4 The record articles

Michigan NPDES Applications

Posted: May 16th, 2024

Authors: Colleen N. 

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has recently added questions around per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Industrial/Commercial Application Form for permitting direct discharges of wastewater. This update comes as a result of the December 6, 2022, United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) memorandum that provides guidance to “state-authorized permitting authorities to leverage the NPDES Program to restrict the discharge of PFAS at their sources.” The update to EGLE’s NPDES application found on MiEnviro, EGLE’s online platform that supports air quality, water quality, and natural resources permitting and compliance programs for Michigan, comes after the publication of an interoffice communication on March 14, 2023. The March publication addressed how EGLE’s Water Resources Division (WRD) would develop and implement permitting strategies to address PFAS discharges from NPDES-permitted facilities in Michigan, citing the December 6, 2022, the U.S. EPA memorandum.

PFAS is a high priority for EGLE due to the health concerns associated with the chemicals, their persistence in the environment, and current lack of regulation of releases to the air, water, and soil. Additional PFAS constituents are anticipated to be regulated as states and U.S. EPA make further classifications for the forever chemicals. For more information on EGLE’s overall regulatory strategy, check out ALL4’s previous summary of EGLE’s plan for regulating PFAS via the NPDES.

Compliance measures will begin to roll out for current permittees discharging to surface waters of the state including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Source identification and process evaluation of process flows;
  • Additional analytical testing parameters for PFAS;
  • Submission of reports and action plans for how the facility is addressing PFAS at the facility;
  • Product substitution; and,
  • Installation of treatment systems.

As a result, EGLE has added a new section for both new and re-issuance permit applications through its online compliance portal MiEnviro. With the addition of EGLE’s newly added section, applicants should anticipate answering questions pertaining to PFAS at their facility regardless of its industrial activities or history with the chemicals. These questions address how a facility’s activities and discharges may impact waters of the state (WOTS) and potentially release perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) or perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), just two of the many constituents which make up PFAS. As part of the MiEnviro submittal process for the NPDES application and renewal, PFAS analytical results will need to be included as part of the submission.

The PFAS questions added to MiEnviro for applicants include the following:

  1. Is this facility known to have PFOS and/or PFOA present in wastewater discharged to surface waters of the state?
  2. Is this facility a landfill for solid or hazardous waste with a discharge of leachate?
  3. Do any of the following activities at the facility discharge wastewater?
  • Metal Finishing;
  • Pulp & Paper Production;
  • Chrome Plating/Chromate Conversion;
  • Car Washing;
  • Apply Coating;
  • Remediation of a contaminated site;
  • Commercial Industrial Laundry;
  • Leather or Hide Tanning/Finishing Operation;
  • Apply a stain-, dirt-, water-, or fire-resistant coating and/or protectant;
  • Manufacture, formulate, or mix paints/pigments;
  • Carpet and/or Upholstery Cleaning;
  • Carpet, Rug, or Textile Manufacturer; and/or
  • Centralized Waste Treaters (treat or recover metal-bearing, oily, and organic wastes, wastewater, or used material received from off site, and are regulated under 40 CFR Part 437).
  1. Has Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) ever been used at the facility for training or testing, or to respond to a fire emergency? Has AFFF ever been stored at this facility?

What actions do you need to take?

Not only are PFAS a concern to the public, which could impact public and customer relations, but there are significant financial implications in determining and dealing with PFAS at industrial facilities. As additional scrutiny emerges around the topic of PFAS, Michigan will require the 40 PFAS parameters identified in U.S. EPA’s Draft, along with a minimum of 28 additional Michigan-specific analytes, to be sampled and submitted as part of a required annual status report for both direct industrial wastewater dischargers and industrial stormwater discharges alike. For additional information on Method 1633 and other PFAS testing methods refer to ALL4’s  recently published article on New Approved PFAS Testing Methods.

ALL4 continues to monitor updates made to Michigan’s NPDES permitting process, both generally and for PFAS, and can assist in your NPDES renewal application and develop strategies for your compliance needs. To learn more about how ALL4 can address your specific needs or to discuss any NPDES-related queries, please contact Cody Fridley at cfridley@all4inc.com or 269.716.6537, or Colleen Nagel at cnagel@all4inc.com.

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