Final Issuance of the 2021 MSGP
By: Gretchen Mendéz, Esq.
January 19, 2020
On January 15, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) issued the 2021 Multi-Sector General Permit (“2021 MSGP”). The 2021 MSGP becomes effective on March 1, 2021 and replaces the prior permit that EPA issued in 2015 to control stormwater effluent discharged by industrial operations (“2015 MSGP”). The 2021 MSGP incorporates new and modified requirements, as compared to the 2015 MSGP. The changes include:
- Indicator Monitoring for pH, Total Suspended Solids, and Chemical Oxygen Demand. The 2021 MSGP requires certain facilities to perform quarterly indicator analytical monitoring for these three parameters and report the results for the duration of permit coverage.
- Indicator monitoring for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (“PAHs”). The 2021 MSGP requires certain sectors to perform and report indicator analytical monitoring for PAHs bi-annually (twice per year) during year one and four of the duration of permit coverage.
- Updating Benchmark Threshold Values. Based on available data and criteria, EPA has modified the benchmark monitoring thresholds in the 2021 MSGP for aluminum, copper for discharges to freshwater, selenium for discharges to freshwater, and cadmium.
- Updating the Benchmark Monitoring Schedule. Under the prior permit (i.e., 2015 MSGP), operators that did not exceed the four-quarter annual average for a given parameter in the first four quarters of permit coverage were allowed under the permit to discontinue the quarterly benchmark monitoring for that parameter for the remainder of the permit. Under the newly issued 2021 MSGP, operators under the same circumstances (i.e., not exceeding the four-quarter annual average for a given parameter in the first four quarters of permit coverage) are allowed to discontinue benchmark monitoring for that parameter for a two year period (instead of for the remainder of permit duration). Benchmark monitoring for these facilities shall resume for the four quarters of the fourth year of the permit coverage. Thereafter, monitoring frequency for the remainder of permit coverage will vary depending on the results of the quarterly benchmark monitoring performed on the fourth year of permit coverage.
- Impaired Waters Monitoring. Under the 2021 MSGP, facilities that discharge to impaired waters that do not have tan EPA-approved or -established Total Maximum Daily Load (“TMDL”) are required to perform annual monitoring for discharges to these waters for certain parameters. This monitoring is required for the first year of permit coverage, starting in the first full quarter of permit coverage. Thereafter, monitoring frequency for the remainder of permit coverage will vary depending on whether any pollutant that is detected in the discharge.
- Additional Implementation Measures (“AIM”). The 2021 MSGP modifies the 2015 MSGP the corrective action strategy in a staggered approach identified as AIM Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. Facilities shall respond after an exceedance triggering event occurs with progressively robust actions and continued benchmark monitoring until the exceedance is resolved. AIM responses have time schedules for completion, some of which may be extended under limited circumstances with EPA’s prior approval.
It is expected that the incoming USEPA administration under President Biden will enforce the 2021 MGSP.
Goldman Antonetti & Córdova, LLC stands ready to assist you and your business to adjust to Puerto Rico’s regulatory and legal changes. If you need further assistance in this area, please contact any of the following members of our Firm:
|Gretchen M. Méndez-Vilella||787.759.4207|
|Thelma Rivera Laboy||787.759.4104|
Disclaimer: Although the information included in this document may concern legal issues, it is not a legal opinion or professional advice and clients shall not use it as such. We assume no responsibility or liability of any kind for any information contained herein, and we expressly disclaim all liability for any claim for damages arising from the use, reference to, or reliance on, such information. If legal or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.