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Water: Basics

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).


NPDES General Permit Inventory

  • Water Quality and Technology-Based Permitting
    • New content 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.
    • 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

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