The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) issued the 2014 General Permit for Stormwater Associated with Construction Activity, MDRC (General Permit), which took effect January 1, 2015.
MDE has put in place a new electronic system for entities to submit Notices of Intent (NOIs) to MDE, track the status of NOIs and permits, and perform actions like transferring and terminating permits. Applicants can access the system at: https://egov.maryland.gov/mde/npdes/Account/Login
The permit is necessary to protect water quality and to meet federal and State requirements under Code of Federal Regulations 40 CFR 122.26 and 40 CFR 450, as well as Code of Maryland Regulations COMAR 26.08.04.09A. It replaces all prior General Permits for Stormwater Associated with Construction Activity that have been previously issued. Coverage under all prior General Permits, including General Permit 09GP, is terminated effective January 1, 2015. All construction activity in Maryland disturbing one or more acres needs to be covered under the 2014 General Permit as of January 1, 2015.
The new permit includes numerous changes from previous permits and should be reviewed carefully. Of particular note are a number of key changes from the 2009 General Permit, including but not limited to: (1) a change to the public notification period following submission of the NOI before permit coverage is approved; (2) specific requirements to meet federal effluent limitation guidelines at 40 CFR 450; (3) emergency authorization procedures in the event of public emergencies; (4) references to other laws and regulations such as those regarding fertilizer use; and (5) several clarifications, including which types of projects and discharges are eligible for coverage under the General Permit. Please see the Fact Sheet and the General Permit itself for more detailed information regarding the General Permit.
Projects that will ultimately disturb one acre or more must obtain a General or Individual Permit for Stormwater Associated with Construction Activity before beginning earth disturbance on the first part of the project. All projects should seek coverage under the General Permit rather than an Individual Permit unless otherwise directed by MDE.
Generally, an entity with more than one project in a particular area may apply for separate permit coverage for each project so long as those projects fall under different erosion and sediment control plans. The entity may, at their option, apply for coverage for all co-located projects together. Note that federal regulations require permit coverage for projects that initially disturb less than one acre but are part of a plan of development or sale (including but not limited to the erosion and sediment control plan, site development plan, or concept plan) that will ultimately disturb one acre or more.
Permittees under the 2014 General Permit will receive documentation of coverage under the 2014 General Permit through the ePermits system. They should also download and print a copy of the text of the General Permit from this webpage (link below). Also see the Construction Activity Inspection Form below. The ePermits system does not send these documents to the permittee via email.
Construction Activity Inspection Form (.doc, .pdf). This inspection form is revised for the 2014 General Permit. Permittees must download and use this version in order to be in compliance with the current General Permit. The form is for use by responsible parties in the performance of self-inspections at construction sites. MDE requires permittees to use this form for self-inspections in order to achieve greater consistency and to make sure critical inspection elements are included in all self-inspections being performed. All holders of general or individual permits must use this inspection form. A quick guide on how to fill out the General Information Section of the standard inspection form may be found here: Construction Stormwater Inspection Guide
These projects are to submit a Notice of Intent using the electronic system. The e-Permits system is at https://egov.maryland.gov/mde/npdes/Account/Login. Prior to submitting an NOI, the person(s) responsible for the project must submit a final erosion and sediment control plan to the appropriate approval authority (such as the Soil Conservation District, see this link for list: List of approval authority contacts). It need not yet be approved, just submitted to that authority for approval. Once MDE reviews and accepts an NOI, a 14-day public notification period begins. The public notification period is the same regardless of the number of acres disturbed. Applicants should note that, while the public notification period is shorter than under the expired General Permit, MDE must still review all NOIs and check that all required documents have been uploaded prior to issuing permit coverage. In order to avoid delays in the start of construction, apply at least 30 days before the planned start of earth disturbance.
If MDE has received all required documentation by the end of the public notification period, MDE issues coverage under the 2014 General Permit, unless a citizen has requested that MDE require the project to obtain an individual permit. In that circumstance, MDE contacts the applicant and the requester, reviews the request, and makes a determination on whether to require an individual permit. Note that the NOI submitter must provide documentation of approval of the erosion and sediment control plan by the appropriate approval authority before MDE will issue coverage under the General Permit. Users upload that documentation into the e-Permits system, and may do so at any time.
For active projects that began earth disturbance before January 1, 2015, and did not previously submit an NOI for coverage under the 2014 General Permit, please note that the deadline for continuing coverage has passed. Those who missed the deadline should submit an NOI as soon as possible, but these NOIs are processed as new projects.
Citizens may review NOIs during the public notification period at https://egov.maryland.gov/mde/npdes/PublicNotice/Index. The public notification database includes the erosion and sediment control approval authority so that citizens may contact that authority to review erosion and sediment control plans, should they desire to do so. Citizens who have difficulty obtaining access to plans may contact the Compliance Program for assistance by using the contact information at the bottom of this page. All Notices are available for public notification for fourteen days prior to approval by MDE. During this time, citizens may submit a request that MDE require the site to obtain coverage under an individual permit rather than the General Permit. The request must include a detailed, written explanation as to why the Erosion and Sediment Control Plan fails to meet State erosion and sediment control or stormwater management standards. Submit these requests in writing to the Water and Science Administration, Industrial and General Permits Division, Wastewater Permits Program, MDE, 1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 455, Baltimore, MD 21230. Include the Reference Number of the Notice for which you are making the request.
Applicants can access the system at https://egov.maryland.gov/mde/npdes/Account/Login. The system will allow agents and consultants to prepare any part of the NOI necessary, then send it to the person who will submit it as the responsible party. For example, an engineering firm can create an account, prepare an NOI in full, then send it to a development firm. The person at the development firm who is authorized to sign NOIs creates an account, reviews the NOI, then certifies and submits the NOI, along with fee payment if required. The development firm may also certify the NOI, but return it to the engineering firm for payment and submission.
Federal regulations require that applicants must submit certain information to MDE to validate their authorization to submit an NOI on behalf of a responsible party. To meet this requirement, MDE developed a Subscriber Agreement Template form (.doc, pdf). Those who certify NOIs must complete a form and mail it to MDE using the address on the form. A person may certify an NOI in the ePermits system before sending the Subscriber Agreement to MDE, but the lack of a valid subscriber agreement may delay permit coverage.
Under General Information, select that you are applying for coverage under the General Permit unless directed by MDE to apply for an individual permit.
Attach a vicinity map to each NOI by attaching it in the ePermits system. Some types of organizations may need to attach a Certificate of Compliance from the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission. The system has a prompt for such information. As noted above, you may attach documentation of approval of the erosion and sediment control plan whenever it is available. Users can attach a scan of any letter or plan signature/stamp into the ePermits system, or may print out, sign, and attach a Certification of Plan Approval (.doc, .pdf).
The permit fee schedule is set in regulation and has not changed. Local and state government projects are exempt from the fees. If a fee is required with the NOI, the portal payment system accepts credit cards and Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments from checking accounts. The portal includes an additional 3% credit card processing fee or a $3 flat fee for ACH payments. Once you do make payment, you will receive an email receipt from egov.com. If you wish to retain this receipt, make sure that your email system does not classify it as spam.
Once an NOI is submitted, it is assigned a Reference Number. This number becomes the Permit Number once MDE grants coverage under the General Permit to that project. Note that these permit numbers are in a different format than the numbers MDE used for previous General Permits. They will have nine characters and begin with MDRC (for example, MDRC00000).
MDE may seek clarification of information in an NOI after submission. In this case, MDE returns the NOI to the submitter via the ePermits system. The submitter will also receive an email noting the return. The submitter should review the NOI, correct or clarify it, then resubmit. The public notification period cannot begin until the NOI is resubmitted.
MDE issues permit coverage under the 2014 General Permit to a project at a specific location and for the specific number of disturbed acres in the NOI. If the permittee intends to increase the number of disturbed acres for that project under the General Permit, the permittee logs into the ePermits system and submits a modification NOI. Modifications to add less than an acre generally proceed as minor modifications; MDE reviews the NOI, and grants modified coverage if the NOI is acceptable. Modifications to add an acre or more follow a similar process to a new NOI. Once MDE accepts the NOI, a new 14-day public notification period begins. MDE grants modified coverage after that time if all required documentation is received.
Once a project has a permit, permittees may log in and transfer coverage to a new responsible party, or terminate coverage. Permittees may not terminate coverage for a portion of the area under the permit, only the entire permit. Permittees may transfer a portion of the area under the permit to a new party that is responsible for only part of the permitted area. Permittees may also add co-permittees, who would be considered additional responsible parties for the entire permit.
In the event an applicant submits an NOI by mistake, the applicant may request a withdrawal of that NOI using the ePermits system. MDE reviews the withdrawal, and if accepted, the NOI is withdrawn. That NOI cannot then be reactivated, so if permit coverage is needed later, the applicant must submit a new NOI.
MDE will accept NOIs submitted on paper using the proper form for the 2014 General Permit (not the 09GP NOI form). MDE advises applicants considering submitting a paper form that applicants sending paper documents must continue to use paper documents throughout the life of the permit (such as for modifications, transfers, or terminations) and cannot use the system to track permit status and print out permits, etc. For more information on paper forms, contact MDE using the contacts at the bottom of this page.
The ePermits system is hosted by MDE’s contractor. Should you encounter technical difficulties with the system, please access the resources listed on 24/7 Support link at the top of the system screen. If you have questions about an NOI or the General Permit, please contact MDE using the contacts at the bottom of this page.
Please contact the Department at (410) 537-3019 for more information.
1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21230