What is NPDES?
NPDES stands for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.
Created in 1972 by the Clean Water Act (CWA), helps address water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants to waters of the United States.
Under the CWA, EPA authorizes the NPDES permit program to state, tribal, and territorial governments, enabling them to perform many of the permitting, administrative, and enforcement aspects of the NPDES program. To ensure protection of water quality, NPDES permits contain: Effluent limitations on Pollutants of concern; Pollutant monitoring frequencies; Reporting requirements; Schedules of compliance, when appropriate; Operating conditions; Best management practices; and Administrative requirements.
An NPDES permit is typically issued a facility to discharge a specified amount of a pollutant into a receiving water under certain conditions. Permits may also authorize facilities to process, incinerate, landfill, or beneficially use sewage sludge. Typical regulated point source discharges are: Discharges from wastewater treatment systems owned by municipalities, industries, private utilities, State and Federal government, etc.; Discharges such as cooling water, boiler blow down, etc.; Stormwater discharges from municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s); Stormwater discharges associated with industrial activity; and Stormwater dischargers from Construction Sites.
Different permits include: Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs), Aquaculture, Biosolids, Forest Roads, Industrial Wastewater, Municipal Wastewater, National Pretreatment Program, Pesticide Permitting, Stormwater from Construction, Industrial, Municipal, Transportation, or Oil and Gas Sources, Vessels Incidental Discharge Permitting, Water Quality Trading, and Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET).
If you discharge from a point source into the waters of the United States, you need an NPDES permit. If you discharge pollutants into a municipal storm sewer system, you may need a permit depending on what you discharge.