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EPA Provides Certainty to Florida DEP over Stormwater Discharges at Facilities Impacted by Hurricane Irma

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WASHINGTON (September 13, 2017) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today has issued a letter to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) recognizing that facilities with Clean Water Act stormwater discharge permits impacted by Hurricane Irma may need to utilize the flexibility provided by their permits in order to continue operating or get back online.

National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NDPES) permits, issued by states under the Clean Water Act to control pollution in lakes, rivers and streams, include provisions that allow for temporary non-compliance with permit limits or discharges at a facility under certain unavoidable circumstances, known as “upset” or “bypass” provisions. EPA recognizes that some facilities in Florida may need to utilize upset or bypass provisions as a result of impacts from Hurricane Irma.

EPA’s letter to FDEP also recognizes that other unforeseen issues may arise as a result of Hurricane Irma and that EPA stands ready to work with its state partners to address any potential issues as they arise.