Industrial Activity Information

The Clean Water Act & Industrial Activity

The Clean Water Act (CWA), amended in 1972, provides that discharge of pollutants into waters of the United States from any point source is unlawful without a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. For a number of reasons, the United State Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and some authorized NPDES States failed to issue NPDES permits for the majority of point source discharges of storm water. Recognizing this, Congress added section 402 (p) to the CWA in 1987 to establish a comprehensive framework for addressing storm water discharges associated with industrial activity. Therefore, a Multi-Sector Generic Permit (MSGP) has been developed to ensure that all regulated facilities in the state of Florida conform to a uniform set of rules. To obtain a copy of the MSGP visit the FDEP website.

Permit Requirements

Thus, most stormwater point source discharges related to industrial activities are required to obtain an NPDES permit. This may be accomplished by filing a Notice of Intent (NOI) for industrial activities. However, some facilities are eligible for the “no exposure” exemption. The “No Exposure Certification” form must be filed along with the NOI with USEPA. To obtain the NOI form for Industrial Activity please visit the FDEP website.

Under Phase I NPDES Permits, certain facilities could be exempted from the requirement to obtain an NPDES stormwater permit if none of their industrial materials or processes were exposed to stormwater. This “no exposure” exemption was applicable only to Category (xi) stormwater discharges associated with industrial activity, so-called “light industry” (see 40 CFR 122.26(b)(14)). Eligible facilities were not required to submit any documents to establish that they qualified for the no exposure exemption.

Under Phase II NPDES Permits, EPA revised and expanded the no exposure exemption to be a conditional no exposure exclusion applicable to ALL categories of stormwater discharges set out in 40 CFR 122.26(b)(14), except for Category (x) large construction activity. Additionally, any industrial operator seeking the no exposure exclusion from NPDES stormwater permitting must file a certification with the NPDES permitting authority affirming, under penalty of law, that no materials or processes are exposed to stormwater at the facility or site. (Note: This includes the Category (xi) no exposure facilities that previously had to do nothing).

Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan

Facilities subject to a point source discharge NPDES permit are also required to prepare a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP). Existing environmental management plans must be evaluated also for consistency to determine which, if any, provisions can be incorporated into the SWPPP.

Additional Related Plans

Other related plans may include the Preparedness, Prevention and Contingency Plan (40 CFR Parts 264 and 265), the Spill Control and Countermeasures Plan requirements (40 CFR Part 112), the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Toxic Organic Management Plan (40 CFR Parts 413, 433, and 469) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Emergency Response Plan (29 CFR Part 1910).

Preparing a SWPPP

Because the conditions which affect the presence of pollutants in stormwater discharges vary among industries, this permit contains industry-specific sections that describe the storm water pollution prevention plan requirements, the numeric effluent limitation requirements and the monitoring requirements for the industry. However, a SWPPP can be prepared containing the following minimum criteria:

Pollution Prevention Team

The Pollution Prevention Team is to:

(1) Decide who will be responsible for developing and implementing your Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan.

(2) Identify these individuals and describe each person’s responsibilities at the site.

(3) Implement all general permit and pollution prevention plan requirements.

Site Map

A site map is a complete illustration of site features. At a minimum, the site map must include:

(1) Discharge points

(2) Pollutants likely to be discharged

(3) Direction of flow

(4) Surface water bodies

(5) Structural control measures

(6) Locations of significant materials exposed to storm water

Materials Inventory

Each facility must inventory the types of materials that are handled, stored, or processed onsite. “Significant materials” are of particular concern.

The material inventory section must contain:

(1) A list of materials that have been exposed to storm water in the past 3 years.

(2) A narrative description of methods and location of storage and disposal areas, materials management practices, treatment practices, and any structural or nonstructural control measures.

Past Spills and Leaks

Provide a list of significant spills and leaks of toxic or hazardous materials that have occurred in the past 3 years. “Significant spills” includes releases in excess of reportable quantities. Permittees are encouraged to list spills and leaks of non hazardous materials as well as spills of hazardous materials.

Non-Storm Water Discharges

If your facility has been tested or evaluated for non-storm water discharges, you must:

(1) Describe the method used and results of any test and/or evaluation for such discharges.

(2) Indicate the location of the onsite drainage points that were checked for such discharges.

(3) Provide the date of the test or evaluation.

Monitoring Data

Where existing storm water sampling data are available, the facility must:

(1) provide a summary of any existing storm water sampling data.

(2) describe the sample collection procedures used.

Site Evaluation

Facilities must fulfill the following requirements:

(1) Provide a narrative description of activities with a high potential to contaminate storm water at your site, including those associated with materials loading and unloading, outdoor storage, outdoor manufacturing or processing, onsite waste disposal, and significant dust or particulate generating activities.

(2) Describe any pollutants of concern that may be associated with such activities.

Preventative Maintenance

Each permittee must develop a preventative maintenance program that involves inspections and maintenance of storm water management devices and routine inspections of facility operations to detect faulty equipment.

Management of Runoff

Permittees must describe existing storm water controls found at the facility and any additional measures that can be implemented to improve the prevention and control of polluted storm water. Examples include: vegetative swales, reuse of collected storm water, infiltration trenches, and detention ponds.

Employee Training

Permittees must develop an employee training program that covers such topic as spill prevention and response, good housekeeping, and material management practices.

Record Keeping and Internal Reporting

Your facility must record and maintain records of spills, leaks, inspections, and maintenance activities for at least one year after the permit expires. For spills and leaks, records should include information such as the date and time of the incident, weather conditions, cause, and resulting environmental problems.

Plan Revisions

Major changes in a facility’s design, construction, operation, or maintenance will necessitate changes in that facility’s Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan.

SWPPP Preparation Guides
  • The FDEP website offers guidance on SWPPP preparation for industrial facilities.
  • EPA also provides an SWPPP preparation guide.

NOTE: EPA Region 4 has reissued EPA’s NPDES stormwater multi-sector general permit (MSGP) for industrial activities. This general permit was first issued on September 29, 1995 (60 FR 50804), and amended on February 9, 1996 (61 FR 5248), February 20, 1996 (61 FR 6412), September 24, 1996 (61 FR 50020), August 7, 1998 (63 FR 42534) and September 30, 1998 (63 FR 52430). To verify the requirements for your specific conditions, you may wish to review the Final MSGP-2000 (65 FR 64746, October 30, 2000), the most recent version of the permit at the EPA’s Industrial and Commercial Facilities website.

Completing a Project

If the permitted industrial activity is terminated or changes ownership, a “Notice of Termination” (NOT) should be filed with FDEP. In the case of new ownership, the NOT should be accompanied by a Notice of Intent (NOI) by the new owner. To obtain the NOT form for industrial activity please visit: the FDEP website.