The Clean Water Act (“CWA”) requires municipal separate storm systems, construction and industrial activities to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) stormwater permit. Stormwater is rain or snowmelt that flows over the land and impervious surfaces (e.g., parking lots and rooftops) of your property. The stormwater picks up pollutants as it moves, such as oil drips on a parking lot, and carry them to a surface water resource, such as a stream. The NPDES stormwater permit program is designed to prevent stormwater runoff from washing harmful pollutants into local surface waters. In 47 of 50 states, the administration of the NPDES program has been delegated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) to the state.

One of the many areas regulated by the NPDES stormwater program are those portions of transportation facilities (Standard Industrial Classifications 40, 41, 42 (except 4221–25), 43, 44, 45) that are either involved in vehicle maintenance (e.g., repair, painting, fueling), equipment cleaning operations, storage, or loading and unloading. Excluded are areas located on property separate from the industrial activities, such as office buildings and accompanying parking lots if the drainage from the excluded areas is not mixed with storm water drained from the above described areas.

If your facility is eligible for a general permit (rather than needing a site-specific permit), the application process is simply filing a Notice of Intent (NOI) to be covered. In addition to filing the NOI, the process requires, among other things, development, annual training on, and implementation of a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan, quarterly visual assessments, and filing an annual report.

For businesses without an environmental compliance manager, it may be desirable to outsource these obligations.