Learn About Florida Stormwater Discharge Regulations and Compliance by GLE Associates

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Stormwater Discharge Regulatory Agencies:

The regulation of stormwater discharge in Florida is administered by two separate but interrelated agencies, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and the Regional Water Management Districts. The state is divided into five Water Management Districts (WMDs); Northwest FL WMD, Suwannee River WMD, St Johns River WMD, Southwest FL WMD and South FL WMD.

The FDEP & NPDES Permit:

The FDEP administers US EPA’s Generic Permit under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulatory program. The Generic Permit for Stormwater Discharge from Large and Small Construction Activities dated February 2009, specifies the requirements for site disturbance. Compliance with this permit is required:

• For any land disturbance activities of greater than 1 acre for a single project.

• For any land disturbance activities less than 1 acre that are part of an overall development e.g., subdivision, anywhere in the State of Florida.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection NPDES permit generally contains the requirements designed to prevent the impacts of sediment and/or other pollutants to state waters on or off a construction site. Failure to comply with the requirements of this permit can result in a fine of $2,500 per violation, per day.

Click here to learn how to comply with the NPDES Requirements and avoid these costly fines

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection NPDES permit requires the preparation of a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) prior to performing any land disturbing activities. At least two days prior to beginning construction, a Notice of Intent (NOI) must be submitted to the FDEP. The entire Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan is not required to be submitted, but the plan must be kept on site or at an alternate location as specified in the NOI.

THE Water Management District & ERP Permit:

The Water Management Districts are involved in the approval of any construction project that will affect wetlands, alter surface water flows or contribute to water pollution. This essentially covers any construction activity except re-roofings, face-lifts or interior renovations. Prior to beginning construction, an Environmental Resource Permit (ERP) must be obtained. Included in the site engineering design are the requirements for Erosion and Sediment Control (ERSC).

Compliance During Construction:

During construction, the contractor must comply with the requirements of both the NPDES permit and the ERP. Both agencies can and do perform site inspections and assess fines for violations. For all practical purposes, the requirements of the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan and the ERSC are the same. At the completion of construction, a Notice of Termination (NOT) is submitted to the FDEP and a written Statement of Completion and Certification (SOCC) and Request for Transfer to Operation are submitted to the WMD.

Unfortunately, on sites where construction is partially completed, but has stopped, compliance with these requirements does not end, and compliance by a new owner is often not easy or straightforward. The following paragraph summarizes the complex issues and procedures that would normally be performed on a typical project.

Click here to learn about how GLE Associates can help you comply with the NPDES and ERP

Under Normal Construction Conditions:

During the design of a construction project, a land survey, site and general civil engineering drawings are prepared. These drawings are typically submitted to the local planning or engineering departments having jurisdiction. The site /civil engineering drawings, which contain the ERSC, are also submitted to the appropriate WMD. Upon approval by all departments, a site construction permit and an ERP are obtained. The site survey, and ERSC will become components of a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan. Both plans require the implementation of Best Management Practices to prevent impacts from erosion and sedimentation either to state waters, wetlands and/or offsite. A NOI is then submitted prior to beginning construction. Should plans change during construction, which affect and change the SWPPP, an amendment to the plan is submitted. Once a construction project has been completed and all landscaping, site improvements etc. are in place and working properly, the NOT is subm!

itted to the FDEP and the SOCC submitted to the WMD. After approval by both agencies, the project is considered complete. This is similar to a building permit where a Certificate of Occupancy is issued by the building department.

Incomplete Construction:

For a site where construction has stopped but is partially complete, the property may or may not be in current compliance with either the ERSC portion of the ERP or the SWPPP. Even if it were in compliance at the time of foreclosure:

• The protective measures in place would only match the current stage of construction when the work stopped.

• The extent and condition of site improvements would most likely not allow for submittal and approval of a NOT or a SOCC.

• Consequently, the project would still be subject to the requirements of both permits, including routine inspections, maintenance of any temporary erosion control structures, etc., and subject to fines by both the WMD and FDEP, if not in compliance.

Since a lender who forecloses on a project under construction must now develop and submit an amended NOI, the “existing conditions” are subject to the following:

• They must reflect the current site status, not the original conditions included in the approved SWPPP.

• Unless the construction will be completed, with all final site improvements, including stormwater, landscaping, etc., the final requirements must be modified in order to obtain a NOT.

• The ERP must be modified and approval of any changes to the permit obtained from the WMD.

• All of this could require a full site evaluation, including but not limited to, a new land survey and new designs.

• Failure to obtain new regulatory approvals would also constitute violations.

How to Comply with the FDEP and NPDES Permit – Incomplete Construction:

Typically, the most expedient and cost effective way for a lender to comply with the NPDES permit requirements would be to prepare and submit an amendment to the original SWPPP.

• The amendment would reflect the current condition of the site and include any improvements that would be implemented to stabilize the site.

• The ultimate goal would be to provide enough improvements to allow for submittal and approval of a NOT and get the site off of the FDEP list.

• This would eliminate the need for regular inspections.

• The degree of improvements could range from absolutely nothing to completion of the work reflected in the original civil construction plans.

How to Comply with the WMDs and ERP Permit – Incomplete Construction:

The same does not hold true for the ERP. Much of the value of a development is in the permit approvals and the lender will not want to lose the value of the asset by closing out the ERP. Typically, the ERP is valid for up to five years from the date the permit is issued by the WMD, however, it still would be important to stabilize the site to prevent any violations but keep the permit open.

The process for an evaluation and stabilization would consist of the following steps:

1. Obtain the original NOI from the FDEP and the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan from the original Owner/Contractor.

2. Obtain the ERP from the appropriate WMD.

3. Review the plans and perform a site visit.

4. Document the site with regard to any existing permit violations.

5. Document current site conditions and compare with the plans.

6. Determine alternatives for site stabilization.

7. Immediately correct any permit violations.

8. Determine the most cost effective and feasible plan for stabilization.

9. Submit a plan amendment to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

10. Upon approval of the amendment stabilize the site.

11. Monitor the site until improvements are installed and fully functional.

12. Submit a NOT to satisfy the NPDES requirements

While some sites may not require all of these steps, and on others it may not be feasible to obtain a NOT, this general procedure will meet the regulatory requirements in a cost effective manner and reduce the liability of a lender who forecloses on a property.

Visit http://www.gleassociates.com to view an organizational chart that outlines each step that is taken in obtaining an NPDES and ERP permit and how to maintain a stabilized site during ceased construction activity.

About The Author

GLE Associates is a Facilities and Environmental Consulting Firm that services the following cities and surrounding areas: Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Gainesville, and Ft Lauderdale, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia and Nashville, Tennessee.

Inactive Realtors in Ontario have the option to join an Ontario real estate Brokerage that help you keep your license active during your inactive times.  Save on real estate board fees and all your other needless office expenses too.  Park your license with a reputable and successful license holding Brokerage and still earn high commissions on all your sales, if any and your referrals.  Commissions are paid to you ASAP!

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