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Stormwater

Introduction

Environmental regulations can be complicated and overlapping, often proving difficult to identify all requirements that apply to an operation. In each Related Program Index (RPI) this task is simplified by identifying implications one program applicably often has on others. This RPI uses the J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc. broad regulatory knowledge to recommend regulations and compliance programs that may also apply when stormwater discharge permitting regulations (40 CFR 122.26) cover an operation

If stormwater regulations apply, you should also consider ...

Hazardous waste management and storage tanks

Hazardous waste generators, transporters, and treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs) must manage waste in a way that prevents releases that could pose a threat to human health and the environment. If you handle such waste, ensure that:

  • Your facility incorporates waste considerations in your Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP),
  • Central accumulation areas and satellite accumulation areas are situated to minimize or eliminate any risk of stormwater runoff, and
  • Any underground storage tank (UST) or aboveground storage tank (AST) systems on the premises are in compliance with federal and state regulations.

Note that septic tanks and systems for collecting stormwater and wastewater are excluded from UST regulations, and most AST regulations are state-specific. Secondary containment for hazardous waste is a key consideration relating to stormwater. Stormwater infiltration, especially for tanks or other containers that may be at risk for corrosion, should be minimized in the first place through passive secondary containment such as dikes, berms, or ditches. Stormwater is specifically referenced in 264.193e)(1) and 265.193(e)(1), which addresses the use of external tank liners for active secondary containment measures. Specifically, the regulations state that if stormwater infiltration is not controlled, the secondary containment system must have enough additional holding capacity to contain precipitation resulting from a 25-year, 24-hour storm event.

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Pesticides

Pesticide runoff is an environmental and health hazard that can be worsened by stormwater. If your facility manufactures, transports, stores, and/or applies pesticides, be aware of all containment, storage, and disposal requirements on the pesticide labeling to prevent accidental releases or spills that might get swept away by precipitation. As with hazardous waste, secondary containment must be considered for pesticide storage.

The following pesticide application best practices can further help reduce runoff risk due to stormwater:

  • Only apply the pesticide directly to the treatment area.
  • Be mindful of the location of storm drains, drainage ditches, gutters, or surface waters during a pesticide application and apply the product in a way that prevents the pesticide from entering these areas.
  • Apply pesticides during calm weather conditions and when rain is not predicted for the next 24 hours, whenever possible.
  • Rinse application equipment over the treated area to avoid runoff to water bodies or drainage systems.
  • When applying granular products, sweep any product that lands outside of the treated area back onto the treated area.

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Oil pollution prevention

The Oil Pollution Prevention Standard (40 CFR 112) applies to facilities that can reasonably be expected to discharge oil as described in paragraph 112.1(b). As a facility owner or operator, you should consider any man-made structures that may discharge oil pollution into navigable waters in your spill prevention, control, and countermeasure (SPCC) plan, including via stormwater drainage systems. This is true even if the stormwater system leads to a publicly owned treatment work (POTW) — POTWs can fail to contain oil. Note also that while septic tanks and systems for collecting stormwater and wastewater are exempt from UST regulations (as mentioned above), they may be subject to 40 CFR 112 if they contain oil.

Spill diversion ponds and retention ponds are designed for long-term or permanent containment of stormwater, but also capable of capturing and holding oil or runoff and preventing it from entering surface waterbodies. Temporary spill diversion ponds and retention ponds may be constructed as an active containment measure after a discharge is discovered if they can be built in time to prevent the spilled oil from reaching navigable waters and shorelines.

For diked areas serving as secondary containment for bulk storage containers, 112.8(c)(3) and 112.12(c)(3) require that stormwater accumulations be inspected for the presence of oil and that records of the drainage events be maintained. Prior to draining these areas, accumulated oil on the rainwater must be removed and returned to storage or disposed of in accordance with legally approved methods.

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Species protection

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) intends to protect species that are under threat of extinction and promote their recovery. The Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) for stormwater discharges associated with industrial activity spells out endangered species protection procedures required under Part 1.1.4 of the MSGP in Appendix E. These include eligibility criteria related to identification of any listed species or critical habitats local to the industrial activity.

EPA says that if any MSGP-authorized discharges into Waters of the United States appear to have harmed a specimen, nest, and/or eggs of endangered or threatened species, the following must be notified within three days:

  • U.S. EPA at msgpesa@epa.gov
  • National Marine Fisheries Service, Office of Protected Resources at (301) 427-8400
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters Office, Ecological Services at (703) 358-2171

The notification must include the date, time, and precise location of the injured animal, carcass, nest, and/or egg and any other pertinent information (i.e., location and number of any other individuals involved). The plant or animal should be left alone, any circumstances that likely caused the death, injury, or sickness of the specimen should be noted, and photographs taken (if possible).

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CERCLA

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) is intended to establish methods and procedures of response for the immediate cleanup of hazardous waste from accidental spills or from chronic environmental damage, and it interacts with the Clean Water Act (CWA).

Hazardous substances designated under the CWA are incorporated into the CERCLA definition of hazardous substances, and CWA 311 and CERCLA 101 have similar response authorities for responding to discharges of CWA hazardous substances released into U.S. waters. In addition, CERCLA provides response authority for responding to discharges of other hazardous substances, pollutants, and contaminants into the environment. The National Contingency Plan (NCP) at 40 CFR 300, the blueprint for managing responses to releases, governs both CWA and CERCLA responses.

Stormwater runoff may contribute to the release of hazardous substances into the environment from CERCLA sites before, during, and after cleanup. When conducting cleanup at CERCLA sites, you must consider how stormwater drainage, containment, and possible treatment factor into their efforts.

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