Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Environmental Quality
State Water Control Board
General VPDES Permit for Discharges of Stormwater from Construction Activities (formerly Part XIV, 4VAC50-60) [9 VAC 25 ‑ 880]
Action Amend and Reissue the General Permit for Discharges of Stormwater from Construction Activities
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ended on 6/7/2013
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6/7/13  3:29 pm
Commenter: June Whitehurst, City of Norfolk Storm Water Management

City of Norfolk CGP Comments

The City of Norfolk appreciates the opportunity to participate in the public comment period for the Construction General Permit. Although DCR and DEQ staff worked hard to complete this process, we believe there are some items which were not adequately resolved during the RAP process. In the interest of achieving compliance when VSMP Authority (local) Programs begin enforcing the Construction General Permit, we would like to offer the following comments on the Construction General Permit, February 11, 2013 Version published for public comment on 4/8/2013:

  1. The option of simply “every four days” for self-inspection was never discussed, nor endorsed, by the RAP. The proposed language is suggested to state self-inspect “every four working days”. Without this change, compliance with this requirement will be extremely difficult and burdensome on a majority of permittees, and enforcement at the local level will be equally difficult and burdensome, therefore setting both the permittee and municipality for non-compliance..
  2. Line 38, the definition of “Immediately” (which defines the deadline for initiating stabilization measures) needs to include an exception for documented weather or emergency events. For example, if there is a heavy precipitation event on the next work day following the day when earth-disturbing activities have temporarily or permanently ceased, it may not be possible to “immediately” initiate stabilization measures.
  3. 4VAC50-60-1150 A.1. requires that permit coverage be obtained through the state’s electronic database (“e-permitting”), but also that a complete (paper) registration statement be submitted to the VSMP authority. Since the VSMP authority is not technically issuing permit coverage, they should not be receiving paper registration statements. We recommend that, if a paper registration statement is required, that it should be submitted to DEQ, not the VSMP authority program.
  4. 4VAC50-60-1150 A.3.a. has conflicting language requiring that, in order to continue existing permit coverage, that all information be entered into the available electronic database 90 days prior to the effective date of this general permit, but then goes on to state that there is a June 1 reapplication date. 90 days would be some time around April 1. The deadline date (April 1 or June 1) needs to be resolved and the language corrected throughout the regulation.
  5. 4VAC50-60-1160. Termination of state permit coverage has requirements that the operator electronically enter a significant amount of detailed information to the state database in order to terminate permit coverage. We strongly recommend that these requirements be simplified and that this detailed information be collected from the VSMP authority programs to maintain consistency and accuracy. Additionally, the requirement for both electronic and paper copies of the termination documents should not be necessary. Coordination between the VSMP Authority and DEQ through the state’s electronic database should be able to satisfy the termination requirement.
  6. 4VAC50-60-1170.B.3. Limitations on coverage for discharges to impaired waters. Is DEQ going to provide a means for permittees to identify whether their sites are located within TMDL watersheds as well as the TMDLs which address “pollutants of concern”? There is a definite need for a statewide system or methodology to make these determinations with certainty and consistency. Our understanding is that the new electronic database (“e-permitting”) was originally designed with this capability, but that the project has been scaled back and may not include GIS capabilities at this time.
  7. The term “common plan of development” on lines 306 and 704 requires further definition and clarification. During the RAP process DCR staff referenced the EPA definition which is included in 4VAC 50-60-10, however, this definition is vague and requirements have historically not been enforced consistently. This leaves the local programs vulnerable to being burdened with many non-compliant lots on July 1, 2014.  DCR committed to providing further guidance on this issue at some point in the future, but lacking this guidance the definition remains open to interpretation. As a result, each local VSMP authority program will, by necessity, develop guidance which meets the needs and intent of their program.

Additional Concerns Related to the Construction General Permit:

  1. Which entity (DEQ or VSMP Authority) will be enforcing Construction General Permits which were issued or continued prior to July 1, 2014? This issue was not addressed in the VSMP Regulations. We are concerned about the current compliance status, the timely transition of these permits, and staffing levels to handle these additional inspections and the definition of common plan of development.
  2. How does DEQ plan to publicize the “e-permitting” system? Will there still be a means for an applicant to submit a paper registration statement only in order to obtain permit coverage? We are concerned that the burden of training system users and implementation of this system will fall to the VSMP authority (local) programs and that we will not have adequate staffing to handle this work load.
  3. For construction activities >2500 square feet, but <1 acre located within a Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act area which are currently covered under a Construction General Permit, does DEQ plan to terminate coverage on or prior to July 1, 2014 since these activities will no longer require Construction General Permit coverage after July 1, 2014?
  4. Training/Certification for the new regulations is only mandated for municipal staff that perform site plan review or inspection, why is the state not setting up an additional training session for contractors to train them on the requirement of the permits, similar to the RDL program?
CommentID: 28488