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MPCA proposes clearer requirements for industrial stormwater management

BAXTER—The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) proposed today clearer requirements for companies covered under its industrial stormwater general permit. With the existing permit set to expire in 2020, the MPCA is seeking the public's input on the proposed permit to ensure Minnesota's waters are protected.

The industrial stormwater general permit requires Minnesota businesses that store materials outside or perform certain types of work in the open to control rain and snow melt runoff from their properties. Stormwater runoff can carry pollutants into nearby bodies of water. The permit applies to more than 4,000 businesses in Minnesota, including salvage yards and scrap recyclers, landfills, airports, trucking companies, food processors, and manufacturers.

"Managing stormwater runoff from industrial facilities, as well as construction sites and city pavements, is a critical part of improving and protecting water quality in Minnesota," said Katrina Kessler, MPCA's assistant commissioner for water, in a news release. "The MPCA's goal is to protect Minnesota's waters while ensuring our permitting process is effective and efficient. The proposed permit changes balance both goals."

A general permit covers multiple entities with similar operations and types of water-quality protection concerns. When general permits are a feasible option, issuing them allows for faster and more efficient permitting compared to issuing individual permits.

The proposed changes incorporate feedback from industry leaders and business owners covered by the permit. One change affects companies, such as landfills, that use earth movers daily. The proposed permit makes it clearer that such businesses don't require a separate construction stormwater permit for earth-moving activities.

In another change, airports that do not use de-icing chemicals would no longer be required to test their discharges for the chemical components in de-icers.

The MPCA is seeking additional input on the proposed permit, which is open for public comment until 4:30 p.m. on June 18, 2019. You can read the proposed permit on the MPCA's Public Notices webpage. Submit comments via mail to Samantha Adams, MPCA, 7678 College Road, Suite 105, Baxter, MN, 56425; or by email to SW.permit.mpca@state.mn.us.