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What types of construction activities will be required to obtain NPDES permit coverage for their stormwater discharges?

Generally speaking, any “construction activity” that will disturb, or that is part of a common plan of development or sale that will disturb, one or more acres of land and discharges stormwater to waters of the U.S. will be required to obtain NPDES permit coverage. Note that there are situations in which construction activities can be waived or excused from the requirement to obtain NPDES permit coverage (see related Q&A below). “Construction activities”, as defined in Appendix A of the proposed 2017 EPA CGP, includes earth-disturbing activities, such as the clearing, grading, and excavation of land, and other construction-related activities (e.g., stockpiling of fill materials; placement of raw materials at the site) that could lead to the generation of pollutants. Also authorized under the CGP are discharges of stormwater from “construction support activities”, which include construction-related activities that specifically support the construction activity and involve earth disturbance or pollutant-generating activities of its own (e.g., activities associated with concrete or asphalt batch plants, equipment staging yards, materials storage areas, excavated material disposal areas, borrow areas).The definition for “Construction activities” does not refer to activities such as interior remodeling, completion of interiors of structures, etc. "Construction activities" also does not include routine earth disturbing activities that are part of the normal day-to-day operation of a completed facility (e.g., daily cover for landfills, maintenance of gravel roads or parking areas, landscape maintenance) nor activities under a state or federal reclamation program to return an abandoned facility property to an agricultural or open land use (as opposed to demolition of something in order to build something new).

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