California Water Board Finalizes New Water Quality Requirements for Industrial Facility Storm Water Discharges

For the first time in 17 years, industrial facilities in California must contend with a new set of legal requirements controlling storm water.  On April 1, 2014, the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) formally adopted the final draft of the general NPDES permit that regulates storm water discharges associated with industrial activity, known as the “Industrial General Permit.” 

The new Industrial General Permit imposes additional permitting requirements and expands the scope of the Permit to cover new categories of industrial facilities.  Facility and EHS managers should review the new permit and ensure their facilities are on-track to be in compliance when the new Permit becomes effective on July 1, 2015.   Failure to comply with the new Permit could expose facilities to regulatory action by the State Board and the Regional Water Quality Control Boards, or result in a citizen group lawsuit under the Clean Water Act.

As discussed previously by Barg Coffin attorneys here, here, and here,the new Industrial General Permit will impose mandatory best management practices (“BMPs”), require increased sampling and monitoring, and mandate technical reports and action plans if monitoring shows that storm water discharges exceed certain pollutant concentrations. 

According to the State Board, there are over 10,000 California industrial facilities currently enrolled under the previous Industrial General Permit, and each will need to confirm that their operations and practices comply with the new requirements. 

Additionally, for the first time, some facilities not previously subject to regulation will be required to notify the State Board that their industrial activities are not exposed to rain water and will not discharge to storm drains in order to obtain an exemption from the substantive requirements of the Industrial General Permit.

Additional information is available on the State Board website.