For Businesses

Industrial and Construction Stormwater Permits

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) issues a Construction General Permit (CGP) for construction activities and a Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) for industrial activities under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulations. Construction projects that disturb greater than 1 acre must apply for coverage under the CGP and certain industrial businesses must apply for coverage under the MSGP through a Notice of Intent (NOI) process. The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED), Point Source Regulation Section (PSRS) is responsible for the protection of ground and surface water and accomplish this by enforcing the Water Quality Control Commission regulations and standards dealing with point source discharges. NMED PSRS assists USEPA with implementation of the NPDES permit program by conducting federal compliance inspections.

Why do stormwater discharges from industrial and construction activities matter?

When it rains, stormwater washes over the loose soil on a construction site and can come in contact with other materials and products being stored uncovered outside at construction and industrial sites. As stormwater flows over the site, it picks up pollutants like sediment (soil), chemicals, and trash and debris, and transport them to receiving water bodies, such as the Rio Grande. Stormwater is not treated before it is discharged to the river.

Who needs to get permit coverage for construction activities?

In general, the NPDES stormwater program requires permits for discharge from construction activities that disturb one or more acres, and discharge from smaller sites that are part of a larger common plan of development or sale. Any operator of an eligible site that must obtain permit coverage must submit USEPA a Notice of Intent to be covered under the permit. The party that meets the first part of the definition of “Operator” (party that has operational control over construction plans and specifications, including the ability to make modifications to those plans and specifications) in most cases will be the owner of the site. The party that meets the second part of the definition of “Operator” (the party that has day-to-day operational control of those activities) in most cases will be the general contractor.

Who needs to get permit coverage for industrial activities?

Businesses with specific categories of industrial activities are required to obtain MSGP coverage for stormwater discharges. Some examples of the general types of industrial activities include heavy manufacturing (paper mills, chemical plants, petroleum refineries, metal fabrication, and others); coal and mineral mining; oil and gas exploration and processing; facilities that deal with hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal; landfills; metal, salvage, and automobile scrap yards; some power generating plants; transportation facilities that include vehicle maintenance, equipment cleaning, or airport deicing operations; facilities treating domestic sewage of 1 million gallons/day or more; an light manufacturing (food processing, printing/publishing, electronic /electrical equipment manufacturing, public warehousing and storage, and others). A full list of industrial activities that require permit coverage can be found in Appendix D and Appendix N of the 2021 MSGP.