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Water: Pesticide Applications

NPDES Pesticides Homepage


As a result of a U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in National Cotton Council, et al. v. EPA, as of October 31, 2011, point source discharges of biological pesticides, and chemical pesticides that leave a residue, into waters of the U.S. are required to comply with NPDES requirements. The Court’s decision vacated the EPA's 2006 Final Rule on Aquatic Pesticides that NPDES permits would not be required for these activities. The EPA issued its Pesticide General Permit (PGP) to offer coverage for pesticide operators on October 31, 2011, and finalized a rule on June 21, 2013 to remove the exemption for pesticide discharges from the NPDES regulations.

The agency that issues an NPDES permit for discharges from pesticide applications depends on the location of those applications. In most cases, the state environmental protection regulatory agency (e.g., the Department of Environmental Quality or Department of Natural Resources) is the NPDES permitting authority and issues the NPDES permits for activities in their state. The EPA only issues NPDES permits in areas where and activities for which the states are not authorized to issue NPDES permits. Specifically, the EPA is the NPDES permitting authority for pesticide discharges in:

  • Idaho
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • Washington, DC
  • All U.S. Territories except
    the Virgin Islands
  • Activities associated with oil, gas, or geothermal
    resources in Texas
  • Federal facilities in
    • Delaware
    • Vermont
    • Colorado
    • Washington
  • All Indian Country lands except in Maine

Alaska and Oklahoma: The EPA was the NPDES permitting authority for pesticide discharges in Alaska until October 31, 2012,  and in Oklahoma until December 20, 2012. Both states now administer permits for pesticide discharges in all areas except Indian Country lands, for which the EPA remains the permitting authority. Permittees in these two states who were previously covered under an EPA permit will continue to be covered automatically through this transfer. New permittees will need to contact their state agency for coverage. Those permittees who were required to file annual reports under an EPA permit for discharges that occurred in 2012, should do so with the EPA. Annual reports for discharges that occur(ed) beginning in 2013 should be filed with the state.

  • Alaska operators click here Exit EPA Site for more information.
  • Oklahoma operators click here for more information.

For details on the geographic locations where the EPA is the NPDES permitting authority for pesticide discharges, click here (PDF) (25 pp, 239K, About PDF). In the remaining areas, the state/territory is authorized to develop and issue the NPDES pesticide permits. Dischargers in areas not covered under the EPA’s permits should contact their state/territory environmental regulatory agency for more information on applicable permit requirements. A directory of state agencies for NPDES pesticide permits is available at: www.epa.gov/npdes/pesticides/statecontacts.


This section of the NPDES web site contains technical and regulatory information about the NPDES pesticide permitting program. Generally, it is organized into two sections, this webpage which contains information relevant nationally to pesticide discharges and a second webpage, identified below, with information specific to EPA’s Pesticide General Permit (PGP). 

  • EPA’s Pesticide General Permit – Information specific to EPA’s Pesticide General Permit (PGP) including a copy of the permit itself, the accompanying permit fact sheet, links to information relevant to that permit, and a variety of outreach materials.
  • Notice of Intent, Annual Report, and Notice of Termination – Information on the Electronic Notice of Intent (eNOI) system for pesticide Decision-makers that need to submit Notices of Intent (NOIs), Annual Reports or Notices of Termination (NOTs) under the EPA’s Pesticide General Permit requirement.
  • Interactive Decision-making Tool – EPA has developed an interactive tool to help potential permittees determine permitting requirements specific to their activities. This tool will help you answer the following questions: 
    1. Do I need an NPDES permit for pesticide applications?
    2. Are my activities eligible for coverage under EPA’s general permit? If so:
    3. What is required of me under the PGP?
  • Pesticides Frequently Asked Questions – List of frequently asked questions for pesticides organized from general questions about the NPDES Program to more technical questions about the EPA’s Pesticide General Permit.
  • Webcasts - Schedule and archives of webcasts hosted by EPA to discuss the implications of the Sixth Circuit Court decision on Clean Water Act NPDES permitting requirements for pesticide discharges.
  • Final Rule to Remove NPDES Pesticides Exemption
  • Background Information – Link to further background information on EPA’s rule on aquatic pesticides, litigation on the rule, and the history of EPA’s Pesticide General Permit.

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