The state Department of Environmental Conservation is soliciting stakeholder input regarding the potential issuance of a State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) general permit that would provide coverage for wastewater discharges to groundwater from licensed wineries, breweries and hard cideries in New York State through an industry survey known as an Advanced Notice of Proposed Permit (ANPP). The ANPP is available on DEC’s Public Review Documents webpage at dec.ny.gov/chemical/41392.html.
DEC will accept comments on the ANPP until May 31, 2018. Comments must be submitted in writing by mail or email to: NYSDEC, Division of Water, Bureau of Water Permits – Attn: Douglas Ashline, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-3505 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the ANPP:
“The Environmental Conservation Law (§17-0505) requires a SPDES permit to make or use a disposal system or point source for the discharge of industrial waste, sanitary or other wastes which may cause or might reasonably be expected to cause pollution to waters of the state (including groundwater). Process wastewater generated through the manufacture and production of wine, beer and hard cider is considered an industrial waste that can have significant ranges in pH and contain high levels of oxygen demanding organic material and solids.
“The number of licensed winery, brewery and hard cideries is rapidly growing in New York state and there is a need for standardized wastewater management to reduce the potential for water quality impacts. A SPDES permit would provide the requisite coverage for facilities discharging process wastewater, with or without the admixture of sanitary wastewater, to groundwaters.
Due to the similar nature of operations, pollutant content, associated control measures and effluent limits applicable to the manufacture of wine, beer and hard cider, the DEC believes that a general permit is appropriate. A general permit would provide coverage to comply with the mandatory requirements of the Environmental Conservation Law, with uniform standards for management of process and sanitary wastewater, while providing a manageable application fee to help foster the growth of New York’s wine, beer and hard cider industries.
“A general permit would also streamline the SPDES permitting process for these industries reducing the costs and administrative burden to both the department and the regulated entities.
“The department seeks to develop a general permit that protects water quality, supports a strong economy and meets the needs of the industry. It is anticipated that the general permit will provide for coverage for many of the facilities in this industry.”
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.