Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Water: Basics

Interested Citizens

Citizen involvement is an important part of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program.  Citizen involvement occurs at the time of the initial State NPDES authorization process, through submission of public comments and participation at public hearings, and may occur during any substantial program revision. Citizens may also participate in the Federal rulemaking process where NPDES program requirements are established.  Citizen participation helps to ensure the NPDES permit program is working effectively in every community.

A large body of information is available to help interested citizens understand how the NPDES permit program helps to achieve the Nation's clean water goals. If you are a citizen that wants more information on the NPDES permit program, Water Permitting 101 (PDF) (11 pp, 37K, About PDF) is a brief overview and history of NPDES program.       

If you have concerns about the NPDES program administration in your area, there are a number of steps you make take to voice your concerns. The following list recommends informal options:   

  • Verify whether your State has been authorized to administer the NPDES program.  Call or write your permitting authority to voice your concerns.
  • Report a possible violation.        
  • If the State permitting authority does not satisfy your concern, identify the EPA Regional Office responsible for oversight of your state.  You may call or write them to voice your concern.    
  • If the EPA Region does not satisfy your concern, call or write to EPA Headquarters, Office of Wastewater Management, Water Permits Division in Washington, DC.    
  • You may write a letter to the Administrator of the EPA.    
  • You may State your concerns in a petition for withdrawal of the State program as provided under CWA Section 402 (c)  and 40 CFR 123.62.    
  • You may file a civil suit in a court of law.

Jump to main content.