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ISRI Provides Feedback on National Academies’ Study to Improve the Next-Generation EPA Industrial Multi-Sector General Permit

On November 20, 2017, ISRI offered comment during the first public meeting by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) on its new study that will provide input to the U.S. EPA for the next draft of the Federal Multi-Sector General Permit for industrial stormwater (MSGP).

The NAS’s study is one consequence of the 2016 settlement among environmental groups jointly, EPA, and industrial intervenors to avoid protracted litigation over the 2015 Federal MSGP (see past LU item). Via the study, the NAS Committee will:

  1. Suggest improvements to the current MSGP benchmarking monitoring requirements;
  2. Evaluate the feasibility of numeric retention standards (e.g., volumetric control based on storm size or imperviousness); and
  3. Identify the highest priority industrial facilities/subsectors for consideration of additional discharge monitoring.

The public meeting started off with presentations to the NAS Committee by representatives of the settling joint environmental group, industrial intervenors, and EPA. The representatives discussed their interest in the MSGP and their views of the three study topics (above). NAS Committee Members posed questions to the representatives after their respective presentations. After about 3 hours of these presentations, members of the public were given 3 minutes each to present their views.

In a rapid, 4-minute presentation, David Wagger, ISRI’s chief scientist/director of environmental management, discussed ISRI’s interest in the MSGP and a number of MSGP-related issues:

  • ISRI’s involvement in the industrial stormwater permitting program, leading to Sector N of the first and subsequent MSGPs;
  • The initial disconnect between benchmark values for metals (set at water quality standards) and potential effectiveness of the MSGP’s Sector N best management practices;
  • Compliance problems (including third-party lawsuits) created by the benchmark/BMP disconnect;
  • Compliance difficulties arising from permitting stormwater discharges (highly intermittent during wet weather) like wastewater discharges (constant mainly during dry weather);
  • Potential alternative permitting and benchmarking schemes that recognize wet-weather conditions;
  • Defining Best Available Technology (BAT) / Best Conventional Technology (BCT); and
  • Detention vs. Retention in volumetric control schemes (if allowable by the Clean Water Act).

NAS Committee seemed receptive to ISRI’s comments, and ISRI will be following this NAS Study, as it will likely have a significant influence on future Federal MSGPs and most state industrial stormwater general permits.

For more information about the NAS Study or stormwater compliance, please contact David Wagger at (202) 662-8533.

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