2012 Construction General Permit replaces 2008 permit
Posted February 22, 2012
EPA issued the 2012 Construction General Permit (CGP) on February 16. The new CGP is required under the Clean Water Act (CWA) national pollutant discharge elimination system (NPDES) program and replaces the existing 2008 CGP, which expired on February 15, 2012. The new permit includes a number of enhanced protections for surface waters, including provisions to protect impaired and sensitive waters.
Under NPDES, permits are typically issued for a five-year period, after which time EPA generally issues revised permits based on updated information and requirements. NPDES permits control water pollution by including limits on the amount of pollutants that can be discharged into waterways by specific sources.
EPA says the updated permit also provides new flexibilities for operators. For example, it allows for emergency projects (e.g., restoration following a flood or other natural disaster) to begin immediately without permit authorization from EPA, while still retaining full authority for EPA to ensure that the project is environmentally friendly. The permit also enables operators of already permitted projects flexibility where compliance with a new permit requirement is economically impracticable.
The 2012 CGP includes steps intended to limit erosion, minimize pollution sources, provide natural buffers or their equivalent around surface waters, and further restrict discharges to areas impaired by previous pollution discharge.
Many of the permit requirements implement new effluent limitations guidelines and new source performance standards for the construction and development industry that became effective on February 1, 2010, which include pollution control techniques to decrease erosion and sediment pollution.
The permit will be effective in areas where EPA is the permitting authority: Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Washington, D.C., and most U.S. territories and tribal lands.
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