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Individual Permit: Frequently Asked Questions

Our answers to reader's questions about the Individual Permit for Storm Water.

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  • Environmental Communication & Public Involvement
  • P.O. Box 1663 MS M996
  • Los Alamos, NM 87545
  • (505) 667-0216
  • Email

Frequently Asked Questions

Individual Permit Questions and Answers appear below:

Who is permitting authority for LANL's Storm Water Individual Permit?

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 6 Office is the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting authority for the State of New Mexico.

The NPDES Individual Permit was issued to Los Alamos National Security, LLC, and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) by the U.S. EPA Region 6 Office located in Dallas, Texas.

What are Baseline Control Measures?

Section A of the Permit requires the Permittees to install baseline control measures at all permitted Sites identified in Appendix A to the Permit as necessary to meet the non-numeric technology-based effluent limits intended to minimize pollutants in storm water discharges.

The Permittees must select, design, install and implement baseline control measures - including best management practices - in accordance with good engineering practices and manufacturer’s specifications.

The baseline control measures must address the following non-numeric technology-based effluent limitations as listed in Sections A.1 – 5 of the Permit.

  • Erosion and sedimentation controls
  • Management of Run-on and Runoff
  • Employee Training
  • Other controls, where applicable, such as:
    • controls to ensure that no waste, garbage, or floatable debris are discharged to receiving waters
    • minimization of dust generation and off-site vehicle tracking
    • minimization of the introduction of raw, final, or waste materials to exposed areas; and/or
    • placement of flow velocity dissipation devices if the flows would otherwise create erosive conditions
How many Sites does LANL monitor for the Storm Water Individual Permit?

The Individual Permit authorizes the discharge of storm water from 405 Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs) and Areas of Concern (AOCs), collectively referred to as ‘Sites.’ Section D.2 of the Permit allows LANL to monitor two or more Sites in conjunction at an associated ‘Site Monitoring Area’ (SMA) instead of monitoring at each individual Site, when appropriate based on drainage patterns for the affected Sites.

For the purposes of monitoring, the 405 Sites are organized into 250 SMAs as listed in Appendix A to the Individual Permit.

What is a High Priority Site and where are they listed in the Permit?

The Individual Permit designates 63 Sites as High Priority Sites for the purpose of completing the Corrective Action requirements described in Section E of the Permit. The list of 63 High Priority Sites is found in Section E.4 (a).

LANL must certify completion of corrective action at all High Priority Sites within three years of the effective date of the Permit.

How were High Priority Sites determined?

The 63 High Priority Sites were identified based on previous detection of polychlorinated biphenyl compounds (PCBs) in storm  water runoff discharged from the Site(s). The 63 High Priority Sites are assigned to 33 Site Monitoring Areas.

Further information about the High Priority Sites can be found in each of the five volumes of the Site Discharge Pollution Prevention Plan on the Site Discharge Pollution Prevention Plan webpage. The Storm Water Individual Permit Annual Report is available on the Individual Permit for Stormwater reports webpage.

When High Priority Sites and Moderate Priority Sites are in the same Site Monitoring Area (SMA), what is the deadline for Corrective Action at the SMA?

The Individual Permit establishes corrective action deadlines for Sites. However, LANL organizes the implementation of corrective action by SMA.

The schedule for corrective action work at any SMA that has both a High Priority and Moderate Priority Sites is based on the schedule for High Priority Sites; i.e., within three years of the effective date of the Permit.

There are three SMAs that contain both High Priority and Moderate Priority Sites:

  • LA-SMA-6.5
  • M-SMA-3.5
  • PJ-SMA-18
What is an SMA?

Section D.2 of the Permit states that all samples taken for purposes of confirmation monitoring shall be taken at the Site Monitoring Areas (SMAs) specified in Appendix A to the Permit. Section D.2 further allows LANL to monitor two or more Sites in conjunction at an associated SMA instead of monitoring at each individual Site, when appropriate based on drainage patterns for the affected Sites.

SMA locations are based on reasonable site accessibility for sampling purposes and LANL’s best judgment to ensure that samples taken at a particular point will be representative of discharges from Sites in the drainage area.

For the purposes of monitoring, the 405 Sites are organized into 250 SMAs as listed in Appendix A to the Individual Permit.

The Site Discharge Pollution Prevention Plan (SDPPP) includes detailed information about the SMAs including:

  • The location of each Site within the SMA drainage area
  • The coordinates for the sampling location
  • Estimates of the size of the drainage area for each of the Sites
  • The total drainage area of the associated SMA
What is an erosion control?

Appendix E to the Permit describes the purpose of erosion control measures as minimizing the potential for erosion occurring when storm water runoff flows across an area.

Baseline control measures used for erosion control at LANL include the following major categories:

  • Capping
  • Channel/swale
  • Established vegetation
  • Gabions
  • Seed and mulch
What is a sediment control?

Appendix E to the Permit describes the purpose of sediment control meaures as retaining storm water-transported sediment onsite.

Baseline control measures used for sediment control at LANL include the following major categories:

  • Berms
  • Check dams
  • Gabions
  • Sediment traps
  • Basins
What is the SDPPP?

Section F of the Permit requires LANL to prepare a storm water pollution prevention plan that is called the ‘Site Discharge Pollution Prevention Plan’ (SDPPP) in the Individual Permit. The Permit-required contents of the SDPPP and associated documentation are described in Section F.

The SDPPP must be updated annually to fully incorporate all changes made during the previous year and to reflect any changes projected for the following year.

The SDPPP is a document that has three primary objectives:

  • Identify and summarize potential pollutant sources, including potential sediment-borne pollutants, that may affect the quality of storm water discharges associated with the IP Sites
  • Identify and describe the control measures intended to reduce or eliminate pollutants in storm water discharges
  • Document the procedures and schedules for sample collection and site inspection
Will LANL provide and agenda prior to the public meeting?

Section I.7 (c) of the Permit requires that LANL send email notifications to members of the public who have subscribed on the public website to receive notifications about public meetings, which will be held approximately every 6 months.

LANL must email a draft agenda at least one week before the meeting and will consider suggestions from the public for changes or additions to the agenda.

In the EPRR, I received the message “The file is damaged and could not be repaired when trying to open a PDF.” What should I do?

If you are using Firefox and the PDF opens within the browser, change your settings to open the PDF "external" to the browser:

  1. Tools » Options » Applications
  2. Select Adobe Acrobat Document.
  3. In the drop-down box that appears, select "Use Adobe Acrobat v.#" (insert your version of Adobe Acrobat) instead of "Use Adobe Acrobat (in Firefox).
  4. Click OK.

Some PDFs may exceed the cache limits of the browser. This issue is more common on a PC than a MAC. If you are using Firefox, you may want to try another browser (IE, Safari).

To increase your cache for Firefox:

  1. Tools » Options » Advanced » Network tab
  2. Change to 100 MB of space for cache.

If these suggestions are unsuccessful, please send an email to askoppie@lanl.gov with details, such as report number, author, and title. We will send you a copy of the PDF.

I signed up for e-mail notifications but I only want to see items related to the Individual Permit. How can I change the notifications that I receive?
  1. Log into the GovDelivery system.
  2. Enter the email address where you receive notifications and press enter (or click "Go").
  3. Click on "Subscriber Preferences" which will list all topics you subscribed to receive.
  4. Click on the boxes next to line items you NO LONGER wish to see (items you want will NOT have check marks).
  5. Click "Submit" to delete the marked items from your list.

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