The November 2022 meeting of the Utah Stormwater Advisory Committee focused on Groundwater Permitting.
The November meeting will be the last USWAC meeting of the year.
What does Groundwater have to do with Stormwater?
Groundwater Permitting requirements are mainly an MS4 (municipality) issue and don’t often affect private sector operators, although long-term operations of a retention or detention pond may qualify.
Stormwater runoff reaches groundwater by infiltrating through the ground into the underground streams and aquifers that make up the water table. Because groundwater is often used to supply drinking water, as well as irrigation and processing water, it is important to keep it clean. Common groundwater contaminants include nutrients, pesticides, herbicides, chlorinated solvents, dissolved solids (salt, sludge, organic matter, etc), pH, metals, and pathogens.
If groundwater becomes contaminated, it is very difficult and very expensive to restore.
What to look out for
Groundwater permitting and contamination can affect your sites and projects if stormwater runoff enters a detention or retention basin where it will infiltrate into the ground.
If your site is covered by a stormwater permit and you are complying with your SWPPP, then you are automatically complying with any groundwater requirements that may affect you.
For long-term retention and detention ponds using infiltration, you may be contacted by the groundwater department if it is found that activities on or near your pond are contributing to groundwater contamination. Typically this only occurs if there is washing happening at the location with soaps or detergents, or if salt is stored on or near the basin, or if vehicles are stored there.
To avoid any groundwater issues, make sure that no pollutant generating activities are taking place in an area you are using for water infiltration.
Updates to the CGP
The DEQ is working on updating the qualified inspector section of the CGP to include newly approved training courses, such as the EPA’s recently released inspector course. These changes should be made available for public comment in December.
The DEQ is worried about the amount of dewatering that is taking place without a dewatering permit. If your site encounters groundwater during construction, you MUST file a dewatering permit IMMEDIATELY unless you will be pumping and containing all of the dewatering on your site. Filing can be done online and you are automatically approved. You must also take a sample weekly, or each time you dewater, whichever is greater. These samples must be analyzed by a lab and a monthly report must be submitted to the DEQ.
Outstanding NOI Permits
As the year-end is coming up, the DEQ and MS4s are trying to get all outstanding NOI permits terminated. If you have a project that is completed but the NOT has not been filed, please get that done.
Changes at the DEQ
Leanna Littler-Wolf, who has been in charge of MS4 audits, is being promoted to Assistant Director.
Kelsee York, who has been running the Construction Stormwater program, is moving to fill Leanna’s spot in the MS4 program.
The department is hiring a new Construction program manager, as well as an Industrial Stormwater Coordinator.