Clean Water Act Action Plan
Clean Water Act
Ohio Case Study on Implementing Electronic NPDES Reporting
Learn how Ohio reduced the cost of processing NPDES DMRs and got better data at the same time. The Ohio Case Study (PDF) (4 pp, 238K) details:
- The challenges faced by the state
- The steps Ohio took to develop a second generation electronic DMR system
- The project results: Dramatically lowered costs and improved data quality
Shaping EPA’s Future Direction on Water Enforcement
Since EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson issued the Clean Water Act (CWA) Action Plan in October 2009, EPA and state co-regulators have collaboratively researched and debated a wide range of new approaches for fundamentally changing how we implement the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting and enforcement program. This constructive dialogue between state Clean Water Act agencies and EPA has facilitated a long-term, goal-oriented commitment to improving compliance with the Clean Water Act. These new approaches, which address numerous challenges facing EPA and state agencies, are included in the Clean Water Action Plan Implementation Priorities: Changes to Improve Water Quality, Increase Compliance, and Expand Transparency (May 11, 2011) (PDF) (16 pp, 161.55K) (Transmittal Letter (PDF) (3 pp, 733.94K). Plain English factsheet (PDF) (2 pp, 89.72K). This document establishes four key changes:
- Switching existing paper reporting to electronic reporting with automated compliance evaluations to improve efficiency and transparency.
- Create a new paradigm in which environmental regulations and permits compel compliance via public accountability, self-monitoring, electronic reporting and other innovative methods.
- Address the most serious water pollution problems by fundamentally re-tooling key NPDES permitting and enforcement practices, while continuing to vigorously enforce against serious violators.
- Conduct comprehensive and coordinated permitting, compliance, and enforcement programs to improve state and EPA performance in protecting and improving water quality.
These new approaches represent fundamental overhauls to some of the tools, policies, and regulations by which the states and EPA implement the NPDES permitting and enforcement program. Major changes require time and effort to deliver: thus, EPA and states will be at work for several years to complete these changes. Final products from these efforts will be published on this website as they are completed.
On July 6, 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would develop an action plan to enhance public transparency regarding clean water enforcement performance at federal and state levels, to strengthen that performance, and to transform EPA’s water quality and compliance information systems.
In July 2009, EPA made available comprehensive reports and data on water enforcement for all 54 states and territories.
In June 2010, EPA issued a memo to initiate Interim Guidance to Strengthen Performance in the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Program (7 pp, 352K) as outlined in the Clean Water Act Action Plan.
The Clean Water Act Action Plan (PDF) (15 pp, 85K) (known prior to February 22, 2010 the Clean Water Act Enforcement Action Plan, was submitted to the Administrator on October 15, 2009. (Transmittal Memo (PDF) (2 pp, 55K)). The Action Plan laid out the Agency's plan to:
- Target enforcement to the most important water pollution problems.
- Strengthen oversight of the states, and
- Improve transparency and accountability.
A press release announcing the Plan and the Administrator's testimony to the Congressional House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (PDF) (7 pp, 23K) discussing the Action Plan were also released on October 15, 2009.
Through the Clean Water Enforcement Action Plan Discussion Forum, EPA solicited ideas from the public to create an action plan that encompassed a broad range of perspectives. Outreach to state, tribes, community groups, industry and environmental organizations ensured an opportunity for participation in the forum. The Table of Ideas (PDF) (30 pp, 121K) captures that public input and EPA responses.
Throughout 2010, EPA researched, analyzed, and collaborated with a working group of state CWA agency representatives to develop a suite of new approaches to revamp the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting, compliance and enforcement program. These approaches are aimed at improving water quality using 21st century information technology and “best practices” to more effectively and efficiently achieve greater pollution reductions at the universe of approximately one million NPDES water pollution sources.
Through the State Review Framework, EPA has made available comprehensive reports and data on water enforcement for all 54 states and territories, including those states/territories where EPA directly administers the permitting and enforcement program itself. The reports also review the clean air and RCRA hazardous waste compliance enforcement programs for each state and territory. EPA has also developed new web-based tools to help the public search, assess, and analyze the water enforcement data that EPA used to help prepare those reports.
This new information will help the public find out the compliance status of local facilities how federal and state governments are doing in enforcing laws to protect the nation’s water.
- Administrator Jackson's Memo (07/02/09)
- Facilities and Enforcement Activities Related to the Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Program
To download the State Review Framework reports from this page, move your mouse over any state in the map below, and follow the links in the popup box. Both the map key and table show states that are not yet authorized to conduct some enforcement programs.