EPA is preparing to reissue the Construction General Permit. The general permit, issued under the Clean Water Act’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, authorizes stormwater discharges from construction activities. Learn more about it from the EPA or AGC of America.
ICI partnered with ACEC Indiana to submit the following comments on behalf of the industry:
Comments regarding U.S. EPA’s Draft 2017 General Permit
Offered by: Indiana Constructors, Inc. and American Council of Engineering Companies of Indiana
Date: May 10, 2016
Public Accessibility (Online) of Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) Information
SWPPPs are fluid documents that are modified to accommodate changed conditions, utilities and multi-phase construction. Public access to the initial SWPPP will create issues for taxpayers, owners, designers, and contractors due to costly delays and production interference as owners/operators, designers and contractors will be forced to respond to unsolicited public oversite and scrutiny based off of initial SWPPP documents that do not reflect the current work site conditions.
Public Notice of Permit Coverage
EPA proposes a new requirement that the permittee’s sign/posting (or other public notice) of permit coverage must also include information informing the public on how to contact EPA if storm water pollution is observed in the discharge. There were 1,725 permits open during 2015 in Indiana. We recommend that the EPA remove this proposed requirement due to the potential inquiry backlog that could be generated from posting EPA’s contact information at every permitted site.
More Frequent Site Inspections
We request that EPA provide evidence that substantiates the lower inspection trigger threshold as observations in Indiana do not warrant such a significant increase in inspection frequency. Decreasing the inspection trigger threshold from .5 to .25 inches is a very significant change. For example, in review of two Indiana locations (Plainfield and Ft. Wayne) and their respective daily rainfall measurements between March 15, 2015 and November 15, 2015, the number of rainfall events over .5 inches were 28 (Plainfield) and 17 (Ft. Wayne). The rainfall events over .25 inches were 48 and 36, respectively. If the State of Indiana adopts the .25 inch threshold, contractors would be required to increase inspections by around 90%, using the example locations. To put this in terms of dollars, the cost to project owners and taxpayers, will be in the millions of dollars per year in Indiana.
Numeric Reporting Requirements vs. BMPs
It is critically important to industry that, in the final regulatory text, EPA clearly state that numeric permit requirements are not mandatory. Industry is concerned about proposed modifications to the current regulations at 40 C.F.R. § 122.34 that would delete the word “narrative” as it relates to effluent limitations, and also delete the additional explanatory text that “BMPs are generally the most appropriate form of effluent limits.” Again, we oppose these changes, which directly contradict CWA intent, fall outside the scope of the court’s remand and are improper actions for this rule-making. We request that EPA retain the above-referenced language in the final rule to make clear that effluent limitations may be in the form of non-numeric BMPs.
Construction vs. Real Estate Development Industries
The construction and real estate development industries are separate and distinct from each other; contractors cannot warrant the post-construction performance of storm water controls that others design, operate and maintain. Storm water BMPs are designed and constructed per known conditions. Future performance of properly designed and constructed BMPs and storm water controls systems can be negatively affected by post-construction modifications to on-site and off-site characteristics. Industry is increasingly concerned about scenarios that would burden the contractor with the long-term, legal liability for the performance of permanent storm water controls after the design and/or construction firm leaves the project.
Expanded and Transparent (Online) NOI Reporting
We will be interested in the ease of use of electronic reporting tools and will be motivated to provide feedback on future EPA drafts regarding this topic.
Thank you for considering our comments.
|Beth Bauer, CAE
|Director of Government Affairs
|Indiana Constructors, Inc.
|American Council of Engineering Companies of Indiana
|One N. Capitol Ave., Ste. 1000
|55 Monument Circle, Ste. 819
|Indianapolis, IN 46204
|Indianapolis, IN 46204