Federal and State Requirements
Industrial and commercial facilities may perform outdoor activities including material handling and storage and equipment maintenance and cleaning. When activities are performed outdoors, rain can come into contact with products and materials, which can then transport the products and materials to our creeks, streams, bays and estuaries and pollute our waters.
In order to protect our water from pollution, the Federal government requires stormwater discharges from specific activities to have a permit through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program. In Texas, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has been delegated the authority to issue these permits through the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES).
If your facility conducts regulated industrial activities and discharges stormwater into a municipal separate sewer system or a surface water of the state, you may be regulated by the TPDES stormwater program.
For more information on the TDPES program please visit: https://www.tceq.texas.gov/permitting/stormwater/industrial. You can also contact the TCEQ at firstname.lastname@example.org and 512-239-1000. Small businesses are encouraged to contact the TCEQ Small Business Assistance hotline at 800-447-2827.
City of Corpus Christi Requirements for Industrial and Commercial Facilities
The City of Corpus Christi is required to identify and control pollutants in stormwater from industrial and commercial facilities through the TPDES permit issued to the City by the TCEQ. The City is required to monitor pollutants from two types of facilities:
Type 1 Facilities: municipal landfills, hazardous waste treatment, storage, disposal, and recovery facilities, facilities that are subject to Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) Title III, Section 313, and facilities that the City determines are contributing pollutants the stormwater system.
Type 2 Facilities: other treatment, storage, or disposal facilities for municipal waste and other industrial or commercial facilities that the City believes are contributing pollutants to the stormwater system.
The City’s Stormwater Management Program describes the process of identifying, inspecting, and monitoring industrial and commercial facilities, and compliance and enforcement if facilities are in violation of municipal Ordinances to prevent the pollution of stormwater.
Municipal Ordinance Sec 55-206 requires that businesses with a Stormwater NPDES or TPDES permit to:
- Annually report federal compliance status to the Stormwater Superintendent on forms provided by the City;
- Notify the City of Corpus Christi when a TPDES or NPDES permit has been issued;
- Provide a copy of their TPDES or NPDES permit to the Stormwater Superintendent;
- Report any spill, release, or event to the Stormwater Superintendent that has been reported to the United States Coastal Guard National Response Center (TRC), TCEQ, the Texas General Land Office (TGLO), within 1 hour of the report to the federal or state agency;
It is a violation of the ordinance for a facility to operate without a NPDES or TPDES permit, if they are required to have one.
Municipal Ordinance Sec 55-206 requires that all businesses:
- Allow the Stormwater Superintendent access to determine if there are any violations of Article XVI – Prohibition of Pollution of the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4), including determining if a NPDES permit is required;
- Allow the Stormwater Superintendent access to all parts of the business to perform investigations, inspections, sampling, records examination and copying, and any other duties;
- Allow City, State, and Federal agencies to set up any instruments needed to sample or meter discharge and detect illegal or illicit discharge to the municipal separate storm sewer system.
- Install and maintain monitoring equipment required by the Stormwater Superintendent.
This ordinance also requires that facilities provide safe and easy access to their facilities so that inspections and sampling can take place. Unreasonable delays in allowing city personnel access to facilities is a violation. If the Stormwater Superintendent has been refused access, the Superintendent may apply for a search and or seizure warrant. In the event of emergency affecting public health and safety, inspections shall be made without the issuance of a warrant.
Violations of ordinance Sec 55-206 carry penalties of up to $2,000 per violation per day. The City Attorney is authorized to petition the court for an injunction to enjoin or stop continued violations.
Why is/was my business inspected?
Your facility was inspected because it met one or more of the following criteria:
Facility has a TPDES permit
Facility is subject to EPCRA Title III Section 313
Your facility performs hazardous waste treatment, storage, disposal or recovery activities
The City of Corpus Christi believes that your business is contributing pollutants to the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4)
What should I expect from a stormwater inspection of my facility?
If your facility is regulated through the NPDES or TPDES program, the stormwater inspector will ask to see the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWP3) for your facility. The stormwater inspector will make sure that all the required information is documented in the SWP3. They will tour your facility to make sure that Best Management Practices (BMPs) described in the SWP3 are in-place and maintained so that pollutants are controlled.
If your facility has a No-Exposure Certification, the stormwater inspector will tour your facility and go through a checklist during their visit to make sure that no operations, materials, or products are exposed to stormwater.
If your facility does not have a NPDES or TPDES permit or No-Exposure Certification, then the stormwater inspector will review potential sources of stormwater pollution on your site. The inspector will tour the facility to make sure that all activities are being performed in such a way as to minimize pollution of stormwater.
My facility does not have a NPDES, TPDES or No-Exposure Certification. What activities at my facility could contribute to stormwater pollution?
The following activities could contribute to stormwater pollution:
- Outdoor vehicle maintenance and cleaning
- Pavement washing
- Outdoor maintenance of other equipment
- Waste treatment
- Waste storage
- Waste disposal
- Metal cutting
- Metal scrapping
- Outdoor storage of dirt, soil, and aggregates
- Outdoor chemical storage and use
- Outdoor petroleum product storage and use
- Above-ground storage tanks
- Underground storage tanks
The inspector found a violation. What happens next?
During the inspection, the inspector should clearly communicate what violations, if any, are found and how they need to corrected. The inspector will give you a deadline for correcting any violations. You must correct any violations in the time period specified by the inspector. The inspector will visit your facility to make sure that all violations are corrected by the specified date. In the case that violations are not corrected, or that more violations are found during the follow-up visit, the inspector my issue a citation or court referral.
What if I don’t agree with the inspector’s findings?
If the inspector has found a prohibited connection to the Municipal Separate Sewer System (MS4) you have 5 working days to request a timely meeting with the Stormwater Superintendent to establish a schedule setting out when the connection will be removed or made to conform to the provisions of the municipal ordinance.
If you were found to be discharging a substance into the MS4 and fail to remove the substance within 10 days of receiving notice the City of Corpus Christi may remove it at your expense.
The Stormwater Superintendent may also temporarily disconnect any connection with the MS4 in order to prevent continuous discharge of oil, hazardous material, sewage or another substance that poses an immediate health or safety hazard.
If you fail to correct the violation, and citations are issued, you will either be required to correct the violation and pay the citation, or you have the opportunity to go to court to argue your case.
What if I don’t understand what the inspector has asked me to do as a result of the inspection?
The inspector should leave you contact information. Please contact the inspector directly to request a meeting to clear up anything that you don’t understand. You can request that the Stormwater Superintendent participate in the meeting as well.
How much can a fine be?
The fine for a single violation on one day can be up to $2000.00. Each violation constitutes a separate offence. Each day a violation continues constitutes a separate offence.
Questions? Contact the Stormwater Pollution Prevention team at email@example.com.
- TCEQ TPDES Multi Sector General Permit for Discharges Associated with Industrial Activity
- TCEQ TexasEnviroHelp for Small Businesses
- TCEQ Assistance Tools for Industrial Stormwater General Permit
- EPA Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act
- ECRPA Title III Section 313 Toxic Release Inventory Program
- City of Corpus Christi/Nueces County Local Emergency Planning Committee
- EPA Stormwater Discharges from Industrial Activities
- Developing Your SWP3: An EPA Guide for Industrial Operators
- City of Corpus Christi Industrial MSGP Annual Compliance Reporting Form