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Water: Permitting (NPDES)

Municipalities and Wastewater Treatment Plants



A number of NPDES permit program areas affect how a municipality handles its sanitary wastewater and stormwater runoff. Properly managed municipal facilities, such as publicly owned treatment works (POTWs), and wastewater systems, such as separate and combined storm sewer systems, play an important role in protecting community health and local water quality. Municipalities rely on assistance from other partners, such as industry, developers, and homeowners, to ensure that they can meet the requirements contained in their municipal NPDES permits. Municipal staff, who are responsible for meeting NPDES permit obligations, must understand how the NPDES permit program works, who should be involved and educated about the NPDES program, and what information is available to help perform their jobs effectively.


This page provides links to the following program area pages:

  • Experts Forum on Public Health Impacts of Wet Weather Blending - EPA plans to hold a forum of public health experts in June 2014 to discuss the public health implications of discharges of ‘blended’ effluent from publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) into waterways.
  • Secondary Treatment Standards - Secondary treatment standards are established by EPA for publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) and reflect the performance of secondary wastewater treatment plants.
  • Water Quality Based Permitting - Describes the effluent limitations that are protective of the water quality standards of the receiving water.
  • Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) - Describes the NPDES permit program to prevent discharges from combined sewer systems that are designed to collect rainwater runoff, domestic sewage, and industrial wastewater in the same pipe.
  • Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) - Describes the NPDES permit program to prevent discharges from sanitary sewer systems are meant to collect and transport all of the sewage that flows into them to a publicly owned treatment works (POTW).
  • Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) - Presents information on the NPDES permit requirements for small and large municipal separate storm sewer systems
  • National Pretreatment Program - Describes the NPDES program to control pollution from industrial facilities into municipal sewer systems.
  • Biosolids - Describes how EPA regulates all sewage sludge that is used or disposed through land application, surface disposal, incineration, or disposal in a municipal solid waste landfill.
  • Wastewater Education Materials - Helps municipal officials educate citizens on important wastewater issues by providing information on essential EPA programs and funding sources.

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