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Kentucky Division of Water Issues Revised Draft KPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Industrial Activity for Public Comment

03.18.2013

As reported in the November/December 2012 issue of the Environmental Letter, DOW agreed, in response to comments of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and other manufacturing interest groups, to revise the initial Draft General KPDES Permit for stormwater discharges associated with industrial activity to remove the first-time numeric effluent limitations on total suspended solids and oil and grease, and to revise certain non-numeric effluent limitation requirements that were considered overly burdensome.  On March 1, 2013, the revised Draft General Permit and Fact Sheet for KYR00 was released for public notice and a new opportunity to comment for 30 days.

The revised Draft KPDES Permit establishes monitoring only requirements for TSS, oil and grease, and pH.  The monitoring frequency is twice per year.  The non-numeric requirements, which include an obligation to prepare a stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP), are substantially more stringent than the non-numeric requirements that existed under the prior version of KYR00, but are less stringent than those proposed in the last version of the Draft Permit that was issued for public comment on September 13, 2012.  However, DOW has retained certain language in the non-numeric requirements that is vague and could be broadly construed by inspectors.  Examples would be requirements for the operator to keep exposed areas “clean and well maintained” and to utilize inspections, testing, maintenance and repair of equipment to “avoid” leaks.  An example of an overly burdensome and unnecessary requirement is a new obligation for all facilities subject to the Permit to maintain a daily precipitation log.  Omissions in any daily precipitation log would arguably be a violation of the Permit.

Another concern is the scope of Section 4.2 that relates to new or expanded discharges.  On its face, this Section would apply to every new or expanded facility that requires coverage under the Draft Permit.  Among others, this Section requires natural vegetative buffers to be maintained between the activity and the receiving waters, control of two-year, 24-hour storm events, and utilization of storm resistant covers to reduce areas of exposure.  While Section 4.2 includes a provision that allows for “implementation of adequately protective alternate practices” it is unclear how that provision would be implemented, evaluated, or approved.  Most importantly, this Section appears to apply to all waters of the Commonwealth, even though it is expressly stated to be included to address antidegradation requirements that would apply to high quality and exceptional waters.  No information is included to support broad application of this Section to other waters.

The public comment period on the Draft General Permit ends March 31.  Note that the potential exists for the same types of requirements to be applied going forward in individual KPDES Permits for stormwater runoff associated with industrial activity.  Therefore, it is important that all facilities with stormwater runoff associated with industrial activities review and comment on the revised Draft KPDES Permit to increase the likelihood that additional clarifications will be made to reduce enforcement risks and unnecessary burdens.

To view a complete PDF of the January/February 2013 issue of the Environmental Letter, click HERE.

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