5 States Reject Electronic Stormwater Reporting Requirements

Filed in Codes and Regulations, Environmental by on September 22, 2016 0 Comments

footprintUnder EPA’s recently finalized National Pollution Elimination System (NPDES) E-Reporting Rule, your state can either replace its paper-based systems with a state-run electronic reporting program or require permittees to report to feds directly using EPA’s NPDES Electronic Reporting Tool.

Five states said they’d rather EPA handle these required stormwater reports.

Builders and developers applying for coverage under a state or EPA Construction General Permit (CGP) must now submit general permit forms such as Notice of Intent for coverage (NOI), Notice of Termination (NOT) and Low Erosivity Waivers (LEWs) by uploading them to a website. The rule does not require the electronic submission of Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans, or SWPPPs.

According to EPA’s new guidelines, builders in states and territories where EPA is the primary permitting authority (Idaho, New Mexico, Massachusetts and New Hampshire), will continue to report directly to EPA using NeT and EPA’s existing eNOI system.

Now, builders in Georgia, Nebraska, Oregon and Rhode Island will need to use these tools to report to EPA directly as well. North Carolina chose to require builders to only report their LEWs directly to EPA – the NOI and NOT will continue to go to the state.

EPA’s rule became effective Dec. 21, 2015. However, after NAHB asked for a less aggressive implementation schedule, EPA agreed to allow states and authorized NPDES programs five years from that date to start requiring builders to upload their forms. It’s likely that many states will make the switch to electronic reporting when their 5-year construction general permit comes up for renewal.

HBAs should talk with state regulators early to ensure that builders are not forced to “double report” electronic data to EPA while still submitting paper forms or other additional data to state regulators.

Moving towards this new platform also means an increased potential for false or incomplete enforcement data to be published on public websites. Make sure your state ensures builders have ample opportunity to address reporting errors.

In its comments, NAHB asked that electronic reporting requirements be relaxed for rural construction sites with limited broadband access. In the final rule, EPA allows each state or authorized NPDES program to determine how it will issue waivers, subject to EPA review, and extends the total maximum waiver time from one to five years.

NAHB also voiced concern over requiring builders to use expensive authentication software to submit certified electronic signatures on compliance documents, which are required by law. EPA agreed, and so construction site operators can submit all paperwork online without one as long they print and send a signed hard copy of the forms as well.

Get more information on the final rule, or contact Environmental Policy Program Manager Eva Birk at 800 368 5242 x 8124.

Tags:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *