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Understanding the EPA 2022 Construction General Permit

Know what you need to do to comply with the EPA's Construction General Permit (CGP)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reissued the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) for stormwater discharges

from construction sites that disturb 1 acre or more of land.

As a new construction operator,

it is essential to understand the requirements and procedures outlined

in the CGP to properly manage stormwater runoff and avoid permit violations.

Who Needs a CGP?

The CGP applies to “operators” – parties associated with a construction project that have control over the site plans/specifications or day-to-day activities.

This typically includes the owner of the site and the general contractor, but not subcontractors.

Both “new sites” where construction commences on or after February 17, 2022 and “existing sites” already covered under the prior 2017 CGP need to obtain new coverage under the updated 2022 CGP.

Submitting a Notice of Intent To obtain CGP coverage

NOI Submission:

Operators must use EPA’s NPDES eReporting Tool (NeT) to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) at least 14 days before starting new projects.

For ongoing sites, the NOI includes critical information like site details and certifications for endangered species and historical preservation.

SWPPP First:

Create a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) before submitting your NOI.

swppp first

What’s Allowed:

The Construction General Permit (CGP) allows for specific types of stormwater and non-stormwater discharges under certain conditions.

These include construction activities that disturb one or more acres. Other permits don’t apply here.

What’s Not Allowed:

The CGP bans several discharge types unless properly managed. This includes waste from washouts, spills, leaks, and various construction activities.

non-stormwater discharges under certain conditions.

Effluent Limits:

The CGP sets standards for stormwater controls. These include sediment controls, stabilization requirements, and pollution prevention strategies.

Inspection Protocol:

Inspect your site at least every 7 or 14 days.

Qualified personnel should conduct these inspections and document findings. Corrective actions must follow if issues arise, with timelines depending on the problem’s severity.

Additional Rules:

Sensitive Waters:
If your site discharges into sensitive or high-quality waters, expect more frequent inspections.

Turbidity Benchmark:
For dewatering discharges into sensitive waters, a 50 NTU limit applies. SWPPP updates and record-keeping are mandatory.

Public Notice:
You must post a public notice of your permit coverage at your site’s entrance.

To end your permit coverage, submit a Notice of Termination (NOT) within 30 days after meeting Part 8.2 requirements of the CGP.

Stay on top of these additional conditions to remain compliant.

State, Tribal, and Territorial Requirements

State and Territorial Requirements

EPA’s 2022 CGP includes specific conditions for different states, and territories in Parts 9 and 10. Here’s what you need to know:

State-Specific Rules:

  • Submit NOI, NOT, and SWPPP to local authorities before going to EPA.
  • Follow local erosion and sediment controls.
  • Local rules on construction dewatering and discharge apply.

General Requirements:

  • Comply with any state or regional rules that differ from or add to the CGP.
  • Follow local laws on erosion control and waste treatment.
  • Align with total maximum daily load (TMDL) limits if applicable.

Understanding and following these localized conditions ensures full compliance with the latest permit regulations.

Proper planning and documentation are key to meeting effluent limits and avoiding unauthorized discharges.

Follow local erosion and sediment controls.
What’s the difference between Construction General Permit and TXR150000 and SWPPP?

The CGP is a national EPA permit that covers stormwater discharges from construction sites disturbing 1 acre or more across the country.
It contains general requirements for erosion controls, stabilization, inspections, and more.

The TXR150000 is a similar construction stormwater permit,
but it is issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality specifically for sites in Texas.
The TXR150000 incorporates the CGP by reference but also includes Texas-specific provisions

The SWPPP is not a permit, but rather a site-specific plan that construction operators must develop and implement to show how they will comply with the requirements in the CGP or TXR150000 permit.

The SWPPP details the stormwater controls, inspections, documentation, and other procedures for a particular project.
Some key differences between the EPA CGP and the Texas TXR150000 permit include:
The CGP covers sites disturbing 1+ acres, while TXR150000 covers 5+ acres (TX has a separate permit for small construction sites).

TXR150000 has additional requirements for temporary stabilization, concrete washouts, and surface outlets from sediment basins.

The inspection frequency differs slightly – TXR150000 requires inspections at least once every 14 days and within 24 hours of a 0.5 inch rain event.
TXR150000 does not allow for reduced inspection frequencies based on seasonality like the CGP does.

The TXR150000 contains TX-specific provisions for protecting endangered species, developing the SWPPP, and complying with additional state/local requirements.

The SWPPP is not a permit itself but is required by the CGP and TXR150000.

It contains all the site-specific documentation on how the operator will manage stormwater runoff in compliance with the permit conditions. The SWPPP must be kept on site for inspector review.

So in summary, the CGP and TXR150000 are very similar construction stormwater permits at the national vs. state level, while the SWPPP details how an individual operator will comply on their specific site. All three work together to regulate stormwater for construction.

What exactly qualifies as a “small” vs. “large” construction site under the permit? What if my project disturbance is under 1 acre?

The permit covers sites that will disturb 1 or more acres of land, or will disturb less than 1 acre but are part of a common plan of development that exceeds 1 acre.
Sites with less than 1 acre of total land disturbance may be able to qualify for a waiver from permit coverage depending on state requirements.

When exactly do I have to submit my Notice of Intent to get permit coverage – can I wait until just before breaking ground?

For new construction sites, you must submit the Notice of Intent (NOI) at least 14 calendar days before starting any construction activities that disturb land.
You cannot begin construction until you have permit coverage.

I’m taking over a project from another operator – do I need to submit a new Notice of Intent?

Yes, when there is a change in the operator, the new operator must submit a new NOI. The prior operator must also submit a Notice of Termination once you have obtained permit coverage.

How detailed does my Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan need to be? Can I just copy a template or are site-specific details required?

The SWPPP must be developed site-specifically to address the conditions and stormwater controls needed for your particular project site.
Generic template SWPPPs without the required details would not comply with the permit.

What are the most important stormwater and erosion controls I need to focus on installing first?

Perimeter controls like silt fences to prevent sediment discharge from the site and storm drain inlet protection measures should be installed as a priority before major earth disturbance begins.

How often do I really need to inspect my site if it’s just bare ground without much activity?

At a minimum, inspections are required either every 7 or 14 days depending on your site size. You must conduct inspections even if there is minimal activity at the site.

When does the permit require me to start final stabilization? Do I have to fully re-vegetate the site?

Stabilization must be initiated immediately where construction has permanently ceased or will be temporarily inactive for 14+ days.
Final stabilization meeting 70% vegetative cover or equivalent measures must be completed within certain deadlines.

What happens if it rains and a sediment control fails – is that automatically a permit violation?

It is not automatically a permit violation, but you must conduct any needed repairs or maintenance by the close of the next business day after discovering the issue.

If I’m the subcontractor, not the general contractor, do any parts of the permit apply to me?

Typically subcontractors are not considered operators under the permit.
However, all parties associated with the construction site are responsible for compliance with any permit conditions related to their scope of work.

What kind of water sampling or monitoring do I have to do during construction?

The permit requires turbidity monitoring during construction dewatering activities that discharge to sensitive waters.
Some state or regional requirements may necessitate additional monitoring.

Are there any extra requirements if I’m building near a waterbody or certain type of land?

Yes, additional controls, inspections, and/or stabilization deadlines may be required if you discharge to impaired waters or highly protected Tier 2/2.5/3 waters.
There may also be setback requirements.

How soon can I terminate permit coverage after completing my project?

You must submit a Notice of Termination within 30 calendar days of meeting the conditions for termination outlined in Part 8.2 of the permit.

What records do I need to keep and for how long after the permit terminates?

Permit records including the SWPPP, inspection reports, monitoring data, NOI, and NOT must be kept for at least 3 years after coverage ends.

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