The NPDES permitting program, including specific permit requirements, is the result of enactment of laws by Congress and development and implementation of federal regulations based on the authorities vested to EPA through those laws. Any new or modified regulations must go through a rulemaking process that includes a proposal, public comment, and then culminating with a final rule that must then be implemented and enforced. Click on the links below to view the laws, regulations, proposed and final rules, and other public notices applicable to this program.
Clean Water Act - The CWA is a law enacted by Congress and signed by the President that establishes environmental programs, including the NPDES program, to protect the Nation's waters and directs EPA to develop, implement, and enforce regulations consistent with this law.
Regulations - When making changes to the NPDES regulations, EPA first develops a proposed rule and provides it in the Federal Register for public review and comment. The Federal Register is a federal government-wide collection of important new documents that is published daily. After receiving public comments, EPA develops a final rule and again publishes it in the Federal Register. Once each year, all current regulations, including any new rules are compiled into the Code of Federal Regulations.
Proposed Rules - When EPA proposes new or revised rules to implement the CWA, they include a preamble and the text of the new or revised rule in the Federal Register and request public comments on the proposal. The preamble is an introduction to the rule that provides a discussion on what issues and information were considered when developing the proposal.
Final Rules - After receiving public comment on a proposed rule, EPA issues a final rule taking those public comments into account. Final rules contain a preamble and the text of the final rule. The preamble or introduction typically discusses changes that were made from the proposed rule, what must be done to comply with the final rule, and why EPA chose this approach. EPA publishes final rules in the Federal Register.
Code of Federal Regulations - The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) includes the text of all existing regulations, including any rules issued through July 1 of that year. For example, the 2008 CFR codifies any rules as of July 1, 2008.
Notices - EPA publishes notices in the Federal Register to provide the regulated community and interested citizens with important information related to the NPDES permit program. Typical examples of such notices are advance notices of rulemaking, availability of data or reports, public meetings, certain petitions, and information collection requests.
Other Federal Laws - Other Federal agencies implement laws in addition to the Clean Water Act that may impact the NPDES permit program.
For access to all federal regulations since 1993 visit the Government Printing Office (GPO) site.