Stormwater Permitting and Best Practices for Scrap Recycling Facilities

Recycling facilities are required to apply for, obtain, and comply with a stormwater permit to control pollutants that may enter waterways from stormwater discharges from industrial operations. Category Six of 11 categories of industrial activity includes metal scrapyards, salvage yards, automobile junkyards, and battery reclaimers.

Permits may be issued by the Federal EPA or State Environmental Agencies, but most states issue their own permits (except DC, ID, MA, NH, and NM that use the Federal Multi-Sector General Permit.)  Each state permit may have various and specific requirements that differ from others.  Please be sure to consult your permit or state permit requirements. Basic requirements include the identification of possible pollutants, identification of control measures, a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), Best Management Practices (BMPs), routine inspections, visual monitoring, and benchmark monitoring (in most permits).  

Examples of BMPs include:

  • Covering material or equipment when feasible, including prior to expected storm events.
  • Good housekeeping.Keeping material neatly sorted and as far away from storm drains or outfalls as possible.
  • Spill prevention and response.Have spill control kits that include absorbent socks, floor dry, and absorbent mats, near sources of potential pollutants.
  • Erosion control to prevent soil from becoming dislodged.
  • Salt storage pile controls or cover to prevent contact with stormwater.
  • Employee training on stormwater responsibilities.

Layers of BMPs can be very effective in limiting pollutants in stormwater discharges (e.g., covering materials, regular pavement sweeping, and storm drain protection using storm drain filters and catch basin filter socks). 

ISRI has prepared members-only guidance for recycling facilities on implementing stormwater BMPs, “Stormwater Control Manual for the Scrap Recycling Industry”. ISRI members can access this and other ISRI stormwater documents (with log-in) via the stormwater information, tools, and guidance link in the Stormwater section of ISRI’s Environmental Compliance webpage.

Additionally, there is Federal Guidance on Industrial Stormwater and for Recycling:

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