In effort to keep our community informed with notable regulatory changes and challenges, McCormick Taylor would like to take this opportunity to provide a rather recent update to the State of Maryland’s General Permit for the Discharge of Stormwater Associated with Construction Activity (14-GP), commonly referred to as the NPDES or NOI Permit. As many current permittees may be aware, the general permit was originally issued on January 1, 2015 and was only valid for five years across the board. It is not uncommon for a general permit to expire while efforts are being made to develop a new permit that addresses public comments as well as state and federal regulations. In many cases, there is often an administrative extension provided which continues coverage under the general permit once it has expired. Regarding the 14-GP, the State of Maryland has determined that the general permit has expired, and applications for coverage under the general permit can no longer be accepted.
Where does this leave new applicants or proposed projects? In coordination with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) issued a Consent Order on May 18, 2020 to cover the discharge of stormwater associated with construction as long as the project meets the eligibility requirements of the expired 14-GP and declares intentions to operate under the Consent Order and associated terms. As an applicant, you will be signing a declaration of intent (DOI), a legal agreement with the State of Maryland. If the applicant determines the project is unable to meet the criteria of the expired 14-GP and/or agrees to the terms of the Consent Order, the project would need to apply for an Individual Permit, which MDE advises may take up to 6 months to obtain. The process to sign into the Consent Order or provide DOI is similar to the application process of the 14-GP and actually holds the signatory to the same conditions of the 14-GP. Although this is not an actual permit, the Maryland Department of Environment has enforcement authority over conditions of the Consent Order, which includes inspection for compliance of the conditions set forth under the expired 14-GP.
Why this process? As the current general permit has expired and the proposed new permit is still in the review/approval stage, this allows the State of Maryland to provide coverage for eligible discharges until a new permit has been issued. MDE has reported the draft permit was submitted to the EPA on May 4, 2020 with the goal of issuing the final permit in early 2021. We have provided the below link to MDE’s webpage containing related updates. If there is anything McCormick Taylor can assist you with in navigating this process, please feel free to reach out to Otto Schlicht at firstname.lastname@example.org.