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Water: Basics

State Program Information

States, tribes, and territories are authorized through a process that is defined by the Clean Water Act Section 402 (b) and 40 CFR Part 123 . States who want to be authorized to administer the NPDES program submit to EPA a letter from the Governor requesting review and approval, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), a Program Description, a Statement of Legal Authority (also known as an "Attorney Generals Statement" or "AG Statement"), and the underlying State laws and regulations. EPA determines whether the package is complete within 30 days of receipt. Within 90 days of receipt, EPA renders a decision to approve or disapprove the program. The time for review may be extended by agreement.

The NPDES Program consists of various components, including:

A state may receive authorization for one or more of the NPDES Program components.  For example, if the state had not received authorization for federal facilities, EPA would continue to issue permits to federal facilities (e.g., military bases, national parks, federal lands, etc.)

The process of authorization includes a public review and comment period, and a public hearing.  If EPA disapproves the program, EPA remains the permitting authority for that state, tribe, or territory.

If EPA approves the program, the state assumes permitting authority in lieu of EPA. All new permit applications would then be submitted to the state agency for NPDES permit issuance. Certain permits issued prior to authorization may continue under EPA administration as set in the MOA. Even after a state receives NPDES authorization, EPA continues to issue NPDES permits on tribal lands (if the tribe is not administering its own approved NPDES Program).        

The links below contain additional information about state and tribal program authorizations:

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