News and Analysis
This week the OMA filed a detailed letter with the Ohio EPA to express concerns with the agency’s draft permit: General Permit Authorization for Storm Water Discharges Associated with Construction Activity Under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).
The OMA wrote: “The proposed changes encompassed in the draft permit would fundamentally change how this permit currently operates … Moreover, the changes would create state requirements that are substantially different than the federal requirements. … The draft permit not only requires the protection of storm water quality during the construction phase of projects, but now also attempts to control engineering and site hydrology both during and after (into perpetuity) all construction, resulting in a substantially increased burden on permittees. Further explanation and clarity is needed with these changes, to allow permittees to understand Ohio EPA’s expectations and intent.”
The OMA also filed joint comments with several other trade associations representing a multitude of impacted industries.
OMA’s contact for this issue is Rob Brundrett. 4/3/2018
Two weeks ago Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler announced his intent to have legislation introduced that would, among other things, place a statewide phosphorus limit of 1 mg/L on direct dischargers.
The OMA’s phosphorus working group has been working with legislators and experts on this issue since last summer.
Earlier this week Rep. Steve Arndt (R-Port Clinton), who was thought to be the lawmaker to introduce the legislation, had this to say about the proposed EPA bill: “I plan on introducing legislation, but probably not in the form of the draft the Ohio EPA has provided me. I’ve been meeting with a number of interested parties, because this is much broader in scope than what I originally discussed with Ohio EPA. I think they have merit, some of the issues we’re discussing, but obviously as currently written there will be some strong opposition. I think there is a pathway for us to properly address it.”
This is good news for OMA members who will be impacted either through their own permits or as indirect dischargers.
The OMA work group was very active in derailing the EPA version. Thank you to the members who have donated time and expertise to this important issue. 4/5/2018
Yesterday, Ohio EPA released the draft 2018 water quality report that outlines the general condition of Ohio’s waters and includes a list that identifies impaired waters that are not meeting their federal or state water quality goals, as well as waters that have improved to meet federal standards.
The report includes information showing that the percentage of large river miles in full attainment of federal water quality goals has increased from 62.5% to 87.5%.
The report proposes to designate the open waters of Lake Erie’s Western Basin as impaired due to harmful algae and drinking water due to occurrences of microcystin. Previously, only the shoreline area of the Western Basin and drinking water intakes had been designated as impaired.
Ohio EPA is preparing to announce new legislation to combat the algae blooms in Lake Erie. Among the provisions in the soon to be introduced legislation is a statewide mandate capping phosphorus discharge for direct discharges to 1.0 mg/L.
This limit would impact all manufacturers including those who indirectly discharge to local water treatment facilities because those public treatment facilities will also be under the 1.0 mandate.
Please contact Rob Brundrett if you would like to participate in the OMA workgroup on this issue.
Ohio EPA will present information through a webinar on April 25, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. Comments on the draft report can be submitted by email or in writing to Ohio EPA, Division of Surface Water, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049 Attn: 303(d) Comments, by the close of business May 4, 2018. 3/22/2018
This week at the OMA Environment Committee meeting, members met with Laura Factor, Assistant Director of Ohio EPA. Ms. Factor updated the members on Director Butler’s priorities in the final year of the Kasich administration.
These priorities mostly involve water issues, and especially the reduction of phosphorus in Lake Erie. Members also reviewed potential legislation capping phosphorus discharge at 1.0 mg/L and reviewed the latest Construction Storm Water General Permit draft Ohio EPA recently released.
A panel presentation on the old Permit Processing Efficiency Committee by Plaskolite, former EPA Director Chris Jones and Ohio EPA also proved popular.
Laura Factor, Assistant Director, and Mike Hopkins, Assistant Chief, Permitting, Ohio EPA, visit with OMA Environment Committee members.
The OMA with several other business organizations has partnered with the law firm Steptoe and Johnson to set up a manufacturers’ meeting with U.S. EPA Region V and Ohio EPA senior management.
Representatives of U.S. EPA and Ohio EPA will provide updates on recent developments in all major program areas; this will be followed by a Q & A session for the benefit of the manufacturing companies in attendance.
Several other states in Region V have found these meetings useful in learning more about Region V policies and practices.
The meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 17 from 9:00 a.m. to noon (central time) at the U.S. EPA offices, 77 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60604. While all OMA members are welcome, due to limited seating and security, please contact OMA’s Rob Brundrett to RSVP. Only those who RSVP can be admitted. 3/7/2018
In response to the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission’s (ORSANCO) recent public notice of its Pollution Control Standards (PCS) triennial review, the OMA provided written comments regarding potential revisions to the PCS.
OMA wrote: “The water quality goals of the Compact are being effectively addressed by the Clean Water Act and the PCS no longer provide the value and impact they once did. Today, the difference between the PCS and Clean Water Act standards can and do lead to confusion for the manufacturing community, and can create complications in the permitting process, where there is often no effective way to question or challenge the appropriateness or applicability of the underlying PCS in specific permitting situations. The more valuable role for ORSANCO today is to concentrate on its scientific and technical information gathering and research. This would allow ORSANCO to provide valuable information to the states in carrying out their obligations to preserve and protect water quality under the Clean Water Act. It would also help promote and coordinate consistency among the states in the Ohio River basin.” 2/22/2018
Ohio was authorized by U.S. EPA to implement the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) under the Clean Water Act (CWA) (Section 402(b) and 40 C.F.R. Part 123) on March 11, 1974.
Authorized states assume permitting authority and are required to administer the program in a manner no less stringent than the CWA and regulations adopted or subsequently amended by EPA.
By law Ohio EPA must review these rules every five years. Pursuant to the five year rule review, the agency is soliciting initial input on draft rule revisions for nine of the ten rules in the chapter.
The agency is considering minor revisions and updates to style and references to all of the rules in this chapter. Please see the fact sheet for specific details. The agency is also requesting feedback on two draft additive forms (here and here).
The OMA’s contact is Rob Brundrett. 2/22/2018
Earlier this month Ohio EPA provided notice that it will be issuing a draft general National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for the statewide regulation of storm water associated with industrial activities.
The NPDES Statewide Construction Storm Water General Permit (Permit No. OHC000005) is the fifth generation of this general permit. The permit would authorize storm water discharges from construction activity disturbing one or more acres. Also, the permit would authorize some discharges that are not entirely storm water (such as trench dewatering), as well as storm water discharges from on-site concrete and asphalt batch plants.
This permit identifies who can apply to be covered, how an entity obtains coverage and how a permittee terminates coverage. The permit contains requirements for permittees to prepare, submit and implement a storm water pollution prevention plan (SWP3).
Interested persons are invited to submit written comments on this draft general permit. Comments should be submitted in person or by mail no later than 5:00 p.m. on April 4, 2018. An Ohio EPA public hearing to accept comments on the draft general permit has been scheduled for March 28, 2018 at 2:30 p.m. in the 6th floor Conference Room A at the Ohio EPA Lazarus Government Center, 50 West Town Street, Columbus, OH 43215. If you have questions or comments please contact OMA’s Rob Brundrett. 2/22/2018
This week the OMA submitted comments to Ohio EPA on its Proposed Draft Hazardous Waste Laundered Textile Exclusion Rule 3745-51-06. In its comments OMA suggested that instead of creating and implementing an entirely new regulatory scheme for textile exclusion, Ohio EPA should adopt the approach taken by Indiana, which has proven to be highly successful, straightforward in implementation and environmentally-friendly.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) does not regulate “contaminated” (i.e., soiled) clothing sent for cleaning and reuse as a “solid waste,” therefore, laundered and reused clothing is not subject to certain regulation.
If Ohio EPA proceeds with the proposed rule, OMA will argue to minimize the conditions placed on the generators of such textiles. The current rule draft is too burdensome for many of the intended beneficiaries to take advantage of the intended exclusion. 2/15/2018
Two bills currently pending in the General Assembly would double the municipal solid waste fee from $0.25 per ton to $0.50 per ton. Proceeds from this fee increase would fund the local Solid and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) in each of Ohio’s 88 counties.
There was an attempt to include the bills, Senate Bill 228 and House Bill 463, as an amendment in last year’s state budget bill. They were rejected at that time due to strong opposition. Now the bills have been introduced in standalone fashion. House Bill 463 had sponsor testimony late last month.
SWCDs are independent political subdivisions of state government organized along county boundaries providing technical assistance to urban and rural land users. An elected board of local citizens provides SWCD leadership. Local offices provide education and programs at the local level. Most programs are designed for agricultural and nonpoint sources. Therefore, these bills appear to be a fee increase for almost no new benefit for manufacturers.
The OMA is working with allies to oppose these new potential fee increases. 2/8/2018