Lisa Kay, President
For businesses and municipalities alike, staying on top of regulatory compliance is often a challenge. In this newsletter issue we bring you updated information about pending changes to Health Risk Assessments that will likely make air quality permits more challenging to obtain for industry, as well as, provide information about new regulations and requirements for property owners relative to energy efficiency. We highlight a new Alta project win that will improve County facilities, and we share additional insights about the new General Industrial Storm Water Permit. It’s our business to help you stay ahead of compliance challenges.
Stormwater violations are driving a lot of activity– a trend worth paying attention to and developing strategies to avoid; from third party lawsuits against businesses to municipal MS4 violations. I attended the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board Hearing on August 13 where the City of San Diego’s settlement for storm water violations was accepted. The agreement ultimately requires the city to pay nearly $1M for multiple storm-water violations found at hundreds of public and private developments throughout the city in 2010. Of the projects found having inadequate or non-functional storm water BMPs (best management practices) for treating runoff, a total of 142 were private projects which will be receiving Civil Penalty Notices over the next few months to come into compliance.
As a result of the settlement agreement, the City will be finalizing a Compliance Plan in September 2015 to bring all private and public projects into compliance with the permit requirements by August of 2016. The City committed to training of their inspectors and increased inspections, as well as, improved coordination between various City departments having responsibility for both public facilities, the issuance of private project construction permits, and industrial storm water compliance. The news article from the original April 2014 proposed settlement can be read HERE.
Cities and Counties are all complying with relatively new MS4 NPDES Storm Water Permits from San Diego to Ventura County and into the Inland Empire. Los Angeles County’s recent MS4 Permit was issued in 2012, San Diego County’s in 2013, Long Beach was issued in 2014 and Orange County should be finalized in 2014. These permits increase requirements for monitoring, inspections, industrial and residential inspection programs, and storm water treatment BMPs.
In addition to the new municipal permits, the State Water Board finalized the Industrial General Storm Water Permit this year. This permit includes many light industries who were previously exempt from the prior Industrial Permit. Many businesses are not yet aware of the looming deadlines or the new requirements and are not prepared. In August, Alta partnered with the City of Oceanside to help provide information on the new requirements to local businesses. The penalties can be stiff, non-compliance with the permit can result in civil liability of up to $37,500 per day. Further, the new permit includes a requirement that data be loaded into a State database which is publically available and easy to search and query. It can be used to evaluate information about a specific business, or determine if a specific business has filed for coverage under the permit. At Alta we have recently seen a significant increase in our technical support to law firms who are representing businesses being challenged by environmental advocacy group law firms for Clean Water Act violations. “Over the last three years, Waterkeeper says it has investigated 40 facilities, filed 14 lawsuits and settled 8 cases,” according to an April 8, 2014 Los Angeles Times article. It is anticipated that the new increased industrial permit requirements combined with the ready access to publically available information will result in even more such lawsuits for industries.
For more information and tips to protect your operation’s publicly available information read HERE. We have written a summary of new elements in this permit, it can be read HERE.
I appreciate your comments, give me a call or send me a message. Lisa Kay, President, (562) 495 5777, cell (760) 497 6287 or email lisa.kay@Altaenviron.com.