The law prohibits industrial facilities from discharging pollutants into the waterways of the State of Alabama without a valid permit. General discharge permits for certain industries are set to expire September 30, 2012. Accordingly, ADEM is proposing to reissue permits related to discharges from, among other industries, the transportation and warehousing industries; the boat and shipbuilding/repair industry; and the metals industry, with the new permits taking effect on October 1. Companies and facilities that currently have these permits must notify ADEM that they wish to operate under a general permit and must provide a complete application, not the General Permit Renewal Form.

Permits up for reissuance include ALG140000, which regulates discharges from transportation industries and warehousing. This includes storm water, non-contact cooling water, cooling tower blowdown, boiler blowdown, demineralizer wastewater, vehicle and equipment wash water, and storm water from petroleum storage and handling and equipment storage and maintenance areas.

Likewise, ALG030000 is set to expire September 30. It regulates discharges associated with the boat and shipbuilding and repair industries, including discharges from the building and repair of offshore oil and gas well drilling and production platforms. Regulated discharges include storm water, non-contact cooling water, boiler blowdown, condensate, treated sanitary wastewater, bilge/ballast water, wash water, hydrostatic and pressure test water, hydroblast water, excluding wet abrasive blast water, and storm water from petroleum storage and handling areas.

ALG120000, which also expires, regulates discharges from primary metals, metal finishing, fabricated metal products, industrial commercial machinery, electronic equipment, measuring and analyzing instruments, and foundries. This includes storm water, hydrostatic test water from new containers, non-contact cooling water, cooling tower blowdown, boiler blowdown, demineralizer wastewater, vehicle and equipment exterior wash water, and storm water from petroleum storage and handling equipment storage and maintenance areas.

All three general permits pertain to discharges into the “waters of the State of Alabama,” except for discharges into an outstanding national resource water, an outstanding Alabama water, or a treasured Alabama Lake. Simply because a facility is not located immediately adjacent to, or otherwise near, a body of water, though, does not exempt it from a permit requirement.

While the draft permits do not contain drastic changes to the existing permits, anyone who is currently operating under a permit, or will be subject to a permit in the near term, should review the permit drafts available from ADEM and should submit a notice of intent/application. Anyone may comment on the draft permits until August 26, and ADEM will accept written requests for a public hearing until then as well. ADEM will then hold a public hearing on the reissuance of the permits if the director determines there is a significant degree of public interest in the permit application or draft permit.

Please be aware that, as indicated on ADEM’s website, NPDES General Permits for the following industries are also set to expire September 30, 2012: asphalt, paint, salvage/recycling, plastic and rubber, stone/glass/clay, textile, and hydrostatic test.

The members of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP’s Environmental Practice Group are available to assist if you have questions about whether your facility is subject to any of the ADEM permitting requirements.