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Stormwater permit and management compliance

Author: BLR

Stormwater runoff is a major problem, polluting rivers, lakes, streams, and coastal waters. The runoff accumulates debris, chemicals, sediment, or other pollutants that could impact water quality if the runoff is discharged untreated. It can also cause a major compliance headache. Under federal EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES program, stormwater discharges from thousands of industrial facilities, municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s), and construction sites require a stormwater permit and a stormwater pollution prevention plan, or SWPPP.

The EPA developed the NPDES program under the Clean Water Act to regulate wastewater and stormwater discharge sources and has delegated this permitting authority to most states. Not securing a permit or complying with stormwater permit conditions can—and will—hurt you.


  • A New York developer paid a $100,000 settlement for violations of the terms of a construction stormwater permit and had to stop work on the site until its SWPPP was approved.
  • A California container terminal company was fined $47,100 for failing to implement best management practices, or BMPs, and for failing to develop an adequate SWPPP for company operations.

Keep your stormwater permit and management program updated

Fines for stormwater permit violations can reach well over $51,000 per day! If your facility, construction site, or municipal discharge system is regulated for stormwater runoff, you must have either an individual stormwater permit or a general stormwater permit, or you could face civil or criminal penalties.

Obtaining a permit is far from the only obligation you must fulfill—numerous permit conditions apply, and you must have the proper tools and an adequate SWPPP for stormwater monitoring, training, recordkeeping, and reporting. Remember, federal and state authorities have the right to inspect to see if a facility or site is in compliance. For environmental compliance support, BLR offers a wide array of EHS management solutions.