Navigating Local, State and Federal Regulations
By Haley Daily // 2020-08-03
States are required to follow the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has authorized most states to perform their own permitting, administrative and enforcement aspects of the program (NPDES, 2020), however, regulations do not stop there. In Texas cities and counties are also allowed to create and enforce their own set of ordinances that are as or more stringent than the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) program.
For instance, the Texas Construction General Permit (2018) allows for inspections to be completed once every 7 calendar days and states that if this frequency is chosen than additional rain event inspections are not required regardless of how many inches of rainfall occur. However, in the City of Austin the 2020 Environmental Criteria Manual dictates that additional inspections are required regardless of inspection frequency after every rainfall event 0.5 inches or greater. Furthermore, the Texas Construction General Permit (2018) states that “personnel conducting these inspections must be knowledgeable of this general permit, the construction activities at the site, and the SWP3 for the site” (p. 37). In contrast, the City of Austin 2020 Environmental Criteria Manual section 1.4.4 requires a licensed engineer or certified inspector (CPESC, CPESC - IT, CISEC, CISEC - IT, CESSWI, or CESSWI - IT) to conduct assessments of all erosion and sedimentation controls. These two instances showcase only a few of the regulatory differences that can be identified in one city.
Keeping track of all the local, state, and federal regulations can easily become convoluted. Operators do not want unnecessary fines or stop work orders due to a lack of proper knowledge. Having the right qualified stormwater team that are experts in all local, state, and federal rules is crucial in order to stay in compliance with the multiple regulatory entities that have jurisdiction in an area.
Environmental Criteria Manual. (2020, February 28). Retrieved March 20, 2020, from https://library.municode.com/tx/austin/codes/environmental_criteria_manual?nodeId=S1WAQUMA_1.4.0ERSECOCR_1.4.4PLDEIM
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). (2020, March 3). Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/npdes
Texas Commission Quality on Environmental. (2018). General Permit to Discharge Under the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. Austin, TX.
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