Each of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Water Resources Division (WRD), storm water programs (Construction, Industrial, and Municipal) has a long-standing committee consisting of staff members involved with implementing the program. Committee members include a representative from each district office who oversees compliance and enforcement of the storm water program and central staff involved with permitting and enforcement activities. The committees meet periodically throughout the year to discuss program implementation and consistency. These committee meetings also serve to learn of program challenges, solutions, and innovative approaches throughout the state.
The committees also coordinate meeting times to allow opportunities to discuss program overlap and promote cross-training. The committees are increasingly focused on coordination between the storm water programs and other wet weather programming.
Moving Towards Updated Rainfall Data
As we experience spring showers, you may be curious about the amount of rainfall expected from a storm event. Several published sources of rainfall data exist. The DEQ, WRD, has primarily referenced two rainfall data publications: Technical Paper No. 40 (1961) and Bulletin 71 (1992). These publications used data provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
In 2013, NOAA published Atlas 14, Precipitation-Frequency Atlas of the United States, Volume 8, which is based on the most recent 30 years of rainfall data for the Midwestern states, including Michigan. In additional to analyzing recent rainfall data, Atlas 14 includes an analysis of data from an increased number of rainfall measurement stations. Atlas 14 is officially the United States Government source of precipitation frequency estimates. NOAA has developed a Precipitation Frequency Data Server that provides a point-and-click public Web portal to view rainfall estimates.
The WRD is in the process of moving forward with requiring the use of the precipitation frequency estimates in Atlas 14 throughout relevant programs, including combined sewer overflow control, municipal separate storm sewer system post-construction requirements, and permit exemptions. The requirement to use Atlas 14 will be implemented as new applications, permits, and policies are updated.
Michigan Nonpoint Source Best Management Practices (BMP) Manual
Since 1992, the DEQ has published the Michigan Nonpoint Source Best Management Practices (BMP) Manual. The Manual started as a 375‑page paper document in a three‑ring binder, and now currently consists of a 31‑page introduction followed by 59 individual BMPs. The introduction covers topics such as: the storm water management approach, the treatment train approach, watershed planning, hydrology, fluvial geomorphology, and local storm water ordinances. The individual BMPs, arranged alphabetically, range from Access Road to Winter Road Management. The entire BMP Manual currently totals 450 pages of material, distributed only electronically through a Nonpoint Source Program web page that also includes other BMP design references, and pollutant control documents and models.
The BMP Manual covers a wide range of topics. However, the majority of the manual is dedicated to assisting practitioners with the proper control of storm water – elimination/minimization, collection, treatment, conveyance, discharge, and maintenance – with the ultimate goal of protecting water quality. The BMP Manual is used by various DEQ programs, including: Municipal Storm Water (MS4), Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control (SESC) and Construction Storm Water, Industrial Storm Water, and Nonpoint Source.
Updating the BMP Manual is an ongoing effort. BMPs are updated individually over time, with the long‑term goal of reviewing the entire BMP Manual at least every five years. Each part of the BMP Manual is assigned a unique version number based on the date published, which appears to the right of each title on the BMP Manual web page, and either in the lower right‑hand corner of every page of newer material, or in the upper right‑hand corner of the first page of older BMPs.
For further information or questions regarding the BMP Manual, please contact Steve Holden of the DEQ Nonpoint Source Program, at email@example.com or 517-284-5515.
Construction Site Certifications
The DEQ, WRD, administers two programs related to construction sites, the Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control (SESC) Program and Construction Storm Water Program. These programs have required certifications for inspectors or agency personnel, depending on the coverage. The DEQ offers the trainings and administers the exams for the required certifications. Trainings and exams are offered multiple times each year at all DEQ District Offices.
Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control – Part 91
Part 91 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (Part 91) provides for the control of soil erosion and protects adjacent properties and the waters of the state from sedimentation. Part 91 is administered and enforced by various state, county, and local governmental agencies. A list of approved SESC permitting agencies is available on the SESC Web page. Those individuals responsible for plan review and/or design, permit issuance determinations, and decisions on enforcement actions are required to have valid certificates of SESC Plan Review and Design Training (formerly Comprehensive Certification). Construction Storm Water Operator (CSWO) Certification is a prerequisite to the SESC Plan Review and Design Certification (see below for details).
To obtain the initial SESC Plan Review and Design (PRD) Training Certificate, you must first have a valid CSWO Certificate. You then have the option to register for the SESC PRD Training, in which you will take the exam for certification following the training. Another option is to register for the Self-Study SESC PRD exam. The certificate of SESC PRD Training is valid for five years. The certification is renewable by completing a recertification course. The recertification course is approximately three hours long and offered in the District offices.
Construction Storm Water Program – Part 31
Construction activities that disturb one or more acres of land and have a point source discharge of storm water to waters of the state (streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands) are required to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit from the DEQ, WRD. The WRD has adopted a process called “Permit-by-Rule” (Rule 2190) for issuing the necessary storm water coverage.
Permit-by-Rule “streamlines” the permitting process and is dependent upon the applicant first obtaining Part 91 coverage. The permittee must follow the requirements of Permit-by-Rule, including compliance with the Part 91 coverage and inspection of SESC measures weekly and within 24 hours of a significant rain event by a certified CSWO.
To become a CSWO, you must register for the CSWO Training and Exam at any of the District Offices. The exam is given following training and discussion of the program. The CSWO certification is valid until July 1, five years from the year in which you take and pass the certification exam and renewable by mail.
To learn more about our trainings and exams, including locations and times, please visit the “Training Information” section at Michigan.gov/soilerosion.
Industrial Storm Water (ISW) Permit Requirements
Industrial facilities required to obtain coverage under the NPDES ISW permitting program need to be familiar with the permit requirements. All facilities operating under an ISW permit have to:
- Develop and implement a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP). The SWPPP, generally, is a written plan that describes potential sources of pollutants at the facility and the necessary controls to prevent contamination of storm water at the facility. Facilities are encouraged to use the DEQ SWPPP Template when developing their storm water management program. Reducing exposure of industrial activities to storm water is one of the easiest and most effective methods to control storm water pollution.
- Obtain the services of an Industrial Storm Water Certified Operator who has supervision over the facility’s storm water treatment and control measures. This can be an employee at the facility, a consultant, or anyone else who completes the DEQ, WRD, Industrial Storm Water Certified Operator Training and receives a certification number. Training sessions are available monthly throughout the state at the various district offices.
- Institute a program to investigate and eliminate all unpermitted or illicit discharges to surface waters of the state. Common illicit discharges include, but are not limited to, wastewater from vehicle or equipment wash water, air compressor condensate, noncontact or contact cooling water, and water treatment backwash. NPDES ISW permit compliance can be challenging for industrial facilities; however, it is an important program intended to protect Michigan’s invaluable water resources. The DEQ, WRD, offers many compliance assistance tools on the ISW Web page. We encourage facilities to contact their district ISW staff for assistance. DEQ ISW staff are willing to meet with facility representatives to provide compliance assistance…give them a call.
Want to read more?
- Storm Water Savvy Staff
- Moving Towards Updated Rainfall Data
- Michigan Nonpoint Source Best Management Practices (BMP) Manual
- Construction Site Certifications
- Industrial Storm Water (ISW) Permit Requirements
- Michigan Environmental Compliance Conference (MECC) June 12 & 13