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Industrial Permit Assistance
Runoff from industrial activities can carry many types of pollutants. Heavy metals, sediment, oil and grease and other toxic materials can cause harm to aquatic life and water supplies. Making sure you use the appropriate Best Management Practices for your business can help to keep our water safe and healthy.
The steps below are to help walk you through the Industrial General Permit requirements. However, this does not take the place of reading your permit and associated resources which can be found on the WA Dept. of Ecology website.
Please refer to your permit or Ecology Permit Manager for more information.
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12 Steps to Compliance
Applicability – do you need a permit?
This is fairly straight forward, and only requires that you know what your business does! Does your business conduct any industrial activity that appears in Table 1 of the ISGP? If so, you need this permit.
Consider a "Conditional No Exposure Exemption" (CNE)
Even though your industrial activities are listed in Table 1, if your activities are completely covered, or conducted inside, you may be eligible for an exemption from the permit.
If none of your activities, materials, intermediate products, by-products, final products, or waste products is exposed to any type of precipitation (rain, snow, snowmelt, runoff), your business may qualify. To help you make a determination, the Department of Ecology put together a handy fact sheet
Apply For the Permit
If you’ve determined that you do need permit coverage, here’s how you do it. It must be done online using the Department of Ecology’s WQ Web Portal and takes a bit of time.
Assess Your Facility for Pollution Sources
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to be in compliance with the ISGP is to know your facility and familiarize yourself with potential pollution sources that may come from your business. Identifying sources of pollution, and eliminating them will save you thousands of dollars.
Create a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP)
Now that you’ve assessed all the possible sources of polluted stormwater at your facility, you can now decide, and document, how to manage or, better yet, prevent that pollution. Doing this step correctly can make a huge difference in the complexity of your compliance with the ISGP. The SWPPP is your plan and guide to understand and manage stormwater runoff at your facility. This page will tell you what needs to be in your SWPPP and help you find resources/ideas to meet those requirements.
Sampling Your Runoff
As discussed above, you have to show that your stormwater runoff meets the required levels for the pollutants you must sample for. The permit goes into great detail on this but we’ve compiled some information and resources to get you started.
Sample Results and Reporting
Hopefully, all your sample results are under the limits for each of the pollutants you sample for. If not, you’ve got some work to do. But first, you must fill out an electronic Discharge Monitoring Report – DMR. This report must be completed and submitted each quarter even if you were below benchmark or if there was no discharge from your facility.
Level One Corrective Action
The first time you exceed a benchmark you must do what is called a Level One Corrective Action within 14 days of receiving the lab results. This must be done for each pollutant other than visible oil sheen or pH:
Conduct an inspection of your facility to investigate the cause. Have you been following your SWPPP? Have you been conducting all mandatory BMPs? Go back through your facility with an eye for what sources correspond with the pollutant benchmark value.
Level Two Corrective Action: Structural Source Control BMPs
A Level Two Corrective Action requires that you construct, install or otherwise conduct a structural BMP. This could mean that you construct a roof over a scrap metal bin, coat a roof or other galvanized surface, or pave a bare area.
Level Three Corrective Action: Treatment
A Level Three Corrective Action requires that you use some kind of treatment device to remove pollutants from your stormwater discharge. This level requires engineering reports and can be very complicated and expensive. If you reach a level three, you must:
If you exceed an applicable benchmark value (for a single parameter) for any three quarters during a calendar year must complete a Level 3 Corrective Action in accordance with S8.D. of the permit. A Level 2 Corrective Action is not required.
If you’ve updated and implemented your SWPPP properly and kept up to date and organized records, your Annual Report should be easy.
Permit Review and Resources
Following these steps will help you understand the basic building blocks of Washington’s Industrial Stormwater General Permit. Review your permit to ensure that you are in compliance with all the requirements. In addition, don’t forget that your facility may have more requirements based on your industrial activities or where your stormwater runoff discharges.
The Washington Stormwater Center conducted a series of workshops that included many additional resources to help you navigate the permitting process.