The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has proposed changes to the 1200-COLS and 1200-Z National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits for the discharge of stormwater associated with industrial activities. 

These permits cover a wide variety of industrial operations that discharge stormwater from their sites to state waters, including manufacturers, transportation companies, scrap yards, landfills, metal plating businesses and timber products industries.

In general, the proposed permit changes include the following:

  • Imposing more stringent benchmark level for metals-copper, lead, and zinc;
  • Adding additional pollutants to monitor, including PAH, and other metals (cadmium, chromium, and nickel);
  • Adding more specificity for sample collection by requiring industries to collect grab composite samples, sample during first rain event after September 1 and within the first 12 hours of each rain event;
  • Requiring facilities that discharge into impaired waters that are not meeting state water quality standards to monitor for impairment;
  • Requiring certain industries to monitor for industry-specific benchmarks; and
  • Requiring the hiring of a qualified professional consultant to design stormwater plan and identify best available technologies when benchmarks are consistently not met;

DEQ is proposing these changes in response to challenges raised by environmental citizen groups, Northwest Environmental Defense Center and Columbia Riverkeeper, as well as to changes made by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to the federal permit program.

Public comments on the proposed changes are due to DEQ by no later than June 16, 2011.