NPDES Permit

What is an NPDES permit?

The National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit process was initiated by The Federal Water Pollution Control Act amendments of 1972. The purpose of the program is to control the discharge of pollutants into surface waters by imposing effluent limitations to protect the environment.

Federal and State NPDES programs regulate pollutants discharged directly into waterways from wastewater sources. Whether or not you need a NPDES permit depends on where you send your pollutants. According to EPA guidance on NPDES permitting “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 sanitary sewer system, you do not need an NPDES permit, but you should ask the municipality about their permit requirements. If you discharge pollutants into a municipal storm sewer system, you may need a permit depending on what you discharge. You should ask the NPDES permitting authority.”

NPDES permits typically specify waste discharge requirements (i.e., maximum flow rate, pollutant concentration limits, allowable pH range, maximum temperature, allowable concentration of suspended solids, or biological oxygen demand (BOD)). The permittee may choose which technologies to use to achieve these parameters; however, the EPA or state may also require the use of certain generic Best Management Practices (BMPs), such as installing a screen over the pipe to keep debris out of the waterway or Best Available Control Technologies (BACT).

NPDES permits also have the following characteristics: they are issued for up to five years; they provide for inspection, monitoring and reporting; they require notice to the public, the EPA and the state; they provide for the protection of navigation (if applicable); and they may mandate a pre-treatment program. Municipal storm water NPDES permits may also require inventories and inspections of industrial, commercial, and construction sites.

It is the responsibility of the discharger to monitor the water quality to ensure that the limits of the permit are not exceeded. The data is typically sent to local water quality agencies and/or the EPA.

Do you still have questions about NPDES permit and whether your need to get one for the discharges from your facility or site? Ask a question below. #environmental #water #permit #EPA #NPDES #pollution

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