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2/21/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Ohio EPA issues draft general permit for construction storm water discharges

COLUMBUS — A general permit regulating storm water discharges from construction activities is being updated, and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a public hearing to take comments on the proposal.

The public hearing will be Feb. 25 at 3 p.m. at Ohio EPA’s central office, 50 W. Town St., in Conference Room B. The hearing will conclude after everyone has had an opportunity to comment. Visitors should bring a photo identification to register at the visitors’ desk.

The draft permit would authorize storm water discharges from construction activity that disturb one or more acres. The draft permit includes requirements for storm water pollution prevention plans used for construction projects, requiring them to minimize storm water runoff. It also sets up requirements for obtaining and terminating coverage.

In addition, proposed new requirements include:

  • changing the period a site can be left dormant from 21 to 14 days;
  • requiring surface dewatering devices for sediment ponds when feasible;
  • minimizing or preventing discharges of nonsediment pollutants;
  • adding permeable pavement as a best management practice for postconstruction practices;
  • reducing drainage times for filtration with sand and other media in bioretention areas from 40 to 24 hours; and
  • requiring a berm to cause ponding when using vegetated filter strip practices.

Several pollutants are associated with construction site discharges, including sediment, solid and sanitary wastes, fertilizer, pesticides, oil, grease, construction truck washout, construction chemicals and debris, according to Ohio EPA officials.

Statewide general permits have a five-year duration and are reviewed and revised as needed at the end of that time.

A general permit is one permit covering many locations that have similar discharges. General permits regulate discharges that will have a minimal impact on the environment. An individual could request coverage under the draft general permit by submitting an application, notice of intent and paying applicable fees.

Written comments on the draft general permit can be submitted to Ohio EPA, Division of Surface Water, Attn: Mike Joseph, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, OH 43016-1049, through March 4. Questions can be directed to michael.joseph@epa.state.oh.us.

Copies of the draft permit, the public notice and fact sheet are available at epa.ohio.gov/dsw/permits/GP_ConstructionSiteStormWater.aspx, or through inspection at any Ohio EPA district location or central office during regular business hours. A final permit will be issued following consideration of comments received.

Stephanie Kist contributed to this report.

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