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Stormwater Compliance In Practice

The history of stormwater regulation dates all the way back to 1972 with the passage of the Clean Water Act (CWA) by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The CWA, and subsequent legislation over the years, is both the precursor and the framework for current stormwater permits today.  The laws were initially passed to create some control over the amount of pollution entering waterways through industrial stormwater runoff.  The EPA has given the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) the authority to regulate stormwater permits in Texas.  The permit most commonly used by industry is the TXR050000 Multi-Sector General Permit.

So what is a “sector?” The TCEQ has broken the TXR050000 permit down into industry specific sectors, from A through Z and on to AD.  Each sector covers a specific industry or group of industries.  You can find which sector you might fall into based on your SIC code.  With some exceptions, if your SIC code is not in the list, you probably are not required to obtain coverage under a stormwater permit in Texas.  If however you are among the many industries included, there are steps you should take to stay in compliance with the permit.

One of the first things you should do is read your permit! That may seem like a given, but it is surprising how many people don’t think to do just that.  Whether it’s the TXR050000 Multi-Sector General Stormwater permit, or the TXR150000 Construction Stormwater permit, the permit contains all the details on what your facility is required to do to stay in compliance.  Day-to-day compliance generally includes, but is not limited to:

  • Stormwater runoff sampling
  • Stormwater runoff visual evaluations
  • Regular site inspections
  • Annual comprehensive site inspection
  • Sampling reports submitted to TCEQ
  • Implementation and maintenance of Best Management Practices (BMPs)

Once you have read your permit, it’s time to develop your Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWP3). Your SWP3 will become your “handbook” for stormwater compliance at your facility.  The SWP3 will include the applicable requirements from the permit specific to your site and sector.   The SWP3 is intended to be a living document that changes as your facility changes.  The inspections, walkthroughs, and sample results should be reflective of what is happening at the site.  Many times, sections of the SWP3, such as BMPs, will be updated based on these results.  The TXR050000 Multi-Sector General Permit is designed to allow industries to operate as needed while monitoring and controlling industrial stormwater runoff.  For more information or questions, please contact Jenifer Adams, or Vanessa Coleman.

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