Under Florida’s NPDES Stormwater Program, construction sites must obtain a Construction Generic Permit GCP under Section 403.0885 of Florida Statutes to discharge stormwater into a public water source.
The CGP is designed to regulate the amount of pollution generated from construction sites inside Florida and protect public waterways from pollutant sources.
Obtaining a GCP and complying with proper state guidelines is necessary to avoid fines and penalties enforced under the Environmental Litigation and Reform Act (ELRA).
To obtain a CGP, you’ll need to develop an SWPPP plan, which outlines steps and practices to limit stormwater pollution and erosion to any surrounding land.
To help you successfully obtain a CGP and develop an SWPPP, we’ve created this brief guide on everything you need to know about Florida’s stormwater regulations.
Florida SWPPP Requirements
Florida’s NPDES in Tallahassee requires all construction site managers to develop a stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) before obtaining a CGP permit.
Your SWPPP will need to be submitted alongside a notice of intent (NOI) detailing your plan to eliminate onsite erosion/sedimentation and properly discharge stormwater into the proper channels.
Before submitting an application and developing an SWPPP, it’s important to look at a local map to see which nearby water sources are vulnerable to pollution and the best location for stormwater discharge.
To develop your SWPPP, you must create a site plan that outlines how to deal with stormwater discharge and eliminate pollution from sediment and erosion on your construction site. According to Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, SWPPP sitemaps must address the following:
- Drainage sources and patterns
- Potential discharge locations, including MS4s (public sewage systems) or surface waters
- Any nearby wetlands or surface waters at risk
- The approximate degree of slopes from graded areas
- Areas with soil disturbance and areas not disturbed
- Steps to stabilize disturbed areas
- Locations of all stormwater and pollution controls
In addition to your sitemap, your SWPPP should also outline the following:
- All construction-related activities
- Any contractors/subcontractors present
- A list of all personnel involved in your stormwater prevention process
- Signatures of all contractors and personnel listed above
- BMPs for sediment and erosion control
- BMPs for the storage and disposal of any pollutant sources (i.e., chemicals or toxic substances)
- Off-site vehicle tracking of all exit/entrance areas
- A list and condition of all temporary and permanent stormwater controls
- Routine maintenance and inspection processes
However, this is not the final step, as you must implement these things into practice before obtaining a permit. In addition, based on the application process, you will need to make real-time revisions to your SWPPP and BMPs to meet proper compliance.
Revising an SWPPP
SWPPPs must be updated every time a change is made to the construction zone within seven calendar days. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection outlines instances your SWPPP must be updated:
- New discharge sources are implemented
- New onsite controls are implemented
- Any additional serious changes are made, which will impact your ability to discharge pollutants to sanctioned waters
- New contractors or subcontractors are used who will implement any SWPPP measure
All changes must be made on the original document and signed/dated for proper record keeping.
Lastly, a list of all inspections must be made and amended on your SWPPP. Inspections may even occur at regular intervals, such as within 24 hours of a storm that exceeds 0.50-inches in total rainfall, according to Part V.D.4. of the permit.
Obtaining a Construction Generic Permit in Florida
Once you develop a proper SWPPP and have it reviewed by a qualified environmental consultant, you can submit your permit application, SWPPP, and NOI using this virtual NOI portal.
To discontinue a construction project, you’ll need to submit a Notice of Termination, and coverage will end when your construction site meets the terms of service in your termination notice. Make sure to keep your records for up to three years after your Notice of Termination for safekeeping and to avoid any potential liability.
In addition, an application fee is required to obtain a CGP. Florida divides construction zones into large and small sites with two different application rates:
- $250 for small construction projects (sites disturbing ≤5 acres of land).
- $400 for large construction projects (sites disturbing >5 acres of land).
Finally, if projects are expected to take more than five years, you’ll need to apply for a new permit after the allotted time.
While compliance with Florida’s stormwater regulations can be time-consuming, you can streamline your company’s efficiency and implement proper BMPs by hiring a qualified environmental consultant.
At Path Light Pro, we’ll help you develop and implement a proper SWPPP and consult you on ongoing changes to best meet state and federal compliance.
Not only will you save money by avoiding fines and litigation, but you will also be able to follow the best environmental practices to preserve surrounding ecosystems and boost your business’s brand.
To get started on applying for a CGP and developing an SWPPP, give us a call at (407) 604-3555 or toll-free at 844-500-PATH.
We also offer ways to improve construction zone safety and quality assurance services so you can avoid unnecessary costs and litigation in additional areas for your business.