What is an NPDES permit?
The Clean Water Act prohibits anybody from discharging “pollutants” through a “point source” into a “water of the United States” unless they have an NPDES permit. The permit will contain limits on what you can discharge, monitoring and reporting requirements, and other provisions to ensure that the discharge does not hurt water quality or people’s health. In essence, the permit translates general requirements of the Clean Water Act into specific provisions tailored to the operations of each person discharging pollutants.
Do You Need an NPDES permit?
It depends on where you send your pollutants. 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.
- involves the same or substantially similar types of operations,
- discharges the same types of wastes or engages in the same types of sludge use or disposal practices,
- requires the same effluent limitations, operating conditions, or standards,
- requires the same or similar monitoring, and
- regulates this type of facility more efficiently than developing an individual permit.