Do I Stay or Do I Go Now? How to Navigate the No Exposure Certification
The adoption of the new Industrial General Permit presents significant challenges to both current permit holders and industries previously exempt under the light industrial category but now must file for coverage. The new permit becomes effective on July 1, 2015. Existing dischargers with coverage under the old permit must register for Notice of Intent (NOI) for coverage by July 1, 2015 or file No Exposure Certification (NEC) by October 1, 2015. This presentation provides relevant information for industrial facilities that may consider filing for either a NOI for coverage or conditional exclusion through the NEC. Facility owners/operators need to consider which option is right for their facility. Facilities opting for the NOI route will be required to submit permit registration documents, develop a storm water pollution prevention plan (SWPPP), conduct monitoring and inspections, submit annual reports, and pay an annual fee. Facilities filing NECs will be required to register the NEC, conduct an annual inspection, and pay an annual fee, but are exempt from the SWPPP and monitoring requirements. Additionally, facilities can claim “no discharge” through the Notice of Non-Applicability provided they file a No Discharge Technical Report. The NEC is applicable to facilities that can certify they have discharges solely composed of storm water that has not been exposed to industrial activity. This is a significant statement and both the NEC and NONAs are subject to review and approval or rejection from the Regional Water Quality Control Board. Should they be rejected, a discharger would be required to obtain NOI coverage. All dischargers should recognize that under the standard conditions of the permit that dischargers must allow the Water Boards, U.S. EPA, and local MS4 Agencies access to their facilities for inspection, review of Permit documents, and the ability to sample runoff for ensuring permit compliance. Additionally, the risk of future facility audits under both types of coverage is heightened for facilities discharging to watersheds with Section 303(d) listed waters or Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) as these areas are being prioritized under newly update Phase I permits. These topics will be discussed by comparing two facility types and discussing why prudent facility owners will begin the process early to assess their potential plan of action. For each facility, the pros, cons, and pitfalls of the NEC process will be discussed via an interactive dialogue with the audience.