As my colleague Missy Foster recently reported, the deadline for compliance with California’s new Industrial Storm Water permit (2014 Permit) is fast approaching.  There is a lot to learn about the 2014 Permit before it takes effect on July 1, 2015.

The 2014 Permit contains numerous new acronyms.  Below is the quick A to Z of the 2014 Permit’s new and most important acronyms.

  •  BMPs – Minimum Best Management Practices 
    • Dischargers will now be required to implement minimum BMPs, or explain why they do not apply. In contrast, the 1997 Permit allowed Dischargers to consider which non-structural BMPs should be implemented and which structural BMPs should be considered for implementation when non-structural BMPs are ineffective.
    • Dischargers will also be required to implement advanced BMPs (mostly structural BMPs) when implementation of minimum BMPs are insufficient, subject to the limits of the Clean Water Act.
  • ERA – Exceedance Response Actions
    • All Dischargers, regardless of historical discharge, start at baseline status.  Exceedance of a NAL will cause a Discharger to move from baseline to Level 1.  Exceedance of a NAL while at Level 1 will cause a Discharger to move from Level 1 to Level 2.
    • Dischargers at Level 1 or Level 2 status must perform Exceedance Response Actions (ERAs), including report preparation and possible additional BMP implementation.
  • NALS – Numeric Action Levels (NALs) and NAL Exceedances
    • Dischargers must analyze pH, total suspended solids (TSS) and oil & grease (O&G) against new “numeric action levels” (NALs).  Specific industries may have NALs for other pollutants.
    • A Discharger can exceed a NAL by exceeding “instantaneous” maximum limits in two samples in one year, or by exceeding “annual” limits based on the average pollutant concentration in all samples in one year.
  • NEC – No Exposure Certification
    • The 2014 Permit eliminates the 1997 Permit’s conditional exclusion for light industries that do not expose activities to storm water.
    • Instead, Dischargers that do not expose activities to storm water can file a “no exposure certification” (NEC) and site map by October 1, 2015, and pay a fee to the State Board.
  • QSE – Qualifying Storm Event
    • A “qualifying storm event” (QSE) is defined as a precipitation event that:  (1) produces a discharge for at least one drainage area; and, (2) is preceded by 48 hours with no discharge from any drainage area.
  • SMARTS – Storm Water Multiple Application and Report Tracking System
    • Dischargers must submit and certify all reports electronically via the State Board’s website database, called the Storm Water Multiple Application and Report Tracking System (SMARTS).
    • SMARTS can be found here, although the website is not yet ready to accept filings for the 2014 Permit.

Want more information? An overview of some of the highlights of the 2014 Permit can be found here. Also, you can find the new Industrial Storm Water permit and supporting documents here, along with a change sheet adopted by the State Board.

For more information about ensuring your compliance with the new Industrial Storm Water permit, please contact Michael Mills (, 916.319.4642), Missy Foster (, 916.319.4673), Parissa Florez (, 916.319.4644), or the Stoel Rives attorney already tracking the 2014 Permit for you. More information about Stoel Rives’s water quality practice may be found here.