The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is in the process of renewing its General Permit to Discharge under the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit, Permit No. TXR150000, issued on February 19, 2013 and effective on March 5, 2013, which authorizes discharges from construction sites into surface water in the state. The new permit will go into effect March 5, 2018 and will expire five years from the effective date.

Developers and other parties that currently hold an authorization to discharge stormwater under the existing permit will want to take note of the provisions in the new permit for obtaining renewed authorization to discharge; for large construction activities:

Operators of large construction activities continuing to operate after the effective date of this permit, and authorized under TPDES general permit TXR150000 (effective on March 5, 2013), must submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to renew authorization or a Notice of Termination (NOT) to terminate coverage under this general permit within 90 days of the effective date of this general permit. During this interim period, as a requirement of this TPDES permit, the operator must continue to meet the conditions and requirements of the 2013 TPDES general permit.

Discharges from small construction activities must similarly meet the requirements to be authorized under the new permit.

Thus, to continue coverage under the permit, operators of large construction activities have 90 days after March 5, 2018 to submit a NOI to TCEQ. And, while awaiting an authorization from TCEQ under the new permit, operators should ensure compliance with the old permit. Operators should not try to submit an NOI prior to March 5, per TCEQ.

The principal changes to the existing permit are as follows:

  • The new permit will add the requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Final National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Electronic Reporting Rule, which requires that all Notices of Intent (NOI), Notices of Termination (NOT), and Low Rainfall Erosivity Waivers (LREW) must be filed electronically. TCEQ will require electronic submittal of all NOIs, NOTs, and LREWs as of September 1, 2018.
  • The new permit will add the amended 2014 and 2015 federal Effluent Limitation Guidelines (ELGs).
  • The new permit will revise the benchmark monitoring level for Total Suspended Solids (TSS) from 100 milligrams per Liter (mg/L) to 50 mg/L in discharges of stormwater from concrete batch-mixing plants covered under the permit. This change is consistent with the benchmark monitoring level for TSS that is required for concrete manufacturers and ready-mix concrete plants in the 2016 Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) TXR050000.
  • The new permit contains revised language for the Impaired Receiving Waters and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Requirements to include reference to the Texas Integrated Report of Surface Water Quality.

TCEQ’s renewal of the permit could have significant implications for operators of construction activities, but operators can limit those implications by ensuring that they are taking the required steps to renew their permit authorizations.