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Time Schedule Order (TSO) Permitting

Business Objective

A manufacturing facility discharging storm water under an individual National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit was not able to meet effluent limitations set out in the permit. As exceedances continued to occur the facility decided to invest heavily in site modifications to eliminate storm water pollution sources, which was the source of elevated pollutant concentrations. Faced with continued non-compliance the corporate environmental staff turned to ALG for possible solutions.

Technical Approach

ALG recommended applying for a Time Schedule Order (TSO) permit from the Regional Water Quality Control Board (Water Board). A TSO allows a facility time to make improvements to their facility that will benefit storm water quality. During the period of the TSO, project milestones must be established with the Water Board, and interim effluent limitations may be used.

When developing a TSO, the Water Board staff and the facility must work closely together to develop the terms of the permit. ALG facilitated a cooperative and productive relationship with Water Board staff, analyzing historical data to determine which parameters were at risk of exceeding and determining acceptable concentrations to use as interim effluent limitations. Once permit terms were agreed to, the draft permit was released for 30-day public comment. To facilitate adoption the permit, ALG participated in a public hearing before the Water Board and provided the technical basis to allow for adoption of the TSO that provided a three-year period to allow the facility to come into compliance with the NPDES permit terms.


With the TSO in place, the facility was able to renovate their operations while significantly reducing the frequency, duration and extent of effluent exceedances. Additionally, ALG assisted in complying with the terms of the TSO, including submittal of semiannual reports and a final report of project progress. Securing the TSO allowed our client to minimize ongoing compliance exposure, provide sufficient time to implement needed engineering improvements, and provided the professional basis to support ongoing permit negotiations with Water Board technical staff.

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