Frequently Asked Questions about Annual Reporting For Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permittees

Updated December 4, 2008

Relying on another entity

Q1: In the Permittee Information tab, Section III, the report asks about relying on other government entities. Do we need to include in this section information about our interlocal agreements (ILA) and grant funding OR do we leave it blank. Is this section only for co-permittees?  

A: In this section, list your interlocal agreements with other entities for activities to fulfill permit requirements. This section is not just for co-permittees. List who you are relying on and for what. Include your “Interlocal Agreement” with the annual report as an attachment. (See Q8 and Q9 regarding ILA copies.)

Q2: Should I list the Secondary permittees in my jurisdiction in this section?

A: No. This section is for a list of other entities that are fulfilling one or more of your permit conditions under an agreement with another entity (see permit condition S3.B) as described in Q1. If you don’t have any agreements with other entities, you can leave this blank.

Q3: For Section III, “Relying on another Government Entity,” should we list other entities we are relying on for activities that go beyond the permit in our programs?  

A. No. We suggest that you include only those entities that are fulfilling your permit obligations. However, we encourage you to include that information in your SWMP document with a description of “additional activities.”

Signing the annual report

Q4: Who is the “responsible official” who signs the annual report (AR)? How does the city/county decide this?  

A: Permit condition G19 tells you who is authorized to sign the annual report. In all cases, the principal executive officer or ranking public official can sign the annual report. They also may designate someone as the duly authorized representative (e.g., the Public Works Director) with the authority to sign the reports. The same person (or position) generally will sign the annual report each year. Ecology suggests you consider authorizing a position rather than a person to avoid having to provide a new letter of authorization every time staff responsibilities change. If your jurisdiction is authorizing someone other than the principal executive officer or ranking public official who signed your permit application, please submit with the annual report a letter of authorization that designates either the position or person. That letter must be signed by the appropriate executive officer or ranking official, as described in permit condition G19.

Q5: Can I submit a signature delegation letter from the mayor with the annual report, and would my signature then be acceptable on the annual report

A: Yes.  If the mayor signs a letter giving you delegated signature authority that would be fine.  Please include the letter.  For example, the mayor in 2003 was Dennis Johnson and he is the one who signed the original Notice Of Intent (NOI).  He can either delegate signature authority to you personally or to your position.

Q6: How do we know who signed the Notice of Intent (NOI)/permit application?

A: Contact your Ecology permit specialist. They have that information.

Q7: Must both hard copies of the AR have an original signature?  

A: Yes.

Submitting the annual report

Q8: Do we need to submit multiple copies as well as an electronic copy of our Interlocal Agreements (ILAs)?  

A: Generally, yes. If this is not practical (e.g., because your ILAs are extremely large), talk to your permit specialist about submitting a description of the responsibilities of the other entity and submit reference information (e.g., link to a website).

Q9: Do we need to resubmit copies of the ILA for each year if there is no change in the Interlocal Agreement?  

A: No.

Q10: Why won’t Ecology accept early report submittals that are not signed? It takes too much time to route for signatures just to do a preliminary check of answers for completeness.  

A: Your Ecology permit specialist will try to review early submittals for completeness as time allows and let you know the results informally. However, we will not be able to officially confirm that a report is complete until we have the final, signed version in hand.

Q11: Is a current map with the highlighted area(s) of annexation adequate or do you want the legal description?  

A: A current map will suffice, with newly annexed areas highlighted.

Q12: If we don’t submit the Excel file in a pdf file format, how can we be sure it won’t be changed?  

A: You will have a copy of the signed hard copy that you sent, as will Ecology HQ and Regional offices, and those copies will document the report that you submitted.

Q13: What if we need to change our annual report after we mail it in?  

A: You may send a letter to your Regional permit specialist signed by the duly authorized representative describing the error and providing the correct information.

Answering questions in the annual report

Q14. With respect to our jurisdiction’s permit requirements to have Construction and Industrial stormwater permits for applicable projects and facilities, must we report in the annual report on our projects and facilities that are outside of the Geographic Area of Permit Coverage?  

A: No. The permit requirements apply to the Geographic Area of Permit Coverage, and therefore do not require you to report on projects and facilities outside of the area of permit coverage. However, Ecology expects jurisdictions to comply with the Construction and Industrial stormwater permit requirements for all applicable projects and facilities.

Q15: In the Western Washington annual report form, is it mandatory to report “Y” for questions that aren’t due for a few years if our program already meets these requirements?  

A: Yes. The permittee must answer each question truthfully. This also means that if you meet a permit requirement ahead of the deadline, you must answer “Y” for the associated question(s).

Q16: For questions that ask for a number, can we enter a number even if we answered “N” to the question because it is not fully met (e.g., number of inspections conducted, for example)?  

A: Your best option is to enter “0” (zero) and then include in the comments that you do perform similar inspections under your existing program.

Q17: Should we answer “Y” if the deadline is February 2009 and we met it in January 2009?  

A: No, the reporting period for the annual report is from January 1, 2008 to December 31, 2008.

Q18: Since the Annual Report covers a calendar year, and the permit “year” is February 16 to February 15, how do I report on that first (partial calendar year) or activity? See, for example, the WWA Phase II Annual Report form question #78.

A: Answer “Y” and note in the Comments field that your program covered less than 100% due to a shortened reporting year.

Q19: WWA Phase II: What is the difference between questions #66 and #69?  

A: Question #66 is about the post-construction inspections conducted for stormwater facilities and BMPs and any enforcement actions related to those inspections. Question #69 asks to confirm whether or not the permittee is applying the annual or regular maintenance schedule and required standards to their permitted post-construction stormwater facilities and BMPs.

Q20: In Section VII B, “SWMP Evaluation,” (WWA) we are instructed to fill in "NA" if we are not yet implementing BMPs for a component of the SWMP. Does that mean that we should not report on individual BMPs we are already implementing until we have fully implemented all the BMPs for that program component?  

A: Yes, answer "NA" until you have fully implemented all the requirements for that program component. The requirements for each program component in S5 are intended to meet MEP (the “maximum extent practicable” standard) as a suite of activities rather than as individual BMPs. For this reason, the BMPs would not meet MEP until you have fully implemented all the requirements for that program component.

Q21: Is it okay to leave Section VII.A and C (for WWA) blank when no N/Y/NA box is available?  

A: Yes, it is acceptable to leave Section VII A. blank if no relevant stormwater monitoring or studies have been conducted. If, however, you answer “N” to any question in Section VII.B, it may be appropriate to fill out Section VII.C.

Q22: Can you explain how Underground Injection and Control (UIC) rules impact our city’s first year SWMP? Ecology publication 05-10-067 Guidance for UIC Wells that Manage Stormwater, December 2006 has language that “….municipalities that are under an NPDES stormwater permit may meet UIC program requirements by applying their Stormwater Management Program to areas served by UIC wells.” Does this require us to discuss UICs in our SWMP document?

A: Permit condition S2.A.1 states that discharges to the ground through facilities covered under the UIC rule are not subject to the municipal stormwater permit. You do not need to discuss them in the annual report or the SWMP document. The language in the UIC guidance refers the the fact that stormwater BMPs can be applied to protect ground water quality.

Ecology review and assistance

Q23: What is the difference between Ecology checking the annual reports for completeness vs. compliance?  

A: As an early step of checking for completeness, Ecology permit specialists will confirm that the annual report submittal includes the appropriate responsible party’s signature and all required attachments. To check further for completeness, Ecology will confirm that you answered all appropriate questions in the required format. Ecology’s “compliance” review is more complex. During the compliance review, the permit specialist will also check to confirm that all permit requirements (including timely submittal of the annual report) are being met. The compliance check is an ongoing process and may take several months to conduct.

Q24: Does Ecology "approve" the annual report?  

A: No. Ecology does not have specific approval authority over annual reports. We will send you a letter when we determine your annual report is complete. The letter will confirm that you have met the permit requirement to submit an annual report that includes the required information.

Q25: Is WebWPLCS, Ecology’s permit information database, available to the public online?  

A: No. WebWPLCS is an intranet application available only to those on the Ecology network. The permit requires in the public involvement component that permittees post their annual report documents on their website.

Frequently Asked Questions about Reporting on Monitoring

Questions in this section refer to Annual Report Form Section VII A, “Information Collection, BMP Evaluation, and Monitoring:”

Q26: What kinds of monitoring or studies should we report related to S8.B.1?  

A: Describe any monitoring studies that involve your MS4 or that involve your municipal stormwater. This includes investigations and studies related to your stormwater or MS4 that you conduct as well as studies that other entities conduct and then report to you. This may also include groundwater studies and other monitoring studies that provide information related to the stormwater program. This may include TMDL monitoring called for in Appendix 2 of the permit or elsewhere.

Q27: Does the permit require that we report the data from the studies?  

A: No. The permit requires a description of the monitoring or study. Briefly describe any data qualifiers (e.g., QA/QC considerations) that may be appropriate. The annual report asks for information about who to contact for additional information.

Q28: Must we report ambient water quality studies or monitoring under S8.B.1?  

A: Yes, if it is telling you something about your MS4.

Q29: Must we report monitoring by Ecology for a TMDL study that’s underway?  

A: It is a good idea to describe the study and give the contact information. Although Ecology staff may know about the study, others who review your annual report may not yet know about it.

Q30: Should a municipality report on stormwater monitoring conducted under requirements of a NPDES Construction Stormwater permit?  

A: No. Construction stormwater permittees are already required to submit construction site monitoring data directly to Ecology. Do not report these results in the annual report.

Q31: Should permittees report outfall sampling for illicit discharge detection and elimination (IDDE) program activities?  

A: In most cases, no. There is a fine distinction between "sampling" and "monitoring." The intent of this requirement is to report on "monitoring or studies." That implies some level of a monitoring program, not one-time samples for the single purpose of identifying a potential illicit discharge. Ecology expects to receive the information on IDDE (and Phase I source control efforts) in other parts of the annual report and can follow up as needed. If the IDDE activities require ongoing monitoring to address a problem, you can include it here with a brief description, but this isn't required if you report the IDDE activity elsewhere in the annual report.

Frequently Asked Questions for Eastern Washington Only

Q32: Where do we find the definition of a major storm event for areas of EWA?  

A: This depends on the jurisdiction and the condition of its MS4 (or parts of the MS4). Permit condition (S5.B.6.ii) references storms of greater than 10-year recurrence intervals). The 10-year, 24-hour design storm may work for many MS4s. There are maps in the Stormwater Management Manual for Eastern Washington for different design storms, including the 10-year, 24-hour storm. Section 4.3 (page 4-30). They are also online. If you go to the EWA Manual, section 4.3, there is an online link to maps that you can print out. Because the intent of the requirement is to provide maintenance adequate to protect treatment and flow control functions, if MS4 facilities require more frequent spot checks, municipalities should conduct those as needed.

Q33: For EWA, what should a permittee answer for the question about providing information to developers from the effective date of the permit if we didn’t fully meet this requirement?

A: Ecology understands if you didn’t have this requirement met on February 17, 2007. However, if you did not fully meet this requirement during 2008, answer “N” and explain what you are doing to meet it.

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