In Georgia, any land disturbance of one acre or more must obtain a permit for stormwater discharges from the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) before construction begins. Projects where the disturbed area is less than 50 acres are eligible for a general permit, which can be obtained by filing a Notice of Intent (NOI) with EPD 14 days prior to commencing construction. Most property developers prefer a general permit to an individual permit because they are quicker to obtain and the requirements are already determined. Georgia’s general permits for construction stormwater discharges expire by their terms at midnight on July 31, 2013.
The three existing general permits for stormwater discharges associated with construction activities are GAR 100001 for Stand-Alone Projects, GAR 100002 for Infrastructure Projects and GAR 100003 for Common Development Projects (the 2008 Permits). EPD has just released drafts of the proposed replacement permits, but they will not be reissued until a public notice and comment period has been completed and EPD finalizes the permit terms and conditions. EPD will hold a public hearing on August 30, 2013, which will be immediately followed by a public meeting. Interested parties are also invited to submit public comments to EPD by August 30.
Those construction projects that had not yet filed an NOI under the 2008 Permits before they expired would normally be prohibited from beginning work until the new general permits are reissued. New owners of projects where construction is ongoing, including lenders acquiring properties following foreclosure, who had not timely filed an NOI following the transfer in title might also have to stop work until reissuance. However, EPD recently released a No Action Assurance on July 26, 2013, which will allow new projects to begin work and new owners to continue activity by filing an NOI under a 2008 Permit. Authorization under the No Action Assurance is conditioned on compliance with the terms and conditions of a 2008 Permit.
Any projects currently undergoing construction that had already obtained authorization may continue under the terms of the existing 2008 Permits until reissuance. The owner or operator of a construction site must file a new NOI within 90 days of the effective date of the new permit, which will not be until at least August 31, 2013.