Sheetflow Construction Erosion and Sediment Control

April 9, 2019

Process Wastewater

What is process wastewater?

The definition of process wastewater and how it applies to construction has always been a bit confusing to me.  There are some construction activities that are obvious generators of process water like pressure washing, but then there seems to be some grey when it comes to filling a water truck from a hydrant and using the water for dust control. 

I suspect regulators, if you ask them, will give some conflicting definitions of construction process water.  I am going to try to work through this over a few days, or weeks or however long it takes to come up with a satisfying answer. 

First off, how do the Feds define it? Process wastewater as defined by 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 122.2. https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/40/122.2

 it says: “Process wastewater means any water which, during manufacturing or processing, comes into direct contact with or results from the production or use of any raw material, intermediate product, finished productbyproduct, or waste product.

EPA uses this definition in their NPDES Glossary. Find at https://www.epa.gov/npdes

The Washington State Department of Ecology uses that definition in the Construction Stormwater General permit and adds: “If stormwater commingles with process wastewater, the commingled water is considered process wastewater”.

This is the legal definition of process wastewater.  It is a good, solid, bit of legalese, developed by lawyers for lawyers.   Though I haven’t researched this, I think it is likely this definition originated when the Clean Water Act was in its beginning stage of development and was applied to industrial, “end of pipe” discharge facilities, like chemical plants, and manufacturers. 

Herein, I believe, lies my confusion; construction doesn’t fit this description.  I guess technically it is, or can be, an end of pipe facility, but construction is transient, has a limited duration, and generally has the potential for diffuse discharges rather than just one or two discreet discharge points.

With that, I will think some more and post some more when my headache goes away.

October 3, 2016

Construction General NPDES Permit Appealed

Filed under: Article — Tags: , , , , — Sheetflow @ 1:29 pm

On December 29th, 2010, the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance filed a Notice of Appeal with the Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board. The appeal calls for a re-write and reissue as they consider the permit to be ” unlawful and unfair” because it does not meet the “requirements or intent” of the Clean Water Act, Environmental Protection Agency rules, Washington state water quality law ( RCW 98.40 and WAC 173-201A), or Department of Ecology rules.

The document can be read here:
Puget Soundkeeper Alliance Notice of Appeal

June 2, 2013

Prominent Pierce County Developer Sentenced To Prison For Criminal Violations Of Clean Water Act

Prominent Pierce County Developer Sentenced To Prison For Criminal Violations Of Clean Water Act

One of First Prosecutions in the Nation for Stormwater Violations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 10, 2012

A prominent Sumner, Washington developer was sentenced to prison today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma for a felony violation of the Clean Water Act. BRYAN STOWE, 65, was sentenced to six months in prison, one year of supervised release, and a $300,000 fine for knowingly violating a national pollution discharge elimination permit. In addition, STOWE will make a $100,000 payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for environmental projects targeting resources impacted by the illegal discharges. STOWE, as president and co-owner of Stowe Construction, Inc., admitted knowingly violating the Construction General Storm Water Permit for the Rainier Park of Industry project, located on West Valley Highway in Sumner. Permit violations contributed to two major landslides at the site in 2010 and 2011. Both slides forced closure of the West Valley Highway. This case is one of the first storm water pollution criminal cases brought in the United States. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton referenced the Clean Water Act saying, “These regulations serve a broad and useful purpose. You violated them persistently. You were wrong.” MORE…

February 25, 2011

Construction Stormwater General Permit

Construction Stormwater General Permit

Construction site operators are required to be covered by a Construction Stormwater General Permit if they are engaged in clearing, grading, and excavating activities that disturb one or more acres and discharge stormwater to surface waters of the state. Smaller sites may also require coverage if they are part of a larger common plan of development that will ultimately disturb one acre or more. Operators of regulated construction sites are required to:

  • Develop stormwater pollution prevention plans.
  • Implement sediment, erosion, and pollution prevention control measures.
  • Obtain coverage under this permit.

NEW! - 01/29/09 Ecology issues the Construction Stormwater General Permit December 1, 2010

WebDMRs and PARIS

Contact Us – Contact your Permit Administrator for permit assistance or your Regional Office for site specific questions.

Permit, Forms and Application – Permit, application, forms, and appeal information.

High Turbidity Reporting – Construction projects must report high stormwater turbidity results within 24 hours.  If you get a high result, call your Ecology regional office.

Resources and Guidance – DMRs, Stormwater monitoring,  manuals, 303(d) list information.

CESCL Training and Certification Programs

Historical Information – Pollution Control Hearing Board information, public comments.

Construction Stormwater General Permit.

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