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Fiddler González & Rodríguez, P.S.C., P.O. Box 363507, San Juan, PR 00936-3507. Our fax (787) 759-3108.

 

We welcome your questions and comments.


Juan Carlos Gómez Escarce
(787) 759-3166

jgomez@fgrlaw.com

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(787) 759-3173

mlgonzal@fgrlaw.com

 

Eduardo Negrón Navas

(787) 759-3106

enegron@fgrlaw.com

Pedro J. Reyes Bibiloni

(787) 759-3208

preyes@fgrlaw.com

 

4 June 8, 2016

 

EPA PROPOSES REVISIONS TO THE NPDES REGULATION

 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed revisions to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulation to, among others, eliminate permit application and regulatory inconsistencies, remove outdated provisions, and improve transparency and oversight. The proposed regulatory changes are in the major categories of the permit application, the water quality-based permitting process, the permit objection documentation and process efficiencies, the vessels exclusion, and the water quality certificate process of section 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA).

 

EPA proposed to add a definition of pesticides applications to waters of the United States to mean point source discharges to waters of the United States resulting from the application of biological pesticides or chemical pesticides that leave a residue. The definition of proposed permit will include a state-issued permit, and the definition of whole effluent toxicity would specify that toxicity can include acute and chronic effects. The proposed changes to the vessels exclusion (not subject to an NPDES permit) include discharges incidental to the normal operation of recreational vessels and discharges incidental to the operation of vessels of the Armed Forces. Ballast water discharges are not covered by the vessels exclusion.

 

EPA proposed, among others, the following revisions to the NPDES permit application to require: (1) inclusion of the NAICS codes in addition to the SIC code; (2) latitude and longitude to the nearest second; (3) submission of effluent data no later than 18 months after the commencement of discharge; (4) consistency between the NPDES application for publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) and the general pretreatment regulation; (5) submission of effluent data of the previous 4.5 years for non-POTWs; (6) applicants to indicate if the facility uses cooling water and if they are requesting a variance; and (7) inclusion of a reference to section 131.12 of 40 CFR, to ensure consistency with the state antidegradation policy.

 

EPA also proposed to revise the CWA section 401 water quality certification (the Certification) regulatory provisions to allow that a federal NPDES permit can be modified to add permit conditions based on more stringent Certification provisions resulting from state or judicial decisions after the permit is issued. These modifications may be requested by anyone, not only by the permittee.

 

The entities potentially affected by the proposed rules are the industries, municipalities, any person or government instrumentality that runs POTWs, and states, territorial and Indian Tribal governments. Comments must be submitted to EPA on or before July 18, 2016.

 

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