The EPA has modified the permit conditions specific to construction activities covered under EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Storm Water Discharges from Construction Activities. These final NPDES construction general permits (commonly referred to collectively as the CGP) for discharges from large (five acres or more) and small (one to five acres) construction activities were published on July 1, 2003 (68 FR 39087) and August 4, 2003 (68 FR 45817). The CGP and accompanying fact sheet are available on EPA’s Internet Web site at:
www.epa.gov/npdes/cgp. These general permits are available for use where EPA is the NPDES permitting authority in EPA Regions 1-3 and 5-10. The revisions clarify that only sites covered by this permit can be subject to noncompliance with the permit. In addition, the EPA has corrected a typographical error in the permit and a corresponding error in the fact sheet. This permit modification is effective on January 21, 2005.
Note that the EPA has expressed a much different interpretation of the “oil and gas exemption” for Storm Water Permits than most oil and gas operators believe to be correct. EPA’s position is that the “construction” of an oil and gas facility (such as a drill well pad) is NOT exempt from the Storm Water Permitting requirements. We understand that EPA headquarters intends to provide guidance to E&P; operators prior to the March 10, 2005 implementation deadline.