Alaska Construction General Permit Available for Review

December 2, 2020
By Brian Schefke

If your business has coverage under the Alaska Construction General Permit for Discharges from Large and Small Construction Activities, you have an opportunity to review and comment on the proposed final permit that the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will issue to succeed the current permit. The last day to submit feedback to DEC is December 9, 2020, so don’t delay.

If you need assistance in complying with the new permit, Freer Consulting can help. Contact us at 206-285-9044 or info@freerconsulting.com.…

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A Little Change [Management] Goes a Long Way

November 24, 2020
By Jenny Ma

Change is inevitable in business—personnel change, requirements change, resources change—the list of potential triggers is endless; furthermore, each change is unique to the specific business, industry, and circumstance, with varying impacts and degrees of complexity. It is natural to feel overwhelmed by change and to have trouble wrapping your head around which factors to consider and who to involve. Fortunately, with the proper tools, methodology, and a little planning, any company can unlock the benefits of change management.

At Freer Consulting, we provide a customizable change management solution, including a documented process and a Management of Change (MOC) form. Combined, …

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Ecology Releases New Construction Stormwater General Permit

November 23, 2020
By Brian Schefke

The Washington Department of Ecology has reissued the Construction Stormwater General Permit to take effect on January 1, 2021. The permit authorizes stormwater and approved non-stormwater discharges associated with construction activity. Permit coverage is required for the following:

  • Ongoing construction sites that are covered under the existing permit
  • Construction sites that disturb one acre or more of land and discharge stormwater off site or into surface waters of the state
  • Construction sites of any size that the Department of Ecology determines will be a significant contributor of pollutants or will cause a violation of any water quality standard

If you …

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EPA Proposes Changes in New MSGP

June 22, 2020
By Brian Schefke

In March, the EPA released its final proposed version of the Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) that will replace the 2015 version currently in force. The MSGP authorizes stormwater discharges in areas where the EPA is the permitting authority, e.g., areas not covered by a state general permit. The comment period for the proposed permit ended June 1, and the EPA will issue the final permit later this year.

In response to a National Research Council study on improving the MSGP, the EPA has proposed a number of changes to the permit in the new version. The most substantial are summarized …

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Violations of the Clean Water Act in Washington in 2019

June 2, 2020
By Jenny Ma

Over the past several years, regulatory authorities and nonprofits have increased their watch over stormwater compliance. Freer Consulting routinely monitors records for the state of Washington from the Region 10 office of the Environmental Protection Agency for Notices of Intent (NOI) to Sue under the Clean Water Act. In 2019, the EPA received 21 NOIs for Washington businesses and individuals.

Of these 21 NOIs, the top five categories were:

  • Discharge without a permit: 11 – 52% of NOIs
  • Numeric effluent violations (e.g. facility is discharging with pH levels outside of permitted limits): 11 – 52% of NOIs
  • Failure to prepare

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King County Stormwater Violations Trend

May 8, 2020
By Jenny Ma

This year, a new permit for Industrial Stormwater General Permit (ISGP) for the state of Washington went into effect. Now is a great time to look at how permit holders in King County did over the 2015-2019 period regarding stormwater violations.

Data was collected from the Department of Ecology looking at all industrial stormwater violations reported in each year for King County during the 2015-2019 permit period.

Over the permit period, the top three violations have been benchmark exceedances, monitoring violations, and reporting violations.

  • Benchmark exceedances (e.g. a stormwater sample contained lead that was over the 64.6 µg/L limit) have

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Using ISO 14001 to Simplify GRESB Reporting

May 4, 2020
By Aaron Schlossman

Completing Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) reports is a complex, resource-intensive process for any business, whether it’s are establishing benchmarks for the first time or working towards well-specified goals. GRESB has successfully streamlined the reporting process, but data collection, management, and verification still pose obstacles during the annual reporting cycle.

GRESB complexity comes from the same source as its elegance. The thorough consolidation of external frameworks into one reporting tool, packaged into a seamless interface, takes much of the pain out of presenting data from your year. Often, we find that the remaining challenges stem from structuring operations to …

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COVID-19 and CLIA Expedited Certification

April 24, 2020
By Carrie Salters

With COVID-19 clinical laboratory testing continuing to ramp up throughout the United States and worldwide, Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) applications for registration are continuing to increase. In response to the pandemic, the federal government is taking unprecedented action to ensure laboratories in the United States wishing to test for COVID-19 are expedited through the CLIA certificate application process.

On March 26, 2020, the Department of Health & Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Center for Clinical Standards and Quality/Survey & Certification Group issued a memorandum reference number QSO-20-21-CLIA regarding CLIA Laboratory Guidance During COVID-19 Public Health …

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Remote Stormwater Regulatory Compliance

April 10, 2020
By Brian Schefke

In this time of social distancing due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s challenging to comply with regulatory requirements due to disruptions in business operations or lowered staff availability. Despite these challenges, there isn’t a legal mechanism that relieves businesses of their duty of regulatory compliance. The pandemic and efforts to fight it continue, yet rain will still fall and stormwater must continue to be managed to reduce pollutants entering our waters.

Many businesses have shifted, at least in the short term, to remote work wherever possible. There’s a number of business functions that you can do remotely, and stormwater regulatory …

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USCG Crackdown on TPO Inspections of Quality Management Systems

April 6, 2020
By Carrie Salters

On March 31, 2020, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) updated CG-CVC Mission Management System Work Instructions CVC-WI-005(2) Request For Recognized Organization Internal Quality Management System Review – “Quality Case” to inform USCG Marine Inspectors to “evaluate situations where objective evidence indicates that a potential failure of a Recognized Organization (RO) or a Third Party Organization (TPO) under 46 CFR Subchapter M Quality Management System (QMS) resulted in the failure to adequately perform delegated functions under mandatory IMO instruments or national legislation and regulations on behalf of the Coast Guard.”

It further states that “delegated functions” is defined as synonymous …

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