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Public Comment Period Ends April 30 for Draft 2015 Industrial Stormwater Multi-Sector General Permit

MPCAThe public comment period for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's (MPCA) draft 2015 Industrial Stormwater Multi-Sector General Permit will close on April 30, 2014. The MPCA is updating the permit to be in compliance with federal rule changes, as well as clarify existing language, better align with the municipal stormwater program, address exceedances, and incorporate changes needed to enhance compliance with the permit. The updated draft permit will become effective the same day the current rule expires, April 5, 2015, and be valid for five years.

Changes to the MPCA's Industrial Stormwater Multi-Sector General Permit include: 

Streamlining sampling requirements: All permittees who apply during one cycle or calendar quarter will start sampling during the following calendar quarter. For example, the tentative timeline for receiving applications is between July and October 2014. Permittees who apply between July and October 2014 would conduct a year of quarterly sampling starting July 1, 2015. The MPCA has not finalized the actual timeline.

Requiring four samples before averaging: Based on the review of sampling data received from current permittees and attempting to streamline Minnesota’s permit with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) permit, it is proposed to require a minimum of four samples, collected over four separate quarters, before averages will be calculated and compared with the permit’s benchmark value(s). It is acceptable if it takes more than four quarters to get four samples because samples couldn’t be collected due to drought or frozen conditions, or there were no offsite discharges (legitimate “no flow” explanations).

Quarterly sampling until under benchmark values: To maintain consistency with USEPA’s permit and other MPCA water quality sampling requirements, it is proposed that permittees with exceedances will continue sampling quarterly until four quarters of averaged results are below the benchmark value.

Sampling parameters:  Review and modify, if necessary, monitoring of pollutant parameters, benchmark values based on USEPA’s suggested changes, and Minnesota water quality standards.

Technical changes require a new monitoring calendar: Any change that is not truly administrative in nature, such as changing a Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code or Narrative Activity, monitoring location, or discharge to a water body, will trigger a permittee’s monitoring calendar to “start over” for all monitoring locations and all pollutant parameters.

Limitations on infiltration:  The construction of a new infiltration device is prohibited in:

      • Areas that receive discharges from vehicle fueling and maintenance activity.
      • Areas with less than three feet of separation distance from the bottom of the infiltration device to the elevation of the seasonally saturated soils or the top of bedrock.
      • Areas of predominately Hydrologic Soil Group D (clay) soils unless allowed by a local unit of government with a current MS4 permit.
      • Areas where soil infiltration rates are more than 8.3 inches per hour unless soils are amended to slow the infiltration rate below 8.3 inches per hour or as allowed by a local unit of government with a current MS4 permit.

No Exposure:  Adds clarifying “No Exposure” questions or examples on the application.

The MPCA is expected to approve the draft permit in July 2014 after the public comments have been considered and any changes are made. After it is approved, permittees may begin to apply for coverage. The MPCA must allow permittees to apply 180 days before April 5, 2015, the current permit's expiration date which is also the new permit's start date. Sampling requirements are projected to begin on a quarterly basis as of July 1, 2015. 

Click here to view the MPCA's draft 2015 Industrial Stormwater Multi-Sector General Permit. Written comments should be submitted by 4:30 p.m. on April 30 to Melissa Wenzel, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road N., Saint Paul, MN 55155-4194, or fax them to 651-296-8717.




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