesota. On April 7, 2010 the MPCA issued a press release acknowledging that thousands of businesses across the State may be unaware that their operations are subject to the terms of the permit. http://www.pca.state.mn.us/news/data/newsRelease.cfm?NR=283623&type=2
The general permit, which has statewide effect, will subject a variety of industrial sites to regulation. The determination as to whether permit coverage applies depends upon the type of business that is conducted at a site. Minnesota’s general permit tracks and is generally consistent with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) regulations and permitting process. The EPA and the MPCA use Standard Industrial Code (SIC) classifications to determine which business types are covered by the permit. Thousands of Minnesota businesses may be subject to the regulation. It is possible that an industrial facility may be subject to the general permit, but may be able to obtain a “no exposure” certification. However, a technical and legal review is required to determine if such a certification can be obtained. Industrial facilities that are subject to the general permit may need to upgrade on-site collection facilities, install new facilities (best management practices) and related infrastructure. The terms of the permit also require monitoring of stormwater flows in some instances. The costs of compliance can be significant. Parties that fail to comply with the permit or the requirements may face enforcement action from the MPCA including a demand for payment of civil penalties.
The MPCA’s general industrial stormwater permit was first considered at the MPCA’s February 23, 2010 meeting. After questions were raised related to requirements that would apply to facilities within one mile of a wetland, the matter was tabled. MPCA staff were instructed to revisit that issue and bring the permit back to the MPCA Board for consideration and adoption in March 2010. MPCA staff have developed guidance to assist facilities in determining whether their discharges flow to a wetland.
For more information on the MPCA’s general permit and industrial stormwater discharges please visit the MPCA’s website at: http://www.pca.state.mn.us/water/stormwater/stormwater-i.html.
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The views expressed here are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer, Hessian & McKasy, P.A.
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