According to the EPA’s website, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program was created by the Clean Water Act in 1972 to address water pollution by regulating the sources of pollutants into the waters of the United States. NPDES permits make sure that a state’s mandatory standards for clean water and the federal minimums are being met.
“If a process at your facility requires you to discharge wastewater to waters of the state, you need to secure a NPDES permit,” said Lauren Taylor, senior Environmental Health & Safety consultant at ERI Solutions. “This is also true if you’re planning on doing land application or hydrostatic testing.”
NPDES permits are issued by states authorized by the EPA to issue them or by EPA Regions in states that haven’t obtained that authorization. According to Taylor, in order to secure an NPDES permit, you must provide your state or EPA region with all the information regarding your discharge, including:
Because of the complexity involved, the NPDES application process can be lengthy. It’s important to allow sufficient time between application submission and discharge of wastewater.
“Make sure you submit your application with sufficient time to process. Most states require at least 180 days prior to discharge,” Taylor said.
The EPA offers two kinds of NPDES permits: general and individual. According to the EPA, “a NPDES individual permit is written to reflect site-specific conditions of a single discharger (or in rare instances to multiple co-permittees) based on information submitted by that discharger in a permit application and is unique to that discharger whereas an NPDES general permit is written to cover multiple dischargers with similar operations and types of discharges based on the permit writer’s professional knowledge of those types of activities and discharges.”
An NPDES individual permit requires a permit application to the submitting authority in your state or EPA region. They are issued directly to an individual discharger and require a more in-depth submission as well as requiring a minimum of 180 days to process.
NPDES general permits do not require that Operators apply for coverage. To obtain an NPDES general permit, submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to the NPDES permitting authority of your intent to be covered under a general permit. This NOI includes basic information about your company and the planned discharge. Typically, a general permit does not have a named discharger and covers multiple dischargers who are aware of the requirements of their discharge.
The Clean Water Act limits the length of NPDES permits to five years, regardless of type. States or EPA regions can reissue permits or administratively extended if you reapply more than 180 days before your current permit expires.
In addition to NPDES preparation assistance, ERI Solutions provides expert help with multiple environmental permit applications. We provide assistance with:
Contact ERI Solutions directly at (316) 927-4290 for a complimentary consultation.
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