What if earth disturbance is a normal part of the post-construction use of the site?

The earth disturbing activity has to be part of a project to build, demolish, or replace a structure (e.g., building, road, pad, pipeline, transmission line) to trigger the need for permit coverage. Earth disturbance that is a normal part of the long-term use or maintenance of the property is not “active construction” and does not trigger the need for NPDES coverage under 40 CFR 122.26(b)(14)(x) or (15)(i). For example, re-grading a dirt road or cleaning out a roadside drainage ditch to maintain its "as built" state is road maintenance and not construction. Restoring the original well pad to work over an existing oil or gas well is operation of a well and not construction. Re-grading and re-graveling a gravel parking lot or equipment pad is site maintenance and not construction. Repaving is routine maintenance unless underlying and/or surrounding soil is cleared, graded, or excavated as part of the repaving operation. Where clearing, grading, or excavating (i.e., down to bare soils) takes place, permit coverage is required if more than one acre is disturbed. Reworking planters that are part of the landscaping at a building is landscape maintenance and not construction. Applying daily cover at a landfill is simply part of operating a landfill and not construction.

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