South Carolina NPDES Construction General Permit Requirements
The South Carolina Construction General Permit (CGP) went into effect on January 1st, 2013, and was set to expire on December 31st, 2017. However, a new permit has not yet been signed into effect, so the 2013 permit continues in effect until a new one is signed.
A 2019 proposal was submitted but has not been ratified. The changes proposed for the new permit are detailed at the end of this article.
Coverage under the permit is required for construction activities that:
- Disturb 1 or more acre of land
- Disturb less than 1 acre of land but are part of larger common plan that will ultimately disturb more than 1 acre
- Disturb more than 0.5 acres AND resides in the State’s Coastal Zone AND the receiving water body is defined by the Policies and Procedures of the South Carolina Coastal Zone Management Program
All construction activities that don’t fall under the above requirements are automatically granted coverage under the permit without the need to file an NOI.
All construction activities are required to implement BMPs to control stormwater runoff and prevent pollution.
Three waivers exist for projects in South Carolina:
- Rainfall Erosivity Waiver
- Site’s R Factor is under 5 (use EPA Calculator)
- TMDL Waiver
- TMDL says that BMPs are not required – very rare (use State Tool)
- Equivalent Analysis Waiver
- Operator can develop and submit an equivalent analysis report
Filing the NOI Permit:
The process for filing the NOI permit is very complicated in South Carolina. The state does not currently have an automated, online system for filing. You’ll need to download the appropriate form, fill it out, and mail it in.
Here’s what you’ll want to gather in advance –
- Permittee Information
- Name, EIN, Phone, Mailing Address, Contact Name, Email
- SWPPP Preparer Name and Company Information
- Project/Site Information
- Site Name, Address, Lat/Long, Construction Type, Start and End Dates, Disturbed Area, Total Area, Flooding History, Waiver Info (if applicable)
- Receiving Water and On-Site Water Body Information
- TMDL Info (if applicable)
The NOI Permit must be signed by a “Responsible Authority” – meaning a
- Responsible corporate officer
- General partner or proprietor
- Principle executive officer/ Elected official
- Designated authority with authorization letter
You’ll also need to pay the NOI Permit fee of $125, as well as project review fees of $100 per disturbed acre, up to a maximum of $2000.
NOI Permit Applications should be submitted to the appropriate DHEC office based on the location of your project:
Individual Lot Notice of Intent (IL-NOI)
For larger developments that are broken up into individual lots, the primary permittee (owner, developer, etc of the overall development) may require that builders for individual lots obtain their own coverage. In this case, individual lot builders become Secondary Permittees and must obtain coverage by submitting an Individual Lot Notice of Intent.
- An Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) is required for all construction projects. For projects that will disturb more than 2 acres of land, the SWPPP must be prepared by a qualified individual, defined as:
- Registered professional engineers
- Registered landscape architects
- Tier B land surveyors
- Federal government employees
- The SWPPP consists of a Comprehensive SWPPP (C-SWPPP) and an On-Site SWPPP (OS-SWPPP).
- The C-SWPPP is submitted with the NOI application for review.
- The OS-SWPPP is a condensed version of the approved C-SWPPP that is kept at the construction site until final stabilization is reach and coverage under the permit is terminated.
- For Larger Common Plan projects that are divided into individual lots, the C-SWPPP has to encompass the entire project so that Secondary Permittees can use it for their sites.
- A SWPPP Template for South Carolina can be found here.
The C-SWPPP must:
- Identify all potential sources of pollution
- Describe BMPs used to reduce pollutants in stormwater discharges
- Comply with all the terms and conditions of the permit
- Include the following certification (if prepared by a qualified individual):
- “I have placed my signature and seal on the design documents submitted signifying that I accept responsibility for the design of the system. Further, I certify to the best of my knowledge and belief that the design is consistent with the requirements of Title 48, Chapter 14 of the Code of Laws of SC, 1976 as amended, pursuant to Regulation 72-300 et seq. (if applicable), and in accordance with the terms and conditions of SCR100000.”
- Include an appendix for tracking progress, compliance, and modifications.
- Address non-numeric effluent limits (Erosion Control BMPs, Limiting disturbance, minimizing slopes, preserving topsoil, etc.)
- Include a schedule of inspections
- Include a rain log
- Include an inspection log
- Include a phased erosion prevention and sediment control plan if disturbing more than 5 acres
- Include attached construction site plans
- Description of flooding potential
- Function (residential, commercial, etc.)
- Disturbed and total area
- On-site support activities
- Prior uses or potential sources of pollution
- Stormwater Management and Sediment Control
- Industrial Stormwater Discharges
- Water Quality BMPs
- Erosion Prevention BMPs
- Structural Control Measures and Floodplain Placement
- Post-Construction BMPs
- Construction Debris Management
- Construction Entrances and Dust Control
- Stock Pile Management
- Additional Pollution Identification
- Sequence of Construction
- Site Features and Sensitive Areas
- All Waters of the State
- Critical Areas (in Coastal Zones)
- Buffer Zone Management
- 30-foot Natural Buffer around all surface waters
- 45-foot Extended Natural Buffer around Sensitive Waters
- Velocity Dissipation for any discharges into a buffer zone
- Narrative justification and plan for any reduction or elimination of buffer zones
- Sources of Pollution
- Best Management Practices (BMPs)
- Erosion Prevention BMPs
- Sediment Control BMPs
- Runoff Control and Conveyance Measures BMPs
- Post Construction Water Quality Control BMPs
- Structural BMPs
- Non-Structural BMPs
- Low Impact Development (LID) BMPs
- Topographic Map
- Soils Map
- Floodway Map
- Vicinity Map
- Pre-Development and Post-Development Drainage Maps
- Engineering Reports
- Curve Number Analysis
- Pre-/Post-Development Hydrologic Analysis
- Detention Analysis
- Permanent Water Quality Analysis
- Sedimentology (Trapping Efficiency Analysis)
- As-Built Surveys
- Stable Channel Analysis
- Storm Sewer Analysis
- Riprap Apron Analysis
- Construction Site Plans
- Non-Numeric Effluent Limits
- Management of Non-Stormwater Discharges
- TMDL Information
The OS-SWPPP includes all of the contents of the C-SWPPP except for the Engineering Reports.
The OS-SWPPP must also include a copy of the CGP, a copy of the NOI, the NPDES Coverage Approval Letter, Local Approvals, USACOE Approvals (for wetlands), Critical Area Permit (if applicable), Contractor Certifications, and Coastal Zone Consistency Certifications (if applicable).
The OS-SWPPP must be retained at the construction site or a nearby location easily accessible during normal business hours.
Pre-Construction Conference –
The preparer of the SWPPP or the person with operational control of the plans must hold a pre-construction conference to review and explain the OS-SWPPP. Attendees should include:
- All contractors and sub-contractors
- Utility providers
For projects disturbing more than 10-acres, the pre-construction conference must be held on site.
Inspections must be conducted at least once every calendar week until final stabilization is reached on all areas of the construction site.
Inspections are recommended within 24 hours of the end of a storm event of 0.5 inches or greater.
The DHEC may require more frequent inspections.
Portions of the site that have been permanently or temporarily stabilized may have inspections reduced to just once per month.
A rain log is required. Rain data can be collected from a rain gauge on site or from data from a certified weather record. The log must include records for the day of an inspection as well as any significant rainfall events since the last inspection. (This requirement is planned to be changed in the 2019 permit to require a rain gauge on site.)
Inspections must be conducted by Qualified Personnel:
- For sites that disturb more than 2 acres:
- The preparer of the C-SWPPP
- A knowledgeable person under the supervision of the preparer of the C-SWPPP
- A person who is certified through a Construction Site Inspector Certification Course that has been approved by DHEC (available through Clemson University online)
- A person holding a registration equivalent to a C-SWPPP preparer
- For site that disturb 2 acres or less and not part of a larger common plan:
- The permittee or a designee, provided the OS-SWPPP has been explained to them by someone with the certification level of a C-SWPPP preparer
Inspection Report Requirements:
No specific form is prescribed for inspection reports.
Inspection reports must include the following:
- Inspection Date
- Names of Qualified Inspectors
- Weather Information for the day of the inspection and since the last inspection
- Description of any discharges occurring during the inspection
- Location(s) of discharges of sediment or other pollutants from the Site
- Location(s) of BMPs that need maintenance
- Location(s) of BMPs that failed to operate as designed or proved inadequate for a particular location
- Location(s) where additional BMPs are needed that did not exist at the time of inspection
- Corrective action required including any changes to the OS-SWPPP necessary and implementation dates
- Site Name, Operator Name and permit number
- Verification that all BMPs and stormwater controls identified in the OS-SWPPP have been installed and are operating as designed
The DHEC may require a monthly report in some instances.
A record of all inspections and corrective actions must be kept as part of the OS-SWPPP.
Any deficiencies or corrective actions must be corrected within 7 days AND before the next storm event.
All permanent controls must be routinely maintained per their design. A maintenance agreement must be in place with the individuals accepting ownership of the permanent structures upon completion of construction activities.
Stabilization and Termination:
- Final stabilization is considered to have been achieved when
- Vegetative and/or non-vegetative (structural measures) have established a soil cover to prevent and/or reduce soil erosion and sediment loss in areas exposed during the construction process.
- You are eligible to submit a Notice of Termination (NOT) when:
- The entire area has undergone final stabilization
- All construction activities have permanently ceased
- All temporary controls have been removed
- Changes of Owner/Operator may be submitted.
- The NOT is submitted to the same location where the NOI was submitted within 30 days of one of the above instances occuring.
- The NOT Application may be found here.
- The NOT must be signed by a responsible authority (same as NOI)
This is a quick summary of the Construction Stormwater requirements in South Carolina. To be sure you are meeting ALL the requirements and to lower your risk of audits, fines, stop-work orders, or jail time, you should thoroughly familiarize yourself with the appropriate permit for your project (linked above).
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