NPDES Permit Program Basics
This section of this website contains basic information on the major features and elements of the NPDES permit program. The information in this section will be most useful to state and tribal officials, interested citizens, and others with an interest in the details of the NPDES program. This information is broadly applicable to all NPDES permits and programs, including concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), pesticide discharges, combined sewer overflows (CSOs), pretreatment, sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs), stormwater and whole effluent toxicity (WET).
- Water Permitting 101 (PDF) (11 pp, 37K, About PDF) - Overview of the NPDES permitting process
- Public Participation in the NPDES Permit Issuance Process (PDF) (4 pp, 775K, About PDF) - Overview of the NPDES permitting process, highlighting opportunities for public involvement
- NPDES Strategic Plan (PDF) (19 pp, 781K, About PDF) - The Water Permits Division's Strategic Plan of goals and key actions on protecting the nation's waters through effective NPDES permits - FY 2001 and beyond.
- Statutes and Regulations
- Program and Permit Review
- Permit Quality Review (PQR) - Assess state or regional implementation of the NPDES program.
- Permitting for Environmental Results (PER) Strategy - Presents a coordinated and integrated management system that when fully implemented will produce a nation-wide NPDES program that is more efficient and focuses on environmental results.
- Water Quality and Technology-Based Permitting
- Sufficiently Sensitive Methods (SSM) Final Rule -This rule clarifies that NPDES applicants and permittees must use EPA-approved analytical methods capable of detecting and measuring pollutants at or below applicable water quality criteria or permit limits.
- Overview - Describes both approaches to developing limits in NPDES permits, as well as an overview of the standards-to-permits process
- Watershed Permitting - Describes NPDES permitting within the context of larger watershed efforts.
- Water Quality Trading Policy - EPA's Water Quality Trading Policy describes flexible approaches to meeting water quality requirements
- Web-based Water Quality Trading Training - Provides Web-based presentations covering the material presented in the one-day water quality trading training workshops.
- Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) - Draft National Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) Implementation Guidance (PDF) (109 pp, 1.1MB, About PDF), Overview of WET
- Recreational Water Quality Criteria - Presents frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the implications of changes to state water quality standards based on the 2012 Recreational Water Quality Criteria (RWQC) published November 29, 2012.
- Secondary treatment - Describes the technology-based requirements for municipal sewage treatment facilities
- Effluent guidelines - Describes the technology-based requirements for industrial and other non- municipal facilities
- Applications - NPDES application forms and other related forms
- Electronic Notice of Intent (eNOI) - Electronic system for construction sites, industrial facilities, or vessels that need to apply for coverage under EPA's Construction General Permit (CGP), Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP), or Vessels General Permit (VGP)
- Tools for Permit Writers
- Key Tools for Permit Writers - Overview of Tools, NPDES Permit Writers' Manual (PDF) (6 pp, 148K, About PDF), TMDLs to Stormwater Permits Draft Handbook (211 pp, 5.7MB, About PDF), NPDES Permit Quality Review (PQR) Assessment Packet (PDF) (57 pp, 1.63MB, About PDF)
- Downloadable Treatability Database (ZIP) (1MB, About ZIP) - helps permit writers develop best professional judgement (BPJ) limitations, as referenced in the Permit Writers' Training Course. Click here for technical questions about this database.
- State Program Information
- Where You Live - Clickable map to obtain local NPDES contacts, links, and authorization status information
- State Authorization Process - states to implement the NPDES permit program
- Map of Authorized States and Territories (PDF) (1 pg, 663K, About PDF)
- Chart of Authorized States and Territories, detailed status information
- Contact Information for State and Territory NPDES programs
- NPDES Withdrawal Petitions
- Permitted Universe and Backlog Reduction
- Backlog Reduction - Permits that have been administratively continued beyond their five year terms are considered to be "backlogged." EPA and the authorized states have been working for several years to reduce the size of the backlog. This section provides basic information on the backlog, including goals, trends, and key documents.
- Priority Permits Initiative - EPA and the authorized states have been working for several years to focus on reissuing permits with the most environmental significance. This section provides basic information on priority permits, as well as the most current performance report.
- General NPDES Permits - The NPDES General Permit Inventory search tool allows users to search for NPDES general permits by permit number, permit name, state, EPA Region, date issued, date expired, or permit category. Search results display basic permit information, as well as a link to electronic permit documents when available.
- Information on Specific Facilities with NPDES Permits can be obtained through several EPA search tools, including ECHO, Envirofacts, CWA DMR Pollutant Loading Tool, and MyWaters Mapper.
- Emerging Topics
- Shale Gas Extraction FAQs - Provides answers to shale gas extraction frequently asked questions.
NPDES Permit Program Basics
Who Are You?
- Industrial and Commercial Facilities
- Interested Citizens
- Municipalities and Wastewater Treatment Plants
- States and Tribes
- Animal Feeding Operations
- Combined Sewer Overflows
- Sanitary Sewer Overflows and Peak Flows
- Vessel Discharges