Frequently Asked Questions for State’s New Construction General Permit (CGP) effective July 1, 2010 as They Apply to Traditional Construction Sites
The following FAQ was developed by the State Water Resources Control Board with some changes made by City staff to make the information more relevant to construction projects within the City of Davis. The FAQ’s are grouped into categories to help you find information relevant to: the applicability of the permit, the application process, permit duration and transferability, reporting and monitoring, qualifications and training required to develop SWPPPs and inspect projects under the SWPPP.
Applicability of the Permit
How do I know if I need this permit?
Construction activity resulting in a land disturbance of one acre or more, or less than one acre but part of a larger common plan of development or sale must obtain the Construction Activities Storm Water General Permit (2009-0009-DWQ Permit). Construction activity includes clearing, grading, excavation, stockpiling, and reconstruction of existing facilities involving removal and replacement. Construction activity does not include routine maintenance such as, maintenance of original line and grade, hydraulic capacity, or original purpose of the facility.
Are there other requirements I should be aware of when applying for this permit?
There may be other permits or requirements in addition to the 2009-0009-DWQ Permit. For example, you may also need a streambed alteration agreement from the Department of Fish and Game, a Water Quality Certification (Clean Water Act Section 401) as administered by the State and Regional Water Quality Control Boards, and/or Clean Water Act Section 404 permit administered by the U. S. Army Corp. of Engineers. Contact the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board to determine if other permits are required for your construction activity at (916) 464-3291.
Who should apply, and who is the proper signatory?
The 2009-0009-DWQ Permit states the Legally Responsible Person (LRP) or a person legally authorized to sign and certify on behalf of the LRP is responsible for obtaining permit coverage.
What are the fees associated with the Permit?
The annual fees are based on total disturbed area of the construction project in acres. See the State Water Resources Board fee schedule for a list of fees by acres. You will continue to receive an annual invoice until your project is complete and a Notice of Termination (NOT) is electronically submitted and approved by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. Projects continuing from the 99-08-DWQ Permit into the 2009-0009-DWQ Permit will pay the annual fees based on their current billing cycle.
Who do I contact for questions regarding an invoice?
If you have questions regarding outstanding invoices or payments please contact the State Water Resources Control Board Fee Unit at (916) 341-5247.
How do I apply for coverage?
For new projects commencing on or after July 1, 2010, an LRP must electronically submit Permit Registration Documents (PRDs) prior to commencement of construction activities in the Storm water Multi- Application Report Tracking System (SMARTS). PRDs consist of the Notice of Intent (NOI), Risk Assessment, Post-Construction Calculations, a Site Map, the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), a signed certification statement by the LRP, and the first annual fee.
How long will it take for me to get my WDID number after I submit my PRDs to SMARTS? Is there a staff or public review process before the WDID is issued?
PRDs consist of the Notice of Intent, Risk Assessment, Post-Construction Calculations, a Site Map, the SWPPP, a signed certification statement by the LRP, and the first annual fee. Once these components have been submitted and are deemed complete by the SMARTS system, a WDID number will automatically be emailed to the LRP.
How long are PRDs available online after the WDID number is terminated?
PRDs and other reports will be available to the public to view for 5 years after the NOT approval date.
How can I find out the status of my permit?
LRPs can log into the SMARTS system to obtain the status, or can download or search the construction storm water database
Reporting Process (SMARTS)
Will SMARTS track enforcement data as well?
Yes. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board will enter their inspection and enforcement data into SMARTS.
When will the SMARTS system be available?
The SMARTS system will be available by July 1, 2010 for electronic filing of PRDs. It is anticipated that the system may be available prior to July 1st to allow for early submission of PRDs.
Permit Duration / Transferability
How long is my permit in effect?
Your coverage under the 2009-0009-DWQ Permit remains in effect until a NOT is submitted in SMARTS and approved by each Regional Water Board that your project resides in. If the Regional Water Board denies the NOT, you are responsible for any missed or outstanding invoices. For outstanding invoices, a complete NOT must be received by the Regional Water Board 90 days from the original invoice date in order to cancel the invoice. If a complete NOT is received after 90 days, the invoice is deemed valid and payable.
Can I terminate or sell a portion of my project?
Yes, the 2009-0009-DWQ Permit allows a discharger to terminate portions of a construction project if those portions have been sold to another owner. The permit is not transferable, so the responsibility to obtain permit coverage, update the SWPPP, and comply with permit requirements becomes that of the new owner. The seller must notify the new owner about his/her responsibilities concerning the permit, and must notify the State Water Board by submitting the new owner's name, address, and phone number on the Change of Information (COI) form for the termination to be processed. The seller must also disclose the state of construction, primarily if construction activity is ongoing, or if the post-construction requirements are completed.
What if I sell the property prior to completing the construction?
The new owner must submit new PRDs within 30 days of the date of change of ownership. For ongoing construction activity involving a change of ownership, the new owner must review the existing SWPPP, determine if it is appropriate for the construction activity being undertaken. If it is not in compliance, then the SWPPP must be amended, or a new SWPPP developed.
When do I have to implement post-construction requirements?
The post-construction requirements become mandatory on September 2, 2012. On a case by case basis, dischargers may request an extension from the Executive Officer of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.
If my site is still active after September 2012 but I file a COI to reduce my acreage, do the post-construction requirements apply to the completed portion?
No. If you file a COI to reduce your acreage prior to September 2012, then only the remaining disturbed acreage would need to comply with the post construction requirements.
After a project is grandfathered into coverage under the new CGP at risk level 1 (type 1), can the State Water Board or Regional Water Board change that project's risk level?
Yes, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has the authority to require a risk determination be performed on grandfathered projects that have a history of non-compliance with the 99-08-DWQ, 99-06-DWQ, and 2003-0007-DWQ Permits, or where the project poses a significant threat to water quality without the implementation of the additional Risk Level 2 or 3 requirements.
Will grandfathered construction projects need to have their SWPPPs developed by a Qualified SWPPP Developer (QSD)?
Yes, after July 1, 2010 all SWPPPs and SWPPP updates entered into the SMARTS system must be certified by an individual holding one of the certifications/registrations listed in Section VII of the 2009-0009-DWQ Permit. Effective two years after the permit adoption (September 2, 2011), the QSD must have also attended the State Water Board sponsored or approved QSD Training Course.
For grandfathered projects, can existing SWPPPs be submitted during the PRD process, or does the SWPPP need to be amended/adjusted to reflect the new CGP?
The SWPPPs must be amended to meet the minimum criteria listed in Section XIV, SWPPP Requirements, and Attachment C, Risk Level 1 Requirements, of the CGP.
Training and Qualifications to Prepare SWPPPs and Inspect Projects
Does the Qualified SWPPP Practitioner (QSP) need to have the pre-qualifications listed in Section VII of the 2009-0009-DWQ Permit by July 1, 2010?
No. Effective September 2, 2011, the QSP shall have one of the pre-qualifications listed in Section VII of the 2009-0009-DWQ Permit and shall have attended the State Water Board sponsored or approved QSP Training Course. Between July 1, 2010 and September 2, 2011 anyone can be a QSP.
What kind of training is required for our company's site superintendents? Can we hire one QSP to train all of them?
Yes, one QSP can train all company superintendents. However, the Regional Water Board inspectors may ask to meet and/or conduct an inspection with the QSP responsible for a particular project/site, and that individual should be accessible. The QSP is responsible for the implementation of BMPs on each construction project, not the trained superintendents.
Can a QSD or QSP be an independent contractor?
Is the QSD and/or QSP responsible for project compliance, or the project owner?
The LRP is always ultimately responsible for project compliance. This individual must certify the PRDs and will be the recipient of any Notices of Violations or Administrative Civil Liabilities (fines) for the project.
How can I become a QSD/ QSP?
Section VII of the 2009-0009-DWQ Permit lists pre-qualifications for the QSD and QSP. In addition to meeting one of the listed pre-qualifications, an individual must have attended a State Water Board sponsored or approved QSD/QSP training course. See the CSQA website to obtain information on this training course.
How much will it cost to take the State Sponsored QSD/QSP Training course?
Costs will vary. Since private training vendors who have been selected/approved to work as “trainers of record” and “specialized trainer” (through a structured Request for Qualifications process) will offer their own training courses. Each course will be required to be a certain length (i.e., minimum training hours for each required module; likely 2-3 days per designation) and follow prescribed standards, but training courses will vary in specific content/approach and are expected to vary in cost.
Where can I get information on QSD/QSP pre-requisite programs to see if I am eligible?
Pre-Requisite QSD Certifications/Registrations:
- California Board for Professional California Registered Professional Civil Engineer
- California Registered Professional Geologist or Engineering Geologist
- California Registered Landscape Architect
- Hydrologist registered through the American Institute of Hydrology
- Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC) registered through Enviro Cert International Inc.
- Certified Professional in Storm Water Quality (CPSWQ) registered through Enviro Cert International Inc.
- Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control registered through the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET)
- Certified erosion, sediment and storm water inspector through Enviro Cert International Inc.
- Certified Inspector of Sediment and Erosion Control registered through Certified Inspector of Sediment and Erosion Control Inc. (CISEC)
What is the role of the local municipality in reviewing/enforcing the SWPPP?
The local municipal storm water programs and the CGP requirements intentionally have some overlap/redundancy. However, the local municipality has no authority to enforce the State's CGP requirements; this is done by the Regional Water Board inspectors. Typically, the local agency is responsible for ensuring compliance with local storm water ordinance which prohibits sediment and other pollutants from entering the municipal separate storm sewer system, and with a local grading ordinance which typically requires an erosion and sediment control plan (typically a sheet in the construction plan set) for projects with a grading permit. In some cases, the local municipality may have a condition in their MS4 storm water permit requiring the agency to check that certain items are included in the SWPPP. This does not constitute approval of the SWPPP and the review is typically conducted prior to issuing a grading permit.
Reporting and Monitoring Requirements
Who is responsible for preparing and implementing the Rain Event Action Plan (REAP)? Do you have to be a QSP?
The project QSP must develop and be in responsible charge of implementing the REAP. A QSD may also implement the REAP if they are also in responsible charge for implementing the SWPPP onsite. The REAP is a living document specific to a project site. A new REAP must be prepared/revised specific to each forecasted qualifying rain event (any likely precipitation event forecast of 50% or greater probability). However, some of the REAPs for an individual project might look similar for each construction phase.
When do I need to develop a REAP?
A REAP must be developed 48 hours prior to any likely precipitation event. (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – 50 percent or greater probability of producing precipitation) This is determined by:
- Visit the NOAA Website
- Enter your zip code or city & state in the search box and click “go”
- Scroll down to the bottom right hand of the page under “Additional Forecasts & Information”
- Click on “Forecast Weather Table Interface” at the bottom of the section
Where can I get copies of inspection forms?
The 2009-0009-DWQ Permit lists minimum criteria required for an inspection checklist. Dischargers may develop their own inspection forms, or may contact their local Regional Water Board for an inspection form if one is available.
What is a Sediment Sensitive Watershed?
A sediment sensitive watershed drains into a receiving water body (1) listed on Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approved Clean Water Act (CWA) 303 (d) list for sedimentation/siltation, turbidity with an approved Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL): or (2) designated with beneficial uses of SPAWN, MIGRATORY and COLD.
Once a phase of my construction project has commenced, can I re-calculate my risk level based on existing site conditions? If found to be different from the initial risk, can I resubmit the new risk level with a COI?
No. The only scenario where risk can be recalculated based on existing site conditions would be if there is a change in ownership or if a portion of the project is sold. For all other projects, the initial risk calculated during PRD submittal applies until an NOT is filed.
How does the 500 NTU turbidity NEL relate to the Basin Plan turbidity standards for receiving waters? How will the local Regional Water Board inspectors enforce this?
The 500 NTU turbidity NEL is a technology based effluent limitation that applies to storm water discharges leaving the project boundaries. The Basin Plan turbidity standards are water quality based effluent limitations that apply to receiving waters. The Regional Water Boards will continue to enforce their Basin Plan standards where projects are found to discharge directly into a receiving water body.
Where can I obtain guidance for pH and turbidity sampling?
The Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP) has a Guidance Compendium for Watershed Monitoring and Assessment. Sections 3.1.4 and 3.1.5 of this Compendium contain guidance for pH and turbidity sampling. A SWAMP Field Methods Course training CD is also available for the public. Please contact State Stormwater Program to request a copy.
Where can I obtain guidance for Bioassessment Monitoring?
SWAMP 2007 Bioassessment Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) includes standard operating procedures for bioassessment. See the following web Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP) for these procedures.
Please clarify the meaning and use of the term “direct discharge”
The CGP glossary (Appendix 5) defines direct discharge as “a discharge that is routed directly to waters of the US by means of a pipe, channel, or ditch (including a municipal storm sewer system), or through surface runoff. Discharges from a construction site to a MS4 where commingling with upstream and/or downstream discharges can occur are not considered ‘direct discharges’.”
Will local municipalities be revising their storm water quality development standards to be consistent with the post-construction requirements in the CGP?
Projects located within an area subject to post-construction standards of an active Phase I or II MS4 permit that has an approved Storm Water Management Plan are exempt from the post-construction requirements in the CGP.
What are the training requirements to operate and maintain an Active Treatment System (ATS)?
Order No. 2009-009-DWQ requires that all ATS operators have training specific to using ATS’s liquid coagulants. By July 1, 2010, projects requiring the usage of an ATS are to be operated and maintained by Certified ATS operators.
- Training shall be in a form of a formal class with a certificate and requirements for testing and certificate renewal.
- Training shall include a minimum of eight hours classroom and 32 hours field training.
What is the difference between the LRP, Approved Signatory, and Data Submitter?
- The LRP is the person who possesses the title of the land or the leasehold interest of a mineral estate upon which the construction activities will occur for the regulated site. For linear underground/overhead projects, it is the person in charge of the utility company, municipality, or other public or private company or agency that owns or operates the linear underground/overhead project.
- The Approved Signatory is a person who has legal authority to sign, certify, and electronically submit PRDs and NOTs on behalf of the LRP.
- The Data Submitter is any individual authorized by the LRP or an Approved Signatory to enter data on behalf of the LRP or Approved Signatory. A data submitter may be other employees, contractors, labs, etc.
What documents must be submitted to the State Water Board and Regional Water Boards?
Document developer/Certifier timeline Annual Report Discharger September 1st Employee Training Documentation Discharger In Annual Report ATS Operation & Maintenance (O&M) Plan Discharger Develop prior to implementation of an ATS system ATS Plan Discharger Submitted 14 days prior to implementation of an ATS system ATS QA/QC Plan Discharger Develop prior to implementation of an ATS system Construction Site Monitoring Program (CSMP) Discharger In SWPPP as an appendix or chapter NAL Exceedance Report Discharger Submitted upon request by the Regional Board NEL Violation Report Discharger Submitted within 24 hours after NEL exceedance has been identified NOT LRP Upon completion of construction or change in ownership PRDs LRP Submitted for permit coverage – NOI LRP In PRD package – Risk Assessment LRP In PRD package – Site Map LRP In PRD package – SWPPP QSD In PRD package – Certification Statement LRP In PRD package – Post-Construction Calculations LRP In PRD package (if applicable) – ATS System Design LRP In PRD package (if applicable) – Soil Particle Size Analysis LRP In PRD package (if applicable) – Annual Fee Discharger In PRD package Rainfall Erosivity Waiver Certification LRP In PRD package (if applicable)
Do all projects need to submit an Annual Report?
Annual Reports must be submitted by projects that are enrolled under 2009-0009-DWQ for more than one continuous three-month period. The Annual Reports will be submitted electronically via SMARTS.
Where can I get guidance for on-site rain gauge installation and reading?
The SWAMP has a Guidance Compendium for Watershed Monitoring and Assessment. Section 5.1.1 of this Compendium contains guidance for Rainfall Monitoring.
I would like to design a sediment basin for my project. The 2009-0009-DWQ permit requires sediment basins to be designed according to the method provided in CASQA’s Construction BMP Guidance Handbook. Do I need to purchase the handbook in order to design a sediment basin for my project?
No. It is not necessary to purchase California Storm Water Quality Association’s Construction BMP Guidance Handbook in order to design a sediment basin for a project. Obtain a free copy of the Sediment Basin Fact Sheet (SE – 2) at CSQA.
At what point will the Attachment F, ATS requirements apply on my site?
The requirements in Attachment F only apply when an Active Treatment System (ATS) is implemented on a project site. ATS is defined in the 2009-0009-DWQ permit as “A treatment system that employs chemical coagulation, chemical flocculation, or electrocoagulation to aid in the reduction of turbidity caused by fine suspended sediment.” The application of chemicals on disturbed soil areas is not considered ATS. This BMP is used for the purpose of erosion control.
Will a risk re-calculation be required if my project extends past the original construction end date specified?
Yes, all projects that extend past their original construction end date will be required to electronically re-calculate their risk level in SMARTS.