The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (“ADEQ”) is in the process of replacing its 2003 Arizona Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Construction General Permit (the “AZPDES General Permit”). ADEQ is accepting comments to the proposed 2008 AZPDES General Permit up until January 25, 2008 and plans to issue the new permit by February 29, 2008. If, however, ADEQ does not issue the new permit by February 29, 2008, those persons covered under the 2003 AZPDES General Permit will have an administrative extension to continue operation under that permit until ADEQ issues the 2008 AZPDES General Permit.
The AZPDES General Permit authorizes stormwater discharges from construction and support activities associated with construction sites disturbing one or more acres of land where the discharges have a potential to enter surface waters of the United States. Such activities include any clearing, grading and excavation activities. Failing to obtain or violating an AZPDES General Permit may result in civil and criminal penalties.
The following is a summary of the significant changes:
- Clarifies an operator is only authorized to discharge after ADEQ issues an authorization letter; removes 'default' authorization timelines – default coverage is no longer granted two days after notice of intent (“NOI”) received by ADEQ's Water Quality Division;
- Clarifies that authorization to discharge will not be issued until a signed NOI is received by ADEQ;
- Removed total maximum daily load (“TMDL”) waiver as not applicable. Further, if specific TMDL issues are of concern, an individual permit is considered a more appropriate mechanism for permit coverage;
- Removed reduced inspection frequency for sites in seasonal dry period and details requirements for inspection during the monsoon season;
- Requires removal of best management practices (“BMPs”) before filing notice of termination. BMPs remaining onsite after final stabilization can actually promote erosion if not removed (i.e., hay bales left in a ditch can cause undercutting or erosion around them);
- Clarifies there should be no discharges of sediment from a construction site during dry weather; such discharges are inconsistent with this permit.
A copy of the proposed 2008 AZPDES Construction General Permit is available at http://www.azdeq.gov/download/constdraft. pdf. A fact sheet summarizing the permit is available at http:// www.azdeq.gov/download/constfact.pdf.
This Client Alert has been prepared by Lewis and Roca LLP for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Readers should seek professional legal advice on matters involving these issues.