Indiana Department of Environmental Management Approves Adoption of NPDES General Permit Amendments and Revisions

On August 14, 2019, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) preliminarily adopted proposed changes to the updated National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit Program, which includes new rules and amendments to 327 IAC 5 (Industrial Wastewater Pretreatment Programs and NPDES) and 327 IAC 15 (NPDES General Permit Rule Program). The changes were in response to objections raised by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and were intended to resolve issues associated with conflicts of interest and timely renewal of permits. 

In Indiana, NPDES permits are issued by IDEM as delegated authority by the U.S. EPA with the purpose of controlling point source discharge of pollutants into the waters of the State in order to maintain water quality in accordance with the federal Clean Water Act. The General Permit is the NPDES permit program that provides a streamlined permitting process for certain classes or categories of industrial point source discharges under the requirements of the applicable general permit rule rather than the requirements of an individual permit.

The proposed rulemaking will transition three of the NPDES permit-by-rule general permits to administratively issued permits.

  • Rule 5: Storm Water Run-Off Associated with Construction Activity
  • Rule 13: Storm Water Run-Off Associated with Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Conveyances
  • Rule 14: On-Site Residential Sewage Discharging Disposal Systems within the Allen County On-Site Waste Management District

Of the 10 general permits categorized under the NPDES General Permit Program, those three permits join the five permits already transitioned to the same process in July 2015.

  • Noncontact cooling water (327 IAC 15-8)
  • Petroleum product terminals (327 IAC 15-9)
  • Groundwater petroleum remediation systems (327 IAC 15-10)
  • Hydrostatic testing of commercial pipelines (327 IAC 15-11)
  • Sand, gravel, dimension stone, or crushed stone operations (327 IAC 15-12)

Prior to 2015, all 10 general permits were issued via a permit-by-rule process, meaning the general permits were issued by IDEM’s Environmental Rules Board. An administratively issued permit process means that the authority and issuance of general permits is processed by the IDEM commissioner.

A public hearing for final adoption of the proposed rulemaking will be held on February 12, 2020, at the Indiana Government Center South, 10 Senate Avenue, Conference Room A, Indianapolis, Indiana.

The two remaining permit-by-rule permits will be converted to administratively issued permits in future rulemaking.

  • Rule 6: Storm Water Discharges Exposed to Industrial Activity
  • Rule 7: Facilities Engaged in Mining of Coal, Coal Processing, and Reclamation Activities

For more information on Articles 5 and 15 of Title 327 (Water Pollution Control Division) of the Indiana Administrative Code, visit the Indiana General Assembly’s website.

If you have questions regarding this proposed rulemaking or wish to discuss any environmental issues, please contact Nate Hyde at 317-655-7777 or by email at nhyde@cecinc.com

This is the first of a series of blog posts summarizing regulatory updates concerning environmental compliance in Indiana.

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