(a)  In accordance with the provisions of G.S. 143.215.1 (b)(3) and (4), general permits may be developed by the Division and issued by the Director for categories of activities shown in this Rule.  All those dischargers in the State that received a "Certificate of Coverage" for that category from the Division will be deemed covered under that general permit.  Each of the general permits will be issued individually under G.S. 143‑215.1, using all procedural requirements specified for individual NPDES or state permits including application and public notice.  Each general permit must be approved by the U.S. EPA, before it becomes effective.  Dischargers covered under general permits, developed in accordance with this Rule, will be subject to the same effluent standards and limits, management practices, enforcement authorities, and rights and privileges as specified in the general permit.  Procedural requirements for application and permit approval, unless specifically designated as applicable to individuals proposed to be covered under the general permits, apply only to the issuance of the general permits.  After issuance of the general permit by the Director and approval by EPA, dischargers in the applicable categories may request coverage under the general permit, and the Director or his designee shall grant appropriate certification.  General permits may be written to regulate categories of other discharges that all: Involve the same or substantially similar operations; Have similar discharge characteristics; Require the same effluent limitations or operating conditions; Require the same or similar monitoring; and In the opinion of the Director are more appropriately controlled by a general permit such as:

(1)           once‑through non‑contact cooling waters with no biocidal additives;

(2)           mine dewatering facilities;

(3)           water filtration facilities;

(4)           swimming pool filter backwash facilities;

(5)           seafood packing facilities;

(6)           oil terminal storage facilities;

(7)           tourist gem mines;

(8)           sand dredges;

(9)           trout farms;

(10)         aquifer restoration;

(11)         stormwater discharges;

(12)         other discharges that meet the criteria in Paragraph (a) of this Rule.

(b)  General permits will only be granted for discharge into waters classified either WS or SA following review and approval by the Division of Environmental Health, Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources.

(c)  No provision in any general permit issues under this Rule shall be interpreted as allowing the permittee to violate state water quality standards or other applicable environmental standards.

(d)  For one of these general permits to apply to a facility, a Notice of Intent to be covered by the general permit must be given using forms described in Rule .0105(a) of this Section and, as appropriate, following the application procedures specified in Rules .0105 and .0106 of this Section.  If all requirements are met, coverage under the general permit may be granted.  If all requirements are not met, a long form application and full application review procedure will be required.

(e)  General permits will be effective for a term not to exceed five years at the end of which the Division may renew them.  All public notice requirements shall be satisfied prior to renewal of general permits.  Dischargers covered by general permits need not submit new Notices of Intent or renewal requests unless so directed by the Division.  If the Division chooses not to renew a general permit, all facilities covered under that general permit shall be notified to submit applications for individual permits.

(f)  All previous state water quality permits issued to a facility which can be covered by a general permit, whether for construction or operation, are revoked upon request of the permittee, termination of the individual permit and issuance of the Certification of Coverage.

(g)  Anyone engaged in activities covered by the general permit rules but not permitted in accordance with this Section will be considered in violation in G.S. 143‑215.1.

(h)  Any individual covered or considering coverage under a general permit may choose to pursue an individual permit for any facility covered by this Rule.

(i)  The Director may require any person, otherwise eligible for coverage under a general permit, to apply for an individual NPDES permit by notifying that person that an application is required.  Notification shall consist of a written description of the reason(s) for the decision, appropriate permit application forms and application instructions, a statement establishing the required date for submission of the application, and a statement informing the person that coverage by the general permit shall automatically terminate upon issuance of the individual permit.  Reasons for requiring application for an individual permit may be:

(1)           the discharge is a significant contributor of pollutants;

(2)           conditions at the permitted site change, altering the constituents or characteristics of the discharge such that the discharge no longer qualifies for coverage under a general permit;

(3)           noncompliance with the general permit;

(4)           noncompliance with Division Rules; or

(5)           a change has occurred in the availability of demonstrated technology or practices for the control or abatement of pollutants applicable to the point source;

(6)           effluent limitations are promulgated for the point sources covered by the general permit;

(7)           a water quality management plan containing the requirements applicable to such point sources is approved after the issuance of the general permit;

(8)           a determination that the water of the stream receiving the discharge is not meeting applicable water quality standards.

(j)  Any interested person may petition the Director to take an action under Paragraph (i) of this Rule to require an individual NPDES permit.

(k)  General permits may be modified, terminated, or revoked and reissued in accordance with the authority and requirements of Rules .0112 and .0114 of this Section.


History Note:        Authority G.S. 143‑215(1); 143‑215.3(a)(1);

Eff. October 1, 1987;

Amended Eff. March 1, 1993; August 1, 1991; August 1, 1988.