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Storm Water Discharges Associated with Construction Activity

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Construction activities can play a major role in the degradation of water quality. Construction activities impact water quality by contributing discharges of sediment to streams, rivers, lakes, and other water bodies throughout the state. Sediment runoff rates from construction sites are 10 to 20 times greater than those from agricultural lands, and 1,000 to 2,000 times greater than those of forestlands. Discharges of sediment can degrade aquatic habitats, alter channel dynamics, and release high levels of nutrients and metals. Other pollutant sources associated with construction activities pose additional threats to water quality. These pollutant sources include chemicals, fuel, lubricants, and other toxic substances.

Permit Information

 

Compliance Information

Compliance Evaluation Inspections

Permittees operating under the General Permit for Storm water Discharges Associated with Construction Activity (General Permit) are subject to Compliance Evaluation Inspections (CEIs). The purpose of a storm water construction CEI is to assess the adequacy of the Storm water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) by ensuring the SWPPP meets the requirements of the General Permit, reviewing how pollutants are being managed, and determining whether pollutants are being discharged from the construction site and to state waters.

Storm water construction CEIs conducted by a Water Protection Bureau Compliance Inspector (inspector) are typically completed during and/or immediately following precipitation events as an announced or unannounced CEI. An announced CEI is when the inspector contacts the permittee and establishes a meeting date, time, and location to complete the CEI. An unannounced CEI is when an inspector does not contact the permittee ahead of time and arrives on-site during normal business hours to complete the CEI.

Please note that the authority to conduct an inspection at a construction site is defined in section 402 of the Clean Water Act. The State of Montana establishes its inspection authority of the delegated federal program in Section 75-5-603 of the Montana Code Annotated.

CEIs consist of the following components: Entry/Introduction, Records Review, Facility Site Evaluation, and Conclusion/Preliminary Findings. Factual information and observations made by the inspector are presented in the Inspection Report Package.

Entry/Introduction

The purpose of the Entry/Introduction portion of the CEI is to provide the necessary identification to appropriate on-site personnel, state the reason for the CEI, and review the components of the CEI. Examples of information discussed during this portion of the CEI include:

  • Identification of the Owner/Operator
  • Description of the Construction Project
  • Date Construction Started
  • Estimated Time for Construction Project Completion
  • Phase of Construction Project
  • Issues / Areas of Noncompliance Experienced during Construction Activities
Records Review

The purpose of the Records Review portion of the CEI is to review the General Permit and SWPPP to ensure the SWPPP meets the requirements of the General Permit. In order to complete this portion of the CEI, the inspector will request copies of the following information:

  • Copy of the General Permit
  • Copy of the Department’s Confirmation Letter
  • Copy of the completed and signed Notice of Intent (NOI) form
  • Copy of the completed, signed, and up-to-date SWPPP
  • Up-to-date SWPPP Site Map
  • BMP installation and design standards
  • Inspection Records
  • Annual Inspection Reports, if applicable
  • Reports of Noncompliance

The inspector will review the SWPPP and SWPPP Site Map to ensure the most current version of these documents contain the minimum elements defined in the General Permit. Additionally, the inspector will review any updates to the SWPPP to ensure the SWPPP reflects current conditions. Inspection records will be reviewed to ensure they are being completed at the required frequency and documenting, at minimum, the required elements defined in the General Permit and the SWPPP.

Facility Site Evaluation

The purpose of the Facility Site Evaluation is to assess site conditions, determine if the SWPPP is being followed by verifying that Best Management Practices (BMPs) are installed as specified in the SWPPP, assess the condition and adequacy of installed BMPs, and determine areas of noncompliance. Specific questions the inspector will focus on when evaluating BMPs include:

  • What is the pollutant source?
  • Is there a BMP present?
  • Is the BMP installed correctly?
  • Is the BMP being maintained?
  • Is the BMP appropriate for the pollutant source and/or area?

During the Facility Site Evaluation, the inspector will take photos and take notes to provide supporting evidence for areas of noncompliance.

Conclusion/Preliminary Findings

The purpose of the Conclusion/Preliminary Findings portion of the CEI is to provide preliminary findings and explain the Inspection Report process. Additionally, this portion allows the permittee to ask questions and allows both parties to clarify issues which arose during the CEI. If additional information is required from the permittee to complete the CEI, the inspector will provide a list of information and specify a date for submittal. Finally, if there are immediate areas of concern, the inspector will identify the problems and what the expectations are of the permittee.

Please note: Any information presented during the Conclusion/Preliminary Findings is preliminary. The final factual findings and observations will be documented in the Inspection Report Package.

Final Inspection Report Package

The purpose of the Inspection Report Package is to document areas of noncompliance identified during the CEI and require the permittee to complete corrective actions to return to compliance. Additional information included in the Inspection Report Package may include areas of potential noncompliance. The Final Inspection Report Package will include:

  • Cover Letter
  • MPDES 3560 Form
  • Narrative Inspection Report
  • Photo Report

If the Cover Letter is a Letter of Violation, the permittee is required to compose a written response addressing each one of the factual findings and observations presented in the Narrative Inspection Report. The Letter of Violation will specify a date the written response is due.

If the Cover Letter is a Letter of Compliance, the permittee is required to read through the Narrative Inspection Report and address any areas of potential noncompliance. A written response may be required dependent upon the identified areas of potential noncompliance.

Please note: It is the expectation of the Department that the permittee address each of the factual findings presented in the Narrative Inspection Report. Please contact the inspector if there are questions regarding the content of the Narrative Inspection Report or if assistance is needed in composing a required response.

For further information, contact the Water Protection Bureau at (406) 444-3080.

Noncompliance Reporting

Noncompliance reporting is required when a permittee identifies condition(s) that are not in compliance with or when a permittee determines they will not be able to comply with a condition(s) of the General Permit for Storm Water Discharges Associated with Construction Activity (General Permit). Examples of noncompliance associated with permittees operating under the General Permit include: any noncompliance that may endanger health or the environment, a discharge of pollutants from the construction project site and/or to state waters, failure of installed Best Management Practices (BMPs), and failure to conduct inspections.

The noncompliance reporting condition of the General Permit requires an oral report be provided within 24-hours of becoming aware of the noncompliance followed by a written report within five days. The following information is required to be reported to the Department in an event of noncompliance:

  • MPDES Permit Authorization Number
  • Facility or Site Name
  • Name and Phone Number of Individual Reporting Noncompliance
  • A description of the noncompliance and its cause
  • The period of noncompliance, including exact dates and times; or if not identified, the anticipated time the noncompliance is expected to continue
  • Additional measures being taken to reduce, eliminate, and prevent recurrences of the noncompliance

It is the responsibility of the permittee to contact a Compliance Inspector in the Water Protection Bureau within 24 hours of first identifying the noncompliance. If the event of noncompliance occurs on a weekend, leave a message on the Water Protection Bureau’s main number: (406) 444-3080.

After receipt of the 24 hour report of noncompliance, the Compliance Inspector will specify a date to submit the five day written report. The five day written report is to be mailed to:

 

Department of Environmental Quality
Water Protection Bureau
c/o (Name of Compliance Inspector)
PO Box 200901
Helena, MT 59620-0901

The Compliance Inspector will review the submitted material and draft a Department response. It is the expectation of the Department that the permittee address and complete any required corrective actions unless otherwise specified.

 

The form below (Form NCR) can be filled out online, printed, and mailed to the Department. It will fulfill the five day written report requirement if it is completely filled out and if it is received by the Department within five days of the 24-hour oral report.

For further information contact the Water Protection Bureau at (406) 444-3080.

 

Useful Resources

Montana Department of Environmental Quality Best Management Practice Field Guide

Montana Department of Environmental Quality Oil and Gas BMP Field Guide

Montana Department of Transportation Erosion and Sediment Control Best Management Practices Manual

United States Environmental Protection Agency - Storm water Pollution Prevention Plans for Construction Activities

United States Environmental Protection Agency – National Menu of Storm water Best Management Practices

Upcoming Storm Water Trainings - MCA

Upcoming Storm Water Trainings - DEQ 

Storm Water Construction Records Review Checklist