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El Paso’s Stormwater Discharge Permit

Highlights of the El Paso’s Stormwater Management Plan

Report an Illegal Discharge

Residential

Stormwater Permits for Construction Activities

Stormwater Permits for Industrial Activities

Dewatering Permits

Other Stormwater Permits

El Paso’s Stormwater Discharge Permit

Stormwater that flows over land and impervious areas such as streets and parking lots picks up pollutants left on the ground such as oils, trash, and waste as it flows into the City’s municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4). Portions of the City’s MS4 will discharge directly into the Rio Grande river, whereas, other areas of the MS4 discharge to drainage ditches, arroyos and holding ponds. The City of El Paso and Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) have a Stormwater Management Program (SWMP) in place which includes pollution prevention measures, pollutant removal techniques, stormwater monitoring, a stormwater ordinance, inspections and enforcement, and other methods to control the discharge of pollutants from stormwater. The SWMP is implemented by multiple City Departments and the El Paso Water Utilities (EPWU) in accordance with a permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) called a Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) Permit, which authorizes the discharge of stormwater to the Rio Grande from the City’s MS4.

Highlights of El Paso’s Stormwater Management Plan

  1. Structural Controls
    • EPWU conducts regular inspections, maintenance and cleanout of the MS4 (channels, basins, pump stations, inlets, and conduits).
  2. Areas of New Development and Significant Redevelopment
    • Areas of new development and redevelopment are required to be developed to reduce pollution under the stormwater management requirements found in Subdivision Regulations Title 19.19 of the City Ordinance.
  3. Roadways
    • The Street Department implements a street sweeping program that helps to keep streets clean and reduce stormwater pollution. Alleys and unpaved shoulders are also maintained to reduce erosion of dirt and trash into the stormwater system.
  4. Flood Control Projects
    • EPWU is in charge of a process to evaluate drainage infrastructure city wide and produce a Stormwater Master Plan. Previous flood control projects to repair facilities damaged by Storm 2006 were headed by the City Engineering Department. The EPWU and City also work with the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers to inspect and design new flood control projects.
  5. Pesticide, Herbicide, and Fertilizer Application
    • The City Environmental Services Department uses alternate methods for vector control such as predatory fish for mosquito abatement and informs the public on how to minimize mosquito breeding areas.
    • The Streets and Parks Departments limit the application of herbicides through manual removal practices.
  6. Illicit Discharges and Improper Disposal
    • Stormwater Code Compliance inspectors investigate cases of illicit and improper disposals. Code Compliance inspectors have the authority for enforcement actions for these types of violations under Municipal Code – Chapter 15.20 Stormwater Management as well as under EPWU Rule #2
    • Environmental Services operates five Citizen Collection Centers that accept El Paso residential and household hazardous wastes.
    • The City of El Paso implements curbside recycling program which collects aluminum, tin, plastics (#1 and #2), paper and cardboard.
  7. Spill Prevention and Response
    • The El Paso Fire Department responds to hazardous materials spills to stabilize the incident and oversee clean-up actions.
    • The Street Department and Environmental Services (Solid Waste Management) require all of their truck drivers to perform a pre-trip inspection, which includes inspecting trucks for leaks and securing loads so that material is not spilled onto roadways.
    • The El Paso Fire Department inspects businesses for compliance with the City’s Fire Codes. Inspections include a review of both non-hazardous and hazardous materials storage.
  8. Industrial and High Risk Runoff
    • Stormwater Code Compliance maintains an inventory of industrial and high-risk facilities and conducts compliance inspections.
    • Industrial facilities with stormwater discharges are required to obtain a permit from the Development Services Department and comply with the requirements of the TPDES Multi-Sector General Permit.
  9. Construction Site Runoff
    • The Development Services Department conducts compliance inspections of construction sites. Stormwater Code Compliance inspectors also respond to complaints of illicit discharges from construction sites.
    • Large and certain small construction site operators are required to obtain a stormwater permit from the Development Services Department and comply with the requirements of the TPDES Construction General Permit.
  10. Public Education
    • EPWU operates a telephone “Hot Line” by calling 1-877-ID-FLOWS (1-877-433-5697) for citizens to report illicit discharges and improper disposals. This “Hot Line” is also displayed on Code Compliance inspector’s vehicles.
    • Stormwater inspectors conduct presentations each year to various organizations regarding storm water topics.
    • In partnership with Environmental Services, Keep El Paso Beautiful (KEPB) conducts outreach programs, presentations, press releases, public service announcements and educational programs.
  11. Monitoring and Screening Programs
    • EPWU monitors water quality at 5 discharge locations on an annual basis and conducts floatables surveys at 2 locations. The results are reported in the annual report to TCEQ and EPA.
    • EPWU conducts dry weather screening to identify illicit connections to the MS4 and wet weather screening to assess pollutant levels after storm events.

Report an Illegal Discharge

To report illicit discharges and improper disposals call the “Hot Line” at 1-877-ID-FLOWS (1-877-433-5697). For water and sewer line breaks or stormwater emergencies, please call dispatch at 594-5775.

Residential

  • Old pesticides, paint, solvents, and hazardous chemicals should not be poured down the sewer or storm drains. Residential customers within the City of El Paso can dispose of these and other household wastes at the Citizen Collection Centers.
  • Fats, oils and grease (FOG) disposed of down the sewer drain can clog your lines and cause sewer to backup into your home and yard. Avoid backups by practicing best management practices listed in the attached water brochure (FOG Insert) .
  • Pet waste can be a significant contributor to stormwater pollution by carrying bacteria, parasites and viruses into stormwater which could end up being discharged into the Rio Grande our drinking water source. Always clean up after pets.
  • Use drip pans and adsorbents to catch vehicle fluids while working on your car.
  • Street litter such as plastic and Styrofoam, paper, and scrap food should not be thrown outside as it eventually collects in the stormwater system, increases maintenance and may be discharged to the Rio Grande river.

Stormwater Permits for Construction Activities

Construction projects that disturb 1.00 acres to 4.99 acres are considered small construction projects. Projects that disturb 5.00 acres or more are considered large construction projects. Small and large projects are required to follow the TCEQ General Permit for Construction (TXR150000) as well as obtain a City of El Paso stormwater permit.

Owners and Operators of construction activities are responsible for obtaining applicable stormwater permits prior to the start of construction. Follow the links below to determine if your construction project is required to have a stormwater permit:

Owners and Operators are also responsible for providing copies of certain notices listed in the table below to EPWU two days prior to the commencement of construction activities either via email, fax or mail at the following locations:

EPWU Stormwater Code Compliance
P.O. Box 511, El Paso, TX 79961-0511
storm_construction@epwu.org
Fax: 915-532-8285
Phone: 915-621-2093

Permit Category Provide a copy of the following below to EPWU two days before construction commences.
Automatic Authorizations for Small Construction Activities With Low Potential for Erosion Construction Site Notice – start of project
Automatic Authorization for All Other Small Construction Activities City Stormwater Permit – start of project
Construction Site Notice – start of project
Waivers from Coverage for Small Construction Activities Low Rainfall Erosivity Waiver – start of project
Large Construction Activity City Stormwater Permit City Stormwater Permit – start of project
Notice of Intent (NOI) – start of project
Notice of Termination (NOT) – end of project
Notice of Change (NOC) – when applicable

Stormwater Permits for Industrial Activities

Stormwater permit from the TCEQ and City are required if your industrial activity Standard Industrial Classification Code (SIC) falls into one of the 30 regulated sectors of industrial activity. Follow the links below to determine if your industrial activity is required to have a stormwater permit:

Operators that obtain stormwater permits are also responsible for providing copies of the following notices to EPWU either via email, fax or mail:

City Stormwater Permit
Notice of Intent (NOI)
Notice of Termination (NOT)
Notice of Change (NOC) – when applicable
No Exposure Certification (NEC) – when applicable

EPWU Stormwater Code Compliance
P.O. Box 511, El Paso, TX 79961-0511
storm_industrial@epwu.org
Fax: 915-532-8285
Phone: 915-621-2093

Dewatering Permits

If your project will include discharge of wastewater into the stormwater system which includes streets, a dewatering permit may be required. Please refer to the following links for more information.

Other Stormwater Permits

If your facility or activity will include the following you may be required to apply for a stormwater general permit from TCEQ as well as the City.

  • Concrete Production Facilities (TXG110000)
  • Hydrostatic Test Waters (TXG670000)
  • Petroleum Bulk Stations & Terminals (TXG340000)
  • Petroleum Contaminated Wastewater (TXG830000)
  • Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (TXG920000)

The water quality permits from TCEQ for these activities are available at:
https://www.tceq.texas.gov/permitting