The Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources must reissue National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits every five years. The previous general permit for industrial storm water discharges was issued in 2006 and expired in 2011. Facilities covered by the 2006 permit must file an application for a notice of intent by June 30 if they wish to continue to be covered by the 2012 general permit. This permit applies to industrial and industrial-like facilities, including manufacturing, transportation & logistics, waste treatment and disposal, airports, and water transportation facilities. It divides industrial activities into different sectors, which have specific requirements. All facilities are separated into primary sectors, but they may also fall under one or more collocated sectors. If that is the case, the facility must satisfy the permit’s requirements for the primary sector, as well as for any collocated sectors.
Sector-specific requirements include limits on types of discharges, inspection requirements, and additional Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) requirements, among others. Covered facilities should examine the new permit to ensure compliance with any new restrictions or requirements for their sections. Certain monitoring requirements apply to all or most permittees. All permittees must conduct a quarterly visual inspection of discharge samples and most must also conduct a laboratory analysis of discharge samples annually, the results of which must be reported to the Environmental Protection Division. Under the 2012 general permit, facilities that discharge to an impaired body of water must now conduct laboratory analysis twice a quarter, instead of once a year. It is important to remember that facilities must update their SWPPPs to address the new requirements of the 2012 permit.