Tell Me About Stormwater
Protecting water resources from stormwater runoff requires proper planning that will save time and money as opposed to dealing with a larger problem later on. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) reports that stormwater nonpoint source pollution is the leading cause of water quality problems today.
Stormwater picks up debris, chemicals, and other hazardous fluids that eventually flow into our waterways. With Florida’s tremendous population growth, it is continuing to become difficult for stormwater to naturally absorb into the ground.
The good news is there are many proactive programs at the federal, state, and city level to help reinforce the importance for us all to minimize stormwater run-off pollutants. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and states implement federally mandated programs for controlling stormwater discharges from construction, industrial facilities, and municipalities.
Please find below a list of frequently asked questions we hope will help you better understand why stormwater management is important for our environment.
Stormwater Management FAQ’s
Runoff from rainstorms can collect pollutants like sediment, oil, and various chemicals and then carried into storm drains that lead directly into waterbodies.
According to the U.S. EPA, In the 1970’s 40% of all U.S. waters were not fishable or swimmable due to impairments. Many improvements have been made since the NPDES programs were created.
An NPDES permit is typically a license for a facility to discharge a specified amount of a pollutant into a receiving water under certain conditions. The Clean Water Act prohibits discharging “pollutants” through a “point source” into a water way unless an NPDES permit is in place.
If you are disturbing 1 or more acres, including smaller sites that are part of a larger plan of development then YES you need to apply for coverage. EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program regulates stormwater runoff from construction sites. It is important to get your NOI prior to any construction activities.
If your facility, stores industrial materials or has outside activities YES you do need coverage. Runoff from rainfall that comes in contact with these activities can pick up pollutants, and transport them directly to a nearby lakes, ponds, and eventually to our coastal waters. Material handling and storage, equipment maintenance and cleaning, and other activities at industrial facilities are often exposed to the weather.
If you have NPDES coverage you will need to have a SWPPP.The SWPPP should be completed prior to applying for coverage.
Your site specific SWPPP explains how you will control pollutants in stormwater runoff from your facility. It is a written document that identifies the sources of pollution and industrial activities conducted at the site, including stormwater control practices which the operator will use to prevent pollutants from making their way into stormwater runoff.
BMP’s (Best Management Practice) make good sense, whether you are required to obtain an NPDES permit or not, you can help human health and the environment by initiating stormwater management BMPs at your business. BMPs are structural and non-structural. Examples of structural BMP are silt fence or inlet protection. Non-structural BMPs are your SWPPP plan or education.
Florida DEP requires that construction sites disturbing over an acre of land must conduct and document NPDES Inspections once a week and after a 0.5” rain event. Inspections are required on holidays and weekends.
A separate storm sewer system is a collection of structures, including retention basins, ditches, roadside inlets and underground pipes, designed to discharge untreated stormwater it into local water bodies such as streams, reviers, and lakes. It’s called a separate system because it is not connected to the wastewater system which drains from inside a home or building to a sewage treatment facility or a private septic system.
Getting such a notification is a serious matter. Proper and immediate response is critically important, and it is imperative to partner with an expert in stormwater rules, regulations, and regulatory response. KCI is an expert that understands the most effective strategies to return your facility to a well-functioning system while mitigating both environmental harm and regulatory exposure for the facility manager or owner.
MSGP – Multi-sector General Permit
NOT – Notice of Termination
BMP – Best Management Practice
IGP – Industrial General Permit
NEC – No Exposure Certification
NOI – Notice of Intent
NOT – Notice of Termination
NPDES – National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
SWPPP – Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan
MS4 – Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System