Which NJPDES permit should I use? A review of common New Jersey stormwater permits.

Written By: Doug Ruhlin | Sep 9, 2014

Time to Read 4 Minutes

We review the most commonly used New Jersey stormwater permits, and help you identify which NJPDES permit is right for your New Jersey operation.

My employees and I spent a lot of time on the road this summer driving around New Jersey. We've been helping organizations across the Garden State with their NJPDES stormwater permits at their facilities. We tend to get a lot of new clients because they were overwhelmed with the New Jersey stormwater permitting process, mostly because there are several permits to choose from and it's sometimes confusing which direction to take.

It's vital to know which NJ stormwater permit to choose, since to do otherwise can mean higher fees, excessive liabilities and responsibilities, and in general, a lot more aggravation. Which NJPDES permit is your best bet? While there may be more than one, you want to choose the right one.

So how do we go about choosing the right stormwater permit for your facility?

New Jersey Stormwater Permits

Choosing the right New Jersey stormwater permit.

New Jersey's Industry Specific Stormwater General Permits

The NJDEP offers a wide variety of stormwater general permits. While most other states and the Federal government offer a few, relatively broad choices, New Jersey likes to be different. New Jersey stormwater permits typically address one specific group of dischargers or discharge types.

If you can get coverage under a specific New Jersey stormwater permit, great! This permit is typically cheaper and usually comes with less restrictions that individual permits.

Here's some of the most commonly used stormwater general permits in New Jersey:

  • Sand & Gravel Activity (RSG)
  • Vehicle Recycling (RVR)
  • Concrete Products Manufacturing (CPM)
  • Construction Activites (5G3)
  • Scrap Metal Recycling (SM2)
  • Hot Mix Asphalt Producers (R4)
  • Mining & Quarrying Activites (R13)
  • Wood Recyclers (R7)
  • Tier A & B Municipal Stormwater Permits
  • Highway Agency Stormwater Permits
  • Public Complex Stormwater Permits

The New Jersey Basic Industrial Stormwater General Permit

New Jersey also has a very simplified permit known as the Basic Industrial Stormwater Permit. This is also called the 5G2 Basic Industrial Stormwater Permit.

It comes with the lowest cost and fewest responsibilities compared to other general permits, but comes with a very important criteria: all materials capable of causing contamination to stormwater that are discharged must be stored indoors or under cover.

In other words, this NJPDES stormwater permit is only useful if no pollutants come in contact with stormwater at your facility. While in theory that sounds easy (and may be for many facilities), for most that’s a pretty tall order. Everything is stored indoors or under cover? Everything? A lot of facilities we deal with can't get coverage under this permit for one reason or another, so don't be put off if the NJDEP says no to you being covered under this NJPDES permit.

New Jersey Individual Stormwater Permits

Lastly, if you find you just can't fit into any of the general permits, there are always New Jersey Individual Stormwater Permits. Typically, these NJPDES permits are more expensive and come with more responsibilities and liabilities for you than general permits, so this really shouldn’t be your first choice. They also take a lot longer to obtain.

And remember, these are just stormwater discharge permits. In most cases, nothing else is allowed to be discharged. This is a big mistake many make, since many facilities have non-stormwater discharges. Process water, waste water, whatever you call it, normally cannot be discharged with your stormwater permit. If you have a process water discharge, it's almost guaranteed you won't be covered under a general NJ stormwater permit.

Which New Jersey stormwater permit is right for you?

So when it comes to deciding which New Jersey stormwater permit is right for you, here's how you should approach it:

  1. Is my operation contained entirely indoors? Determine if you qualify for the Basic Industrial Stormwater General Permit. Everything that could pollute stormwater must be located indoors. If not…

  2. Is there a specific stormwater permit that I can qualify for? If so, this NJ stormwater permit is your best bet. If not…

  3. I need to get covered under an individual NJPDES stormwater permit. It's really your only option if the above two don't cover you.

There's always another option: you don't have a stormwater discharge location at your facility. Maybe it’s retained onsite and seeps into the ground. Well, that’s called a discharge to groundwater, and you’ll need a permit for that just the same as if you discharged to surface water. There's no escaping stormwater regulations in New Jersey!

If you're having issues with your NJPDES stormwater permit, or can't decide which NJ stormwater permit is right for you, click here to contact us or give us a call at 609-693-8301 to discuss your stormwater needs today. We're here to help your facility choose the easiest New Jersey stormwater permit that covers all your needs.

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