Industrial and high-risk commercial stormwater runoff program

Program overview
Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government is considered a Phase I community under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit. One of the major requirements of this permit and the EPA consent decree is the development and implementation of an Industrial and High Risk Commercial Stormwater Program. Under this permit, LFUCG is required to:

  • Complete an ordinance that specifically allows LFUCG to regulate industrial and high-risk commercial facilities to develop and implement Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans and monitoring plans, even if they are not otherwise required to have this information.
  • Compile an inventory of Industrial and High-Risk Commercial facilities.
  • Conduct stormwater management inspections at these facilities.
  • Develop an example Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan and review checklist.
  • Conduct a workshop each year for these facilities.

The purpose of Lexington’s Industrial and High-Risk Commercial Program is to reduce pollutant loadings and improve the quality of stormwater runoff discharged from these areas into the local waterways.

Facilities under this program are required to submit an updated stormwater plan by January 31 every year and monitoring results by February 28 every year.

Who’s covered?
LFUCG's Industrial and High-Risk Commercial Stormwater Runoff Program applies to all industrial and high-risk commercial facilities identified and located within the county’s political boundary. LFUCG evaluates a facility or site for designation as an industrial or high-risk commercial based on:

  • KPDES Permitted Facilities
  • Eleven categories of stormwater discharges associated with industrial activities defined under 40 CFR 122.26(b)(14).
  • Standard Industrial Classification Code
  • Material Handling and Storage Practices
  • Wet Weather Monitoring
  • Proximity to an Impaired Water Body
  • Petroleum Facilities
  • Hazardous Waste and Material Handling/Storage
  • Equipment Repair/Storage
  • Good Housekeeping Practices

No exposure exclusion
All categories of industrial facilities (except construction activities) may be excluded from industrial stormwater discharge permitting requirements on a conditional basis. The Commonwealth of Kentucky's Division of Water has the ability to review this information and dismiss a facility from their KPDES permit if a facility can certify that a condition of no exposure exists.

No exposure means that all industrial materials or activities are protected by a storm resistant shelter or are otherwise protected to prevent exposure to rain, snow, snowmelt, and/or runoff. Industrial materials or activities include, but are not limited to, material handling equipment or activities, industrial machinery, raw materials, intermediate products, by-products, final products, or waste products. Material handling activities include the storage, loading and unloading, transportation, or conveyance of any raw material, intermediate product, final product, or waste product.

Facility inspections
Environmental Inspectors from the LFUCG Division of Water Quality will conduct stormwater management inspections at industrial and high-risk commercial facilities which are or may be the source of stormwater discharge pollutants. These inspections provide the basis for evaluating the overall effectiveness of the facility's BMP Plan or SWPPP. As part of the inspection, the inspector will:

  • Plan an inspection date with a facility.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of BMPs to reduce pollutant loadings and whether additional measures are needed.
  • Observe structural BMPs, sediment controls, and other measures to ensure proper operation.
  • Inspect any equipment needed to implement stormwater management at the facility, such as spill response equipment.
  • Evaluate the adequacy of stormwater management documents and records.
  • Observe drainage areas and outfalls for the presence of non-stormwater discharges (illicit discharges).
  • Discuss options and alternatives for good housekeeping and BMPs.
  • Verify facility inspections and training of key employees.
  • Prepare a report summarizing inspection results and follow-up actions, as may be needed.

Based on the inspection, a determination will be made as to whether the facility’s BMP Plan or SWPPP is appropriate and being implemented sufficiently. If the inspection is deemed satisfactory, no further action is required. If the inspection is deemed unsatisfactory, a written notification will be issued requiring the facility to take all reasonable steps to minimize or prevent pollutants discharging to the storm system. The facility shall acknowledge the written notification with a schedule and proposed BMPs to minimize and/or prevent pollutants from discharging to the storm system.

Stormwater pollution prevention plans
Facilities may already have a Best Management Practices Plan, Groundwater Protection Plan, Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure Plan, or Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan. Although the State requires a BMP or GPP plan, LFUCG is in the process of requesting a SWPPP be created for regulated facilities. A SWPPP is more detailed than a BMP, GPP, or SPCC plan, although all of these plans may be compiled into an Integrated Contingency Plan if desired. 

Four main objectives of a SWPPP
1.  Identify Pollutant Sources – The plan shows actual and potential sources of pollution that could affect stormwater discharges, and how they were identified.

2.  Control the Sources – The plan establishes practices and controls to prevent or effectively reduce pollution in stormwater discharges, ensuring compliance with the general permit.

3.  Document the Control Methods – The plan describes how the selected practices and controls are appropriate for the facility and how they effectively prevent or reduce pollution.

4.  Integrate Pollution Prevention – The plan discusses how controls and practices relate to each other in an integrated, facility-wide approach to pollution prevention.

In addition to inspecting facilities, division staff will also be evaluating SWPPPs to ensure all required information is included. To assist facilities in creating updated SWPPPs, the following are available:


If a facility is required to create a SWPPP, the following items shall be included:

  • Facility Description and SWPPP Contact Information
  • Site and Activity Description, Include a Site Map
  • Identification of Potential Stormwater Pollution Sources
  • Description of Controls to Reduce Pollution (Structural and Non-Structural BMPs)
  • Maintenance/Inspection Procedures
  • Records of Inspections and Follow-Up Maintenance of BMPs
  • Schedule and Procedures for Monitoring
  • Certification by the Owner, Operator, or Manager that No Illicit Discharges Exist
  • Engineer’s Certification
  • Description of Any Changes Made Since Previous SWPPP Submission

Water quality monitoring
Water quality/stormwater monitoring is one of the primary indicators of whether or not a facility's Best Management Practices are effective and are being implemented. Urban stormwater runoff is the primary reason for impaired streams within Fayette County and the United States. By conducting stormwater monitoring and implementing/maintaining appropriate BMPs, industrial and high-risk commercial facilities will be able to help the Division of Water Quality improve the waters within Fayette County.

Unless otherwise specified within the KPDES permit, grab samples should be collected at the furthest downstream discharge point available for each drainage area within a site. Examples of these locations could be an outfall going into a stream/creek/swale, end of pipe within a catch basin or manhole, or surface flow. 

Samples should be taken within the first 30 minutes of a qualifying storm if possible. A qualifying/measurable storm is an event with rainfall greater than 0.1 inches and is at least 72 hours from the previously measurable storm event. Monitoring requirements do not apply to storm events greater in magnitude than the 10-year, 24-hour storm event (unless otherwise specified by KPDES).

To assist facilities in clearly understanding how their stormwater quality is changing over time, here is a simple Excel spreadsheet to track results.

LFUCG has created a Stormwater Monitoring Guidelines for further information on monitoring procedures, numeric reference points and monitoring parameter overviews.  The State of Kentucky also has Standard Operating Procedures for biological, physical, chemical and habit monitoring and assessment, including the use of in-situ (in-field) water quality meters and calibration. The EPA has also completed an Industrial Stormwater Monitoring and Sampling Guide for additional information.

If you have questions or would like additional information about the Industrial and High-Risk Commercial Stormwater Runoff Program, please email Gabe Hensley or call (859) 425-2041.