Stormwater management is one of the most important operational and regulatory issues for the recycling industry because recycling operations are typically outdoors and exposed to precipitation that may flow off-site. Stormwater permits typically affect every aspect of facility operations. ISRI has been an advocate for the industry during the development and renewal of state general permits and the Federal Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP). 


Rain and snow can run off your property and the runoff can flow directly into streams, rivers, and lakes. In most cases, ISRI members apply for coverage to discharge stormwater under their state general permit; however, members in DC, MA, NH, NM, and U.S. territories apply for coverage under the Federal MSGP. Most state general permits resemble to varying degrees (some almost exactly) the Federal MSGP, but there still is significant variation in requirements across state general permits. For this reason, members should consult ISRI’s list of state stormwater general permits to find their applicable general permit (state or Federal) and associated information.


The 2021 MSGP was published in the Federal Register on February 19, 2021 and became effective March 1, 2021 in DC, ID, MA, NH, and NM, as well as federal areas. The 2021 MSGP contains several new requirements or changes relative to the 2015 MSGP:

  • Posting a sign outside your facility with your MSGP information (Part 1.3.5);
  • Consideration of stormwater control measures for major storm/extreme weather events (2.1.1);
  • Indicator monitoring for pH, Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Total Suspended Solids (TSS) for Subsector N2 (MRFs) ( and 8.N.6);
  • Indicator monitoring for polycyclic aromatics hydrocarbons (PAHs) because of use of coal-tar sealants in areas of industrial activity or as otherwise required (e.g., Subsector M1 (Auto Salvage; 8.M.5)) (;
  • Benchmark monitoring (4.2.2 and 8.N.7);
  • Discharges to impaired waters with no Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) (;
  • Additional Implementation Measures (AIM) in follow-up to a benchmark exceedance (5.2); and
  • Alternative Facility-Specific Benchmarks for Aluminum and Copper (


  1. Read the EPA MSGP
  2. Download the MSGP permit and read it carefully. Remember that operators are responsible for complying with permit requirements.

  3. Develop a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP)
  4. Your SWPPP describes how you will keep pollution from getting into stormwater runoff at your facility. It must be completed before you apply for permit coverage. More information on how to develop your SWPPP and a template you can use are available in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Industrial Stormwater Fact Sheet Series.

  5. Document Your Eligibility
  6. You will need to assess the potential effects of your stormwater runoff on:

    • Federally-listed endangered and threatened species.
    • Any critical habitat located on or near the site.
    • Historic properties.


  7. File a Notice of Intent (NOI) Application
  8. Your NOI lets EPA know you are filing for permit coverage and that you intend to comply with the requirements of the permit. You must file your NOI for permit coverage through NeT-MSGP, unless you obtain a waiver from your regional EPA office. NeT-MSGP is accessible via Central Data Exchange (CDX), EPA’s electronic reporting system. Absent a waiver, all required reporting must be conducted electronically. Illustrated directions are available at electronic reporting under the MSGP. Currently, discharge monitoring reports must be submitted via EPA’s NetDMR. All other reporting and forms must be submitted via NeT-MSGP.

    Your permit coverage begins after a 30-day waiting period from EPA’s acknowledgement of receiving your completed NOI, unless EPA informs you otherwise.

  9. Implement Your SWPPP
  10. Install the control measures and carry out the management practices in your SWPPP. Be sure to update your SWPPP as conditions change at your facility, or if you change your practices. Other important requirements in your permit include:

    • Periodically inspecting your facility.
    • Conducting any required monitoring of your stormwater discharges. Monitoring types include visual, benchmark, indicator PAHs, indicator TSS/OCD/pH, and impaired waters. Not all apply to each facility. Also, benchmark monitoring results are reported via NetDMR.
    • Reporting the results of your required monitoring.
    • Keeping your stormwater controls in effective operating condition.
    • Submitting annual reports.


  11. Be a good neighbor
  12. Do not direct stormwater flows onto a neighboring property. Do not block stormwater from leaving your neighbor's property. Stabilize disturbed areas and maintain lawns, driveways, and natural drainage paths to prevent erosion and sedimentation on your own and other peoples’ properties. If you live near a stream, pond, or stormwater drain, you can plant a buffer along the banks or establish a “grow zone” along the waterbody to allow pollutants to be filtered before reaching the water. Clean up trash, litter, and other debris that may clog a drain or small stream that could potentially cause flooding or pollution from water runoff. If you find yourself in a dispute with a neighboring property owner over stormwater issues, remember: Open communication and cooperation can prevent stormwater issues and help resolve existing stormwater problems. Be mindful of how your actions can affect adjacent landowners, and take steps to prevent damage not only on your own property but also on your neighbor's property.

    For more information, please contact David L. Wagger, Ph.D., Chief Scientist / Director of Environmental Management at or (202) 662-8533.



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