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Water: Water Quality Standards Academy

Basic Course: Supplemental Topics (NPDES Permit 19)

NPDES Permit Program

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  • The NPDES permit program authorizes the issuance of permits to control the discharge of pollutants from point sources into waters of the United States. Most States have been authorized by EPA under Section 402 of the CWA to issue NPDES permits for point source discharges. The Agency retains an oversight role by providing guidance and, in some instances, review of proposed permits. A Tribe (or a Territory) can also be authorized to implement the NPDES permit program in its jurisdiction.
  • Technology-based effluent limits (TBELs) are required under the regulation as the “minimum level of control that must be imposed” in an NPDES permit. The TBELs are intended to implement one of the central concepts of the Clean Water Act—namely, the goal of zero discharge of pollutants.
  • Water quality-based effluent limits (WQBELs) may also be necessary if the TBELs are not sufficiently protective of the State/Tribe’s water quality criteria.

For informational purposes only–Not official statements of EPA policy.

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