The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has proposed major revisions to its industrial stormwater general permits that would impose more stringent requirements on more than 900 businesses in the state. DEQ requests comments on the proposed revisions by June 16, 2011, and will hold public hearings before then.

The proposed revisions affect two National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permits by (i) significantly lowering benchmarks for copper, lead and zinc; (ii) requiring monitoring for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), cadmium, chromium, and nickel; (iii) increasing sampling to include sampling taken after the first rain event following September 1, 2011; (iv) requiring certain industries that do not consistently reach benchmarks to retain a professional engineer or certified engineering geologist to design a stormwater plan and identify best-available technologies to reduce pollutants; and (v) requiring EPA benchmarks for specific sectors, such as metal fabricators, which would have to monitor for nitrates, aluminum and iron.