Stormwater Permits & Construction Activity
Government Roles in the Stormwater Program
The Environmental Protection Agency regulates stormwater due to its administration of the Clean Water Act. New York State has the role of administering Clean Water Act programs in New York. The state wrote a general permit which offers coverage to an applicant as long as coverage is requested under the Notice of Intent and provisions of the permit are followed. Counties have no role in the implementation of the stormwater program but many municipalities (towns and villages) place additional restrictions on construction activities in their jurisdiction – often requiring the owner/operator to fill out separate municipal forms. The municipalities have their own process because they are regulated separately under the Clean Water Act and their permit (MS4 General Permit) requires them to play an active role in the approval and inspection of construction activities in their jurisdiction. The state maintains its oversight role but is less likely to be involved in design review or site inspection.
The State Pollution Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activity GP -0- 10-001 was effective on January 29, 2010 and will expire January 28, 2015.
Construction Near Certain Waterbodies
Certain waterbodies receive special protection under the construction storwmater program. The two protected waterbody types are Total Maximum Daily Load waterbodies and 303(d) listed waterbodies. Both of these lists are generated with data gathered by the state. In Dutchess County, there are no TMDL waterbodies as of August 2011. However, DEC has established Hillside Lake, Wappingers Lake and Fall Kill and its tributaries as 303(d) list waterbodies. If the project will discharge to one of these waterbodies, fill out a full SWPPP.
Stormwater Permit Questions
- Who needs a permit?
A stormwater permit is required if;
-The owner or operator of any project disturbing one acre or more.
-The owner or operator of any project disturbing less than once acre that is part of a larger common plan of development or sale.
- What do I need to do?
1.) Go to DEC’s website to get a copy of their manuals and forms: http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/43133.html2.) Contact the local municipality to understand their requirements and process3.) Develop a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan4.) Fill out a Notice of Intent
5.) Provide paperwork to the state and/or municipality
6.) Implement erosion control practices while the project is under construction
7.) Fill out a Notice of Termination when the project is over
– The owner/operator is defined as the person(s) who has operational control over the construction project’s plans and specifications and the ability to make modifications to them, and who provides day-to-day compliance with the SWPPP or other permit controls.
– Some municipalities have a lower threshold for inclusion. The Towns of Beekman, Pawling, East Fishkill and the Village of Pawling require permit coverage for projects disturbing 5,000 square feet or more. Check with the municipality regarding its size threshold.
– For example, if a subdivision were to be built on a 2 acre property but each lot was 0.6 acres, the entire project needs permit coverage.
– Some Dutchess County municipalities are regulated by a different permit (the MS4 permit) which requires them to be involved in the approval and inspection of construction projects. Municipalities that will certainly have additional requirements include Beacon, Beekman, East Fishkill, Fishkill (town and village), Hyde Park, La Grange, Pawling (town and village), Pleasant Valley, Poughkeepsie (town and city), Wappinger, and Wappingers Falls. Other Dutchess County municipalities may have stormwater requirements. Check with the municipality.
– Some projects need a full SWPPP, some need a basic SWPPP. A full SWPPP is required when the project will disturb > 5 acres and/or will result in anything other than single family homes. This includes apartment complexes, condos, offices, commercial buildings, industrial buildings, etc. The full SWPPP must address water quality treatment and water quantity control as well as erosion and sediment control. If the SWPPP is written in accordance with the New York State Stormwater Design Manual, the project may proceed within 5 business days from the day DEC receives the NOI. If the SWPPP is not written in accordance with the manual, the SWPPP must be certified by a licensed professional and the project must wait to begin until after a 60 day review period by DEC. A basic SWPPP is required of all other projects and must be written in accordance with the New York Standards and Specifications for Erosion and Sediment Control. A project with a basic SWPPP may proceed within 5 business days from the day DEC receives the NOI.
– If a municipality is involved in the stormwater process, it will most likely request the NOI and SWPPP. The municipality will then review the project and provide a municipal SWPPP acceptance form. The owner/operator then sends the municipal SWPPP acceptance form and NOI to the New York State Department of Conservation. If the project’s runoff drains to a sensitive area (TMDL waterbody, 303(d) waterbody) or if the project disturbance is > 5 acres, the SWPPP must also be sent to the state.
– During construction, larger projects (>5 acres or non-single family homes) and projects discharging to a TMDL or 303(d) waterbody will need to be inspected weekly and after storms by a qualified professional. A qualified professional is a licensed professional engineer, CPESC, or soil scientist.
– The project can be considered finished when 80% of all surfaces have been covered by plants or other material.