In the next few months, the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) will release the long-awaited DRAFT version of the Construction General Permit (CGP) for stormwater runoff from job sites. The CGP was last renewed by the SWRCB in 2010 and went into full effect in 2012. For builders and contractors, the CGP is required on nearly all California job sites greater than one acre in size. Depending on site conditions, it can be a major cost item.
The CGP requires construction phase job site planning for wet weather conditions as well as taking actions before, during and after rain events to prevent soil erosion. Common requirements for permit holders include preparing a stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP), installing erosion and sediment control best management practices (known as BMPs) which prevent and reduce soil erosion and loss and performing job site inspections on BMPs by trained staff before and after rain events.
The CGP adopted in 2010 introduced a new, soil loss risk-based approach for determining and guiding the level of BMP effort which must be expended at the job site and new requirements for job site personnel responsible for inspecting BMPs and sampling and monitoring of stormwater runoff. The building industry adapted to these new requirements while finding ways to streamline and economize effort and time expended on compliance.
The Construction Industry Coalition on Water Quality (CICWQ) and our member associations have been working many years now to understand how the permit conditions are affecting the construction and building process: what works and what doesn’t, and what needs to be changed. Paramount to the construction industry is preventing any type of numeric effluent limit (NEL) for sediment discharged from construction job sites. Working with our member companies, associations across the state and the Building Industry Legal Defense Foundation, the construction industry successfully prevented the SWRCB from adopting numeric limits in the 2010 permit and must do the same in 2019. Exceeding a NEL can lead to a permit violation, and then significant legal fees, fines, and penalties.
As the CGP renewal proceeds over the remainder of 2019, CICWQ will be updating the construction industry on progress in permit development and our advocacy efforts. Later this year, look for CICWQ sponsored and promoted training events designed to educate employees in our industry on the latest developments and how to comply with any new conditions or requirements. For more information or to provide input, please contact Mark Grey at [email protected].
Mark Grey, Ph.D.
Director of Environmental Affairs and Technical Director
Building Industry Association of Southern California
Construction Industry Coalition on Water Quality
Mark Grey is the Director of Environmental Affairs for the Building Industry Association of Southern California (BIA/SC) and the Technical Director for the Construction Industry Coalition on Water Quality (CICWQ). In these roles, Dr. Grey directs education, research and advocacy programs on behalf of the building industry in California, primarily focusing on water quality issues.
Dr. Grey has worked in the fields of water and air quality research and regulatory affairs for the past 30 years in the Pacific Northwest and California. Before joining BIA/SC and directing CICWQ, Dr. Grey operated his own consulting practice and was the Director of Technical Services for Synagro Technologies, Inc., the nation’s largest organic waste recycler.
Dr. Grey holds a Ph.D. in Soil Chemistry and M.S. in Forest Ecosystem Analysis from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA and a B.A. in English from Eastern Washington University in Cheney, WA.