The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a 2012 construction general permit (CGP) to replace the 2008 CGP, which expired on Feb. 15. The CGP is required under the Clean Water Act, and the new permit includes enhanced protections for surface waters. Under the Clean Water Act, national pollutant discharge elimination system permits are typically issued for five-year periods, after which time the EPA may revise them. The permits control water quality by limiting the amount of pollutants that can be discharged into waterways by specific sources.

The permit applies to stormwater discharges from construction activities such as clearing, grading, excavating, and stockpiling, that disturb one or more acres, or smaller sites that are part of a larger common plan of development or sale. Prior to discharging stormwater, construction operators must obtain coverage under a permit, which is administered either by the state or the EPA, depending on where the construction site is located. Permit coverage is required from “the commencement of earth-disturbing activities” until “final stabilization,” according to the EPA.

The full permit is available online at http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/cgp.cfm.