The State of Nebraska NPDES Permit for Construction Sites to Waters was to expire on December 31, 2012. It has now been administratively extended until a new permit is issued. This post will address some frequently asked questions such as when the permit will be issued, how to reapply, and changes to the permit. It has been reviewed by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality for accuracy.
Q. The current state Construction Storm Water (CSW) permit expired in December 2012. What permit should I be operating under right now?
A. The current permit (NER110000) is still in effect (under administrative extension). Coverage under this permit is valid until the new permit is issued.
Q. My project was authorized under the old permit. Do I need to reapply after the new permit is issued?
A. Yes. Once the new permit is issued, you will have a reapplication period. This period will be either 90 or 180 days, depending on what the EPA allows. During this period, you will either need to complete your project and apply for the termination of your current permit, or you will need to apply for authorization under the new permit.
Q. When will the new permit be issued?
A. The new permit will most likely be issued some time in 2013. Before the new permit is issued, it will have to go through a ninety day EPA review, address any comments by the EPA, be on public notice for 30 days, and possibly undergo a public hearing, if so requested and justified by the development community. NPDES permits are issued quarterly, so the soonest the permit could be issued at this point is October 1, 2013. If this process takes more time, then it may be pushed to January 1, 2014, or later.
Q. What are some of the changes we can expect in the permit itself?
A. The new permit will include much more guidance in the permit itself, meaning it will be much longer. It will include requirements for new controls, such as topsoil preservation, minimization of disturbance on steep slopes, and natural buffers.
Q. When will turbidity tests for construction site runoff be required?
A. The Effluent Limit Guidelines (ELG) numeric standard has officially been withdrawn, meaning that at this time, the EPA has no plans to require permits to include a requirement for stormwater sampling and testing on construction sites.
Q. Will the process of applying for a permit change in any way?
A. Yes. Currently, a project is authorized seven days from the date that a Notice of Intent (NOI) is sent to the NDEQ. Under the new permit, projects will be authorized fourteen days from the date that the NOI is mailed to the NDEQ. This means that project managers will have to plan ahead a little more in order to obtain proper permit coverage before beginning a project.
Q. My project began under the old permit. Will the site controls that I have installed such as sedimentation basins be grandfathered in to the new permit?
A. No. Any ongoing project must update its Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan and all of its on-site controls to meet the requirements of the new state permit.
Q. Who can I contact for help in obtaining new permit coverage?
A. The NDEQ will not be hiring any additional staff for compliance assistance. Since every project in the state will need to go through this process, you can expect a longer wait time when contacting the NDEQ. To aid in this process, NebraskaH2O will do our best to keep you informed of permit requirements via this website. If you have specific questions not addressed here, feel free to contact us directly at (308) 630-8011. If you wish to contact the NDEQ directly, the staff member you need to speak to is