Since 1992, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has issued a series of Construction General Permits (CGP) that cover areas where USEPA is the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting authority. At present, USEPA is the permitting authority in four states (Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New Mexico), the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.), U.S. territories, and on federal and tribal lands. New Mexico Environment Department, Point Source Regulation Section (PSRS) is responsible for the protection of Ground and Surface Water Protection Regulations dealing with point source discharges. PSRS assists USEPA with implementation of the NPDES permit program by conducting federal compliance inspections on behalf of the USEPA. These inspection reports are sent to the USEPA Region 6 in Dallas, TX to determine compliance with the NPDES permitting program in accordance with requirements of the federal Clean Water Act.
Why do stormwater discharges from construction activities matter?
When it rains, stormwater washes over the loose soil on a construction site, along with various material and products being stored outside. As stormwater flows over the site, it can pick up pollutants like sediment, debris, and chemicals from that loose soil and transport them to receiving waterbodies. Professional environmental consultants and municipal staff work with construction site operators to make sure they have the proper stormwater controls in place so that construction can proceed in a way that protects our community’s clean water and the surrounding environment.
Who needs to get permit coverage?
In general, the NPDES stormwater program requires permits for discharge from construction activities that disturb one or more acres, and discharge from smaller sites that are part of a larger common plan of development or sale. Any operator of an eligible site that must obtain permit coverage must submit USEPA a Notice of Intent to be covered under the permit. The party that meets the first part of the definition of “Operator” (party that has operational control over construction plans and specifications, including the ability to make modifications to those plans and specifications) in most cases will be the owner of the site. The party that meets the second part of the definition of “Operator” (the party that has day-to-day operational control of those activities at the project that are necessary to ensure compliance with the permit conditions) in most cases will be the general contractor).