EPA Proposes Changes in New MSGP

In March of 2020, 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 several changes to the permit in the new version. The most substantial requested amendments are summarized below:

  • The EPA has streamlined the language of the permit for clarity and readability so that permittees can more clearly understand the requirements of the permit.
  • Under the 2015 permit, facilities in EPA Region 10 that discharge stormwater to sites under federal CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act) remediation must notify the Regional Office prior to submitting a Notice of Intent (NOI) for permit coverage. The Regional Office then determines if the facility has sufficient controls in place to prevent recontamination of the site before approval of the NOI. The EPA proposes to expand this requirement to all EPA Regions.
  • If a discharger that was not covered under the 2015 permit, submits an NOI for coverage under the new MSGP and is subject to a pending enforcement action by the EPA or pending litigation, the EPA proposes a 60-day waiting period before permit coverage is granted.
  • The EPA proposes that facilities covered under the MSGP post a sign indicating permit coverage in a publicly accessible area close to the facility.
  • The EPA proposes that facilities in areas at greater risk from flooding and extreme storm events be required to consider enhanced controls to regulate stormwater discharge.
  • The EPA proposes that all facilities, regardless of industrial sector, be required to conduct benchmark monitoring for pH, total suspended solids (TSS), and chemical oxygen demand (COD).
  • The EPA proposes adding new benchmark monitoring requirements for Sector I (Oil and Gas Extraction), Sector P (Land Transportation and Warehousing), and Sector R (Ship and Boat Building and Repair Yards).
  • The EPA proposes that, in the event of benchmark exceedances, a facility be required to implement additional control measures according to a three-tiered system. Each tier level would correspond to the magnitude of the exceedance.
  • The EPA proposes updating sector-specific fact sheets to account for new stormwater best management practices.

These changes are covered in greater detail in the EPA’s 2020 MSGP Fact Sheet.

If you need assistance with obtaining permit coverage under the new MSGP or with any other aspect of compliance with stormwater regulatory requirements, contact us at [email protected] or 206-285-9044.