On May 15, the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) released the draft Industrial Stormwater General Permit (Draft ISGP), fact sheet, and application for public comment. The public comment period is open from May 15 until July 15, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. (as updated on June 6, 2024).

The Draft ISGP, including its companion fact sheet and application, identifies the requirements and standards applicable to facilities that conduct industrial activities that directly or indirectly discharge stormwater to surface water in the state. Given the potential implications the Draft ISGP may have on businesses, stakeholders are encouraged to review the document and provide comments during the public comment period.

Key Highlights of the Draft ISGP:

  • Revised Definition of “Industrial Activity” Expands Coverage for certain Activities at Transportation Facilities. The revised definition of “industrial activity” includes various operations and sites associated with industrial activity. For transportation facilities, the revised definition makes clear that the permit applies to other areas of industrial activity, not just those where vehicle maintenance, equipment cleaning, and airport de-icing occur. The revised definition’s intended effect is to expand ISGP coverage to material handling and storage activity at a transportation facility that results in the discharge of solid or waste material to waters of the state.
  • Expanding ISGP Requirements to Transportation Facilities under the Revised Definition of “Industrial Activity.” Since ISGP coverage is being expanded to material handling and storage activity at transportation ‎facilities, such facilities would have to apply the ISGP, sampling, and best management practices (BMPs) requirements to areas where certain material is handled and stored.
  • PFAS Requirements for Landfills and Airports. The Draft ISGP adds new per- and polyfluorinated Substances (PFAS) sampling requirements for facilities in the air transportation and waste management sectors. The Draft ISGP proposes quarterly PFAS sampling of stormwater discharges, using EPA method 1633. The results of sampling will be “report only.”
  • Sampling 6PPD-quinone from tire wear (a chemical that is lethal to coho salmon and that causes water pollution). Sampling requirements for 6PPD-quinone apply to the Transportation Facilities listed in Table 3 of the Draft ISGP. The requirement extends to Transportation Facilities such as railroad, transit and ground passenger, truck transport, postal service, water transport, air transport, petroleum bulk stations and terminals, and warehousing and storage facilities.
  • Modification of Coverage for Waivers – Sampling Point Waivers. Permittees may request sampling point waivers if sampling location requirements are not feasible. For example, permittees may seek waivers for areas at their facility that are too dangerous or where access is prohibited due to other circumstances.
  • Conditional “No Exposure” Exemptions. The Draft ISGP eliminates automatic approval for the No Exposure exemption, which applies to areas where industrial activities are not exposed to rain, snow, snow melt, or runoff. Applicable facilities will be required to re-apply for the exemption every five years, resulting in increased Ecology oversight and inspections.

How to Submit Comments during the Public Comment Period:

  • Online through Ecology’s online comment form (preferred).
  • Ecology’s virtual workshops and hearings. Ecology will host online hearings where the public may provide verbal testimony.
    • June 20, 2024, 5:30 p.m. Online
    • June 24, 2024, 9:30 a.m. Online
  • By Mail. Commenters may mail their comments to the following address:

Lucienne Banning

Washington State Department of Ecology

PO Box 47696 Olympia, WA 98504-7696

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This update seeks to generally inform our audience about the Draft ISGP’s Key Highlights and convey the importance of participating in the public comment process. Schwabe is well-positioned to provide insight through these regulatory changes.

This column is intended to provide readers with general information and not legal advice. Consult professional counsel for help regarding specific situations.

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