National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit

Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) - Section 402 (Clean Water Act) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit

Activities

NPDES Permit Types

There are several NPDES permit types in two major categories: individual NPDES permits and General Permits. Individual permits are activity specific NPDES permits that generally apply to point-source discharge facilities (e.g., dairies, manufacturing facilities, etc.). There are several General Permits as well that cover various activities.

It is expected that proposed projects would not require individual NPDES permits based on the activities covered in this permit guide (as described previously). Additionally, based on the activities covered in this permit guide, it is expected that only one General Permit would apply: a statewide General Permit for Storm Water Discharge Associated with Construction Activities.
This General Permit covers the discharge of storm water from construction activities that will disturb over 1 acre of ground. Projects with construction activities that disturb less than 1 acre of ground do not require an NPDES permit.

NOTE:  There is a General Permit for the use of aquatic pesticides within or near water. However, the U.S. EPA has published rules exempting certain activities from this General Permit. To read more about these exemptions, click here.

NPDES Permit General Process and Steps

To apply for an NPDES Permit, one typically follows the steps below:

  1. Prepare a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) – A SWPPP is a plan which specifies the Best Management Practices (BMPs) that will be implemented by the project proponent to ensure that pollutants (including sediment from erosion) generated by project activities will not enter receiving water bodies via storm water runoff or discharges. Click here to access more information on the contents of a SWPPP.
  2. Prepare a Notice of Intent– A Notice of Intent (NOI) is a form that is filled out be a project proponent stating that the proponent will comply with and implement all conditions and measures set forth in the statewide General Permit for Storm Water Discharge Associated with Construction Activities. The NOI is found as an attachment to the General Permit.
  3. Submit a fee check made payable to the State Water Resources Control Board – A fee is required as part of the NPDES permit process. For the General Permit, there is a specific fee calculator to determine the fee amount. The calculator can be found here.
  4. Submit the NOI, SWPPP, and fee check to the appropriate regional water quality control board.

Timeline

Once the NOI, SWPPP, and check have been submitted to the appropriate regional water quality control board, the project can be considered as authorized by the General Permit, so long as the project activities are in compliance with the terms and conditions of the permit.