Spring has sprung, and change is in the air including Compliance News. In addition to our traditional content, we will be including new insights from BC’s subject matter experts and highlights of real-life examples. We hope that you enjoy this new format.

Ask an Expert: MSGP
With the EPA’s recent revisions to the Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) in effect, we kick off our new “Ask an Expert” feature with a look at what impacts these changes may have on facilities and how and when to prepare from insight provided by BC’s featured expert Elizabeth Wilson. Read “Ask an Expert”

Climate and ESG disclosure focus of new task force
Consistent with increasing investor focus on climate and sustainability, the SEC recently announced creation of a Climate and Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) task force to identify and analyze climate and sustainability disclosure and compliance issues and violations. The task force’s findings will help bring a more comprehensive framework to public company filings, which will be valuable for investors as they make their investment decisions.

$6.1M in fines: EPA Q1 enforcement roundup
In the first quarter of 2021, the EPA finalized 290 settlement agreements with companies small and large across the United States. This increase in fines (compared against the fourth quarter of 2020) illustrates the EPA’s commitment to enforcing their regulations from Clean Air Act (CAA) to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and beyond.

Ask an Expert

Our debut “Ask an Expert” feature highlights BC subject matter expert Elizabeth Wilson on new changes in the 2021 Multi-Sector General Permit.

Question: What do the new changes in the 2021 Multi-Sector General Permit mean for my facility? How and when should I prepare?

Answer: The long-awaited revisions to the Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) have been released and whether your facility is affected immediately or is likely to be in the next few years, now is the time to plan ahead.

If your facility is in Idaho, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C.; or is a federal facility in Colorado, CE, Vermont, or Washington; or certain oil and gas facilities in Oklahoma or Texas, you should be reviewing lessons learned during coverage under the 2015 MSGP, developing and updating your Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan, and preparing to file your Notice of Intent by the May 30, 2021, deadline.
For facilities in other states, your state will likely adopt similar revisions after the next permit expiration year. This means you can start preparing now, too.

While permit revisions will affect facilities in different sectors in different ways, there are several areas that you may want to explore more closely.

Benchmark values
In some cases, thresholds and/or their units of measurement (e.g., mg/L to μg/L) have been changed. Paying close attention to these changes will help more readily compare your sampling results to the MSGP benchmark concentrations.

Coal-tar sealcoat application
Indicator monitoring for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is a requirement for operators in all industrial sectors with stormwater discharges from paved surfaces that will be initially sealed or resealed with a coal-tar sealcoat. However, the EPA indicated that simply applying coal-tar sealant does not constitute an industrial activity. This is good news for facilities that meet the No Exposure Certification criteria now but plan to sealcoat paved surfaces in the future.

Indicator monitoring (e.g., pH, TSS, COD) is a new requirement for certain industrial sectors under the MSGP. Monitoring in Year 4, regardless of meeting benchmark concentrations in Year 1, is also a new compliance obligation for all facilities.

Additional implementation measures
This tiered process for addressing benchmark exceedances provides an escalation model for non-compliance. Staying in baseline status at the start of permit coverage by implementing effective control measures now will provide predictable costs and effort for compliance.

Elizabeth Wilson, Principal Scientist

About the experts

Meghan Krishnayya, Indianapolis, is the Compliance & Permitting Service Line Director for Brown and Caldwell, with expertise in environmental regulatory program strategy development and implementation.

Elizabeth Wilson is Principal Scientist, Environmental Compliance, for Brown and Caldwell. She is based in New Hampshire, and has 16 years of environmental consulting and industry experience.

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