Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan Changes: What it means for California Mine Operators

Written by Alyssa Burley.

“Storm Drain” image by  Robert Lawton .

“Storm Drain” image by Robert Lawton.

On July 1, 2015, new stormwater rules go into effect for California Industrial General Permit (IGP) holders.

These changes affect all California dischargers (including mine sites). Every site will need to re-register for an IGP in order to continue coverage under the Notice of Intent (NOI). This means each site must also submit an updated Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) and a Monitoring Implementation Plan (MIP) before the July 2015 deadline.

The SWPPP describes the general operations at each industrial site, actions taken to reduce pollutants in the storm water discharge, and the sources of the pollutants. Many operators already have plans in place that can be resubmitted to fulfill the requirement. Others will need to create and submit a new plan. All SWPPPs must be submitted to the Storm Water Multiple Application and Report Tracking System (SMARTS) website. However, even though the California State Water Resources Control Board requires the SWPPPs be submitted, they are not granting approvals for the plans’ content.

In addition to a new SWPPP, IGP holders must have a monitoring plan submitted via SMARTS. Individual sites may collect their own samples or join a stormwater compliance monitoring group. For operators with multiple sites, the compliance group option may be beneficial. However, the Board would like to limit the number of compliance groups per industry.

There are additional changes mining operators need to be aware of after the news IGP goes into effect on July 1st, 2015:

  • Operators must report the results of their stormwater discharge samples within 30 days of receiving the results. Reporting is done on the SMARTS website and is available to the public.
  • Visual monitoring of the site is required on a monthly basis.
  • Four stormwater discharge samples (from qualifying events) are required to be taken from the site every year. Two samples must be taken between January 1st and June 30th, while two additional samples from July 1st through December 31st.
  • Monitoring and sampling of storm water discharge is only required to be completed during normal business hours. The operator has four hours after the site opens and the first shift begins to collect samples from a qualified event.
  • Minimum Best Management Practices (BMP) are required for all SWPPPs.
  • Hydraulic calculations must be completed by a Professional Engineer (P.E.).

EnviroMINE, Inc. can help your company create or update the SWPPP and ensure your plan is compliant.

Alyssa Burley is the community outreach and marketing manager for EnviroMINE, Inc.

CalCIMA. Stormwater 2.0 Workshop Presentation Slides.
State Water Resources Control Board. Group Monitoring.
California State Water Resources Control Board. Storm Water Program.
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan Guidance and Other Helpful Resources for Construction Activities.
Water Boards Storm Water Multiple Application & Report Tracking System.