a. National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
b. Pretreatment
c. Thermal Discharge




Contents of a NPDES Permit
NPDES Permit Issuance Process
What constitutes a violation
Rules (Regs)


Elements of Compliance Monitoring


Municipal Systems
Industrial Systems




Goals and Objectives of the Clean Water Act

Original statute adopted in 1948 Federal Water Pollution Control Act. Significantly amended in 1965, 1972, 1977, 1987.

Objective; Restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters (surface)

Interim Goal; Secure Water Quality which supports fish shellfish and wildlife and provides recreation (fishable/swimmable by 1984)

Public Participation; Public shall be given an opportunity to participate in the development revision and enforcement of any standard, effluent limit, etc.

II. The NPDES Program

Principle vehicle for achieving goals and objectives is the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPOES) permit program which regulates all point source discharges of pollutants to navigable waters.

Key Definitions

Point Source – any discreet wastewater conveyance (e.g., pipe, ditch, spillway, drilling platform, etc.)

Discharging Pollutants – Virtually anything other than distilled water is considered a pollutant, including material which will change the characteristics of the receiving stream (temp., pH, turbidity, etc.)

Navigable Waters – aka “waters of the U.S.” any surface waters, including intermittent streams, lakes, etc. and those underground streams with a direct hydrologic connection to a surface stream

The Regulated City

There are nearly 100,000 point sources discharging wastewater into waters of the U.S. There may be an additional 100,000 discharging contaminated stormwater


Permit writer establishes monitoring requirements for limits

Sampling locations
Type of sampling
Analytical method
Frequency of sampling/reporting

Self-monitoring and reporting is foundation of NPDES

Standard Conditions

Boilerplate for all permits (40 CFR 122.41)

Examples; duty to comply, monitoring and records entry and inspection, 0 & M, etc.

Special Conditions

Additional measures tailored to a particular permitted

Industrial-specific; Best Management Practices (BMPS)

Municipal-specific; CSO controls; pretreatment program

NPDES Permit Isuance Process

Step 1; Application submitted to Region or State 180 days before new discharge or existing permit expires

Step 2; Region or State develops draft permit

Step 3; If State issued, Region reviews; if Region issues, State reviews for consistency with Water Quality Standards

Step 4; Draft permit is public noticed for 30 days

Step 4a; Public hearing may be requested

Step 5; Final Permit issued and may be administratively or judicially challenged

All permits expire within 5 years

The Statute divides the universe up by creating different effluent standards for publicly-owned treatment works (POTWs) and all others (i.e., industries and federal facilities)

There are approximately 15,000 POTWs There are approximately 85,000 Industrials

EPA has further divided the universe by designating dischargers as either “majors” or “minors” POTW majors are those discharging ( 1 MGD. Industrial majors are determined by math formula which assigns points for flows, pollutants etc.

There are 7,082 majors

3989 are POTWs/2952 are industrials (147 Fed Fac.)

Pollutants of Concerns

There are three types of pollutants in CWA programs

Toxic Pollutants; negotiated as part of a 1976 c.d. 126 specified substances, including metals and some organics

Conventional Pollutants; BOD , pH, Oil and Grease, Fecal Coliforms, and TSS

Nonconventional Pollutants; All others, including chlorine, nitrogen, etc.

The CWA specifies treatment levels for these types of pollutants.

Permits, containing these pollutant limits are issued to individual dischargers (65,000 or as part of a general permit for a type of activity located in a specified geographical area (e.g., off-shore oil production, mining in Alaska, etc.) (20,000

Contents of a NPDES Permit

Cover Page

Effective/Expiration dates, general information, signature

Effluent Limits

2 Types;

Technology-based; effluent limitation guidelines, BPJ; Secondary treatment standards for POTWS Water quality-based; State standards What constitutes a violation

Effluent Exceedance (permit limit)

Reporting (failure to submit information)

Illegal Discharge

Rules (Regs.)

Sections 402, 301 CWA

40 CFR Parts 122-124


Elements of Compliance Monitoring

Self Monitoring
QA/QC Program
Citizen’s Complaints
308 Letters


I. Storm Water Program Background

A; General

Pollutants in storm water discharges from many sources are largely uncontrolled. The National Water Quality Inventory; 1990 Report to Congress provides a general assessment of water quality based on biennial reports submitted by States as required by Section 305(b) of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The report indicates that approximately 30% of identified cases of water quality impairment are attributable to storm water discharges. States identified a number of major sources of storm water runoff that cause water quality impacts, including separate storm sewer systems, and construction, waste disposal, and resource extraction sites.

The Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 prohibits the discharge of any pollutant to waters of the United States from a point source unless the discharge is authorized by a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Efforts to improve water quality under the NPDES program traditionally have focused on reducing pollutants in discharges of industrial process wastewater and from municipal sewage treatment plants. Efforts to address stormwater discharges under the NPDES program have generally been limited to certain industrial categories with effluent limits for storm water.

In response to the need for comprehensive NPDES requirements for discharges of water, Congress amended the CWA in 1987 to require EPA to establish a two-phased NPDES permitting approach to address storm water discharges. To implement these requirement on November 16, 1990 EPA published initial permit application requirements for certain categories of storm water discharges associated with industrial activity and discharges from municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4s) located in municipalities with a population of 100,000 or. Storm water discharge permits will provide a mechanism for monitoring the discharge of pollutants to waters of the United States and for establishing source controls where needed.

The following storm water discharges are covered under Phase I of the program.

1) A discharge which has been permitted prior to February 4, 19871;

2) Storm discharges associated with industrial activity from 11 industrial categories identified narratively and by Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes;

3) Discharge from large MS4s (systems serving a population of 250,000 or more) and medium MS4s (systems serving a population of 100,000 or more but less than 250,000);

4) Discharges which are designated by the permitting authority because the discharge contributes to a violation of a water quality standard or is a significant polluter of waters of the United States.

All other storm water discharges fall under Phase II of the program. A September 1992 Federal Register Notice was issued requesting comments on what Phase II sources should be selected as priorities, how to control sources, and when the Phase II program should be implemented.

B. Permits for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4)

A municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) is defined as any conveyance or system of conveyances that is owned or operated by a State or local government entity designed for collecting and conveying storm water which is not part of a Publically Owned Treatment Works (POTW). As of November 1993, approximately 790 MS4 entities have been identified as having to apply for a permit. Nationwide, there will be approximately 265 permits to address the MS4 universe since some permits will cover more than one permittee. The regulations do not apply to discharges from combined sewer systems or small MS4s2,(serving a population under 100,000).

Part 2 permit applications for large MS4s were to be submitted by November 16, 1992 and by May 17, 1993 for medium MS4s. Permits are to be issued one year from the Part 2 permit application date. In non-approved NPDES States, Regions process the applications. The statute stipulates that the permits must; 1) effectively prohibit non-storm water discharges into storm sewers; and 2) require controls to reduce the discharge of pollutants to the Maximum Extent Practicable (NMP), including compliance with water quality standards.

MS4 permittees will also have responsibility for establishing and administering storm water management programs to control discharges (including discharges associated with industrial activity from regulated facilities), prohibiting illicit discharge requiring compliance, and carrying out inspections, surveillance, and monitoring. EPA promulgated regulations on November 16. 1990 requiring MS4 permittees to submit an annual status report by the anniversary of the date of the issuance of the permit to reflect the development of their storm water management program. The reports will be used by the permitting authority to aid in evaluating compliance with permit conditions and where necessary, to modify the permit to address changed conditions. The annual report will contain at least the following information; the status of implementing the components of the program that are established as permit conditions; proposed changes to the program; revisions to the assessment of controls and fiscal analysis; summary of data, including monitoring data, accumulated throughout the year; annual expenditured and budget for the upcoming year; a summary describing the number and nature of enforcement actions, inspections, and public education programs; and identification of water quality improvements or degradation.

C. Facility Permits. for Storm Water Discharges Associated with Industrial Activity

The term ‘storm water discharge associated with industrial activity’ is defined as the discharge from any conveyance which is used for collecting and conveying storm water and which is directly related to manufacturing, processing, or raw materials storage areas at an industrial plant. Eleven categories of facilities that have a point source storm water discharge associated with industrial activity discharging to waters of the US must apply for coverage. (Attachment A). The application deadline for most permit applications was October 1, 1992. Facilities that discharge into a small, medium, or large MS4 are considered direct dischargers and are also required to submit signed copies of the permit application to the operator of the MS4. Discharges of storm water to a combined sewer system or POTW are excluded.

The NPDES regulatory scheme provided three potential routes for facilities to apply for permit coverage for storm water discharges associated with industrial activity;

1) Individual Permit- applications for these permits are processed in the Regions for non-approved NPDES States;

2) Group Application- provided an alternative mechanism for groups with a sufficiently similar discharge to apply for permit coverage; to date, 750 group applications have been submitted to Headquarters representing 40,000 facilities in 31 industrial sectors; a separate general permit to cover facilities in the non-approved NPDES States will be issued by EPA.

3) General Permit- intended to initially cover the majority of storm water discharges associated with industrial activity in non-approved NPDES States; approximately 60,000 facilities have submitted a Notice Of Intent (NOI) to be covered under general permits issued by NPDES States and approximately 25,000 facilities have submitted NOIs to be covered in the non-approved NPDES States; facilities submit an NOI to an EPA contractor for processing to obtain coverage under the federal general permit.

General permits, at a minimum, require development of a storm water pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) to reduce pollutant loadings at a facility’s site and an general compliance evaluation of the SWPPP. Facilities were required to prepare their SWPPP by April 1, 1993 and implement it by October 1, 1993. Certain facilities are required to monitor storm water discharges semiannually and report annually while others are required to monitor annually but not submit a discharge monitor report (DMR). It is estimated that 3,800 Facilities in the 12 non-approved NPDES States and 12,000 facilities in approved NPDES States are required to monitor.


All Inclusive; Federal, State at Local


Training Manual for NPDES Permit Writers
Compliance Inspection Manual
Technical Support Document


Jim Pendergast, Permits Division 260-9S37








The Pretreatment Program (40 CFR Part 403)

Objective; To prevent the introduction of pollutants from Industrial Users (lUs) into Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs) which may pass through or interfere with the operation of the POTW, including interference with the POTW’s sludge use or disposal practice (link to 503 – see below).

Universe of POTWS; There are 1542 POTWA which have been required to develop and implement a pretreatment program. In addition, 5 states have assumed total control over the implementation of the program (NE, AL, MS, CT, VT).

Universe of IUs; All nondomestic sources of pollutants to the POTW are regulated under the National Pretreatment Program. There are approximately 100,000 sources which are subject to the general and
specific prohibitions (see below discussion). Within this large universe of facilities, there are approximately 30,000 Significant Industrial Users (SIUs).

Types of Pretreatment Standards; Pretreatment standards consist of national prohibited discharge standards, national categorical standards, and local limits.

Prohibited Discharge Standards; forbid certain types of discharges by any IU to the POTW. General prohibitions are national prohibitions against causing pass through or interference. There are also specific prohibitions which prohibit the discharge of specific. types of pollutants which would cause problems at the POTW (e.g., ignitable liquids, pollutants which cause toxic vapors, corrosive liquids, explosive liquids, etc.).

National Category Standards; apply to IUs within specific industrial categories (e.g., electroplaters). Each categorical standard covers a different industrial category. These standards are technology-based developed according to the Best Available Technology Economically Achievable (BAT). Categorical standards emphasize-control over the 126 priority pollutants and cover 34 industrial categories (as required by 304(m) of the CWA several other categories are currently under development).

Local Limits; National prohibited discharge standards are not always sufficient to protect POTWs from pass through or interference (since they are technology-based). Local limits are designed to take into account local conditions and to translate the national general and specific prohibitions into numerical limits. Local limits, however, are required to be “technically-based.” To be technically-based, local limits must be developed to ensure compliance by the POTW with the discharge standards in its NPDES permit, its sludge disposal requirements, and any applicable state, or local environmental criteria. All POTWs with approved programs are required to develop local limits, or make a demonstration of why they are not necessary.

POTW responsibilities; POTWs with approved programs are the heart of the National Pretreatment Program. POTWs are required to;
1) implement the national general and specific prohibitions through local limits;
2) identify all lUs subject to pretreatment requirements;
3) control the discharge from all lUs with a permit or other control mechanism;
4) conduct independent sampling and inspections at SlUs;
5) determine the compliance status of all IUs; and
6) enforce against all instances of noncompliance (as specified in the POTW’s Enforcement Response Plan (ERP)).

Rules (Regs.)

Section 307 CWA 40 CFR part 403

Training Aids

Environmental Regulations and Technology “The National Pretreatment Program


Mark Charles, OECA 260-8319








Section 316 CWA

40 CFR Part 402


What is Section 316 (b)?
Section 316 (b) mandates that any BAT, BCT, or NSPS standard for a point source discharge require that the location, capacity, design, and construction of cooling water intake structures to reflect the Best Technology Available (BTA) to minimize adverse environmental impact. Simply put, cooling water intakes must minimize the amount of harm caused by catching aquatic life in the debris screens or other external structures (impingement) or pulling aquatic life through the cooling system (entrainment).

What Happened?
In 1973, EPA proposed regulations to implement Section 316 (b) (40 CFR Part 402 (38 FR 34410)). The regulations were issued final in 1976 (41 FR 17390) and basically stated that cooling water intake structures reflect BTA, as determined in accordance with a referenced Development Document (old 40 CFR Part 402.12). In 1977, 58 power companies successfully challenged these regulations (Appalachian Power Co. v. Train (566 F.2d 451, 4th Cir. 1977) due to EPA’s failure to properly incorporate by reference or take public comment on the Development Document. The Development Document identified specific implementing mechanisms and control technologies. EPA withdrew the 40 CFR Part 402 regulations pursuant to the Court remand and did not repropose requirements for cooling water intake structures to date.

Why Now?
The need for nationally coordinated implementation of Section 316 (b) is made evident though the current high levels of impingement and entrainment (some locations sucking 50% of a year class of important species e.g., American Shad through cooling water intake structures). when small fish and fry are entrained, high rates of mortality and reduced survivability occur from direct impact with the cooling water pumps and condenser tubesheets or direct exposure to flash heating in the condensers. Impingement causes mortality from suffocation or reduced viability from physical impact against the screens and fish “recovery” systems.

Section 316 Variances

Question; Have there been any variances granted under Section 316 of the CWA?

Answer; Yes, approximately one third of the 580 steam electric power facilities permitted under the NPDES program have been granted 316 (a) variances from thermal water quality standards.


Section 316 (a) variances have been routinely issued where the permittee has sufficiently demonstrated that alternate thermal effluent limitations would not adversely effect the indigenous aquatic flora and fauna.

The variances referred to above do not include instances where a variance was determined to be unnecessary due to closed cycle cooling or where the discharge already met state water quality standards.

Question; What is the procedure for requesting a Section 316 (a) variance?

Answer; The permittee submits an application for variance from the applicable state water quality thermal discharge limits along with sufficient information to support the request for alternate thermal effluent limitations.

The information must be adequate to demonstrate that such alternate discharge limits will assure the protection and propagation of a balanced, indigenous population of shellfish, fish, and wildlife in and on the receiving water body.


If the permittee desires the continuation of the alternate thermal discharge limits beyond the term of a given permit, reapplication of such a continuation must be submitted in accordance with 40 CFR 125, Subpart H and Section 122.21(m) (6) not later than 180 days prior to permit expiration. The reapplication must include data and information sufficient to support a continuation of the variance.

If a variance is denied, the standard appeal process laid out in 40 CFR 124 would be available to the permittee.

Question; Have there been any Section 316 (a) variances granted in Pennsylvania?

Answer; Yes, there are currently 13 steam electric power facilities where 316(a) variances were granted, or deemed unnecessary due to closed cycle cooling systems, or where the plant’s thermal discharges already met state water quality standards.


The Office of Water Enforcement and Permits (OW) is currently investigating a number of facilities in Pennsylvania and across the country where 316(a) variances were but the potential for some adverse aquatic impacts may exist.

The study is targeted toward addressing problems with current 316 variance procedures and inconsistencies between various state strategies for thermal discharge control.

Contact; Brad Mahanes, Permits Division; 260-1056

1 EPA has established effluent guideline limitations for storm water discharges for ten subcategories of industrial dischargers; cement manufacturing, mineral mining and processing, feedlots, fertilizer manufacturing, petroleum refining, phosphate manufacturing, steam electric, coal mining, ore mining and dressing, and asphalt. Most of the existing facilities in these subcategories already have a permit which addresses storm water discharges.

2 Some small MS4 entities have been designated as storm water permittees either individually or as co-permittees.