Activities that take place at industrial facilities, such as material handling and storage, are often exposed to the weather. When runoff from rain comes into contact with one of these activities in a shipping area, material storage area, or any area in a facility that is subject to contamination with raw materials, it can pick up pollutants and transport them to a nearby storm sewer system or directly into a stream, lake or river.
Stormwater pollution, unlike some pollution problems, cannot be covered by one set of rules that applies to all industrial facilities. In many industrial facilities, stormwater pollution can be prevented with common-sense precautions and modest changes in routine operations or maintenance practices.
Operators of industrial facilities should implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) on an ongoing basis wherever they would be effective at preventing pollutants from flowing with stormwater from their facility. Every facility should be evaluated to decide what works best, because stormwater pollution control practices take a number of forms, and may include a wide range of solutions. The bottom line is that it’s best to manage stormwater before it is discharged to a storm drain.
In 2009, the City of Omaha implemented their Industrial Stormwater (ISW) Permitting Program, as part of their overall Industrial Program Element. In 2017, after coordinating with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ), the City of Omaha will no longer be implementing their ISW Permitting Program and has updated their Industrial Program Element to focus on Omaha industries’ compliance with the NDEQ’s ISW Permit, simplifying the permitting process.
NDEQ ISW Permit Information
The new NDEQ – NPDES Industrial Stormwater General Permit became effective July 18, 2016. This permit and the authorization to discharge shall expire at midnight, June 30, 2021.
This permit replaces the general permit for Storm Water Discharges Associated with Industrial Activity (ISW-GP, NPDES NER900000) issued July 1, 2011, and previously on Administrative Extension.
The new permit, ISW-GP, NPDES NER910000, along with associated forms and guidance documents are available on the NDEQ website.
Frequently Asked Questions
If the nature of my industrial activities is categorized by one of the designated sectors, what are my next steps?
Federal regulations require stormwater discharges associated with specific sectors of industrial activity to be covered under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits (unless otherwise excluded).
The permitting program is intended to identify and eliminate outdoor, exposed pollutants generated by businesses that are affecting, or could affect, the municipal separate storm sewer system and local waters.
Keeping pollutants out of the storm drainage system is important because pollutants, generated by businesses or other sources, are washed away to the nearby water bodies without receiving treatment to remove pollutants, so it will ultimately compromise the quality of our waters.
The nature of activities on industrial and commercial facilities often involves bulk storage of chemicals, fuels, large volume equipment storage, and regular loading and unloading of materials. Due to these activities, there is an increased potential for stormwater to be exposed to pollutants. In addition, industrial and commercial facilities often have a high percentage of impervious surfaces at their site which leads to increased runoff that has a greater chance of picking up pollutants.
Industries subject to the stormwater regulations are identified by their Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code. An industry is required to comply with the requirements of the stormwater regulations if at least one of its applicable SIC codes fall under one of the designated 30 sectors.
These 30 sectors are listed in Appendix D of Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) Industrial Stormwater (ISW) Permit.