National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

NPDES Regulatory History

EPA originally published the general NPDES regulations in 1972. The primary regulations developed by EPA to implement and administer the NPDES permit program are:


National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES): Applications and Program Updates

EPA proposed several regulatory revisions and updates to the Clean Water Act’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. The comment period for this proposed rule ended August 2, 2016.


National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES): Use of Sufficiently Sensitive Test Methods for Permit Applications and Reporting

EPA finalized minor amendments to its Clean Water Act (CWA) regulations to codify that under the NPDES program, only "sufficiently sensitive" analytical test methods can be used when completing an NPDES permit application and when performing sampling and analysis pursuant to monitoring requirements in an NPDES permit. 


National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Water Transfers Rule

EPA published a final rule to exclude water transfers from the NPDES permitting program. EPA believes that Congress intended for water transfers to be subject to oversight by water resource management agencies and state non-NPDES authorities, rather than the NPDES permitting program. The final rule defines a water transfer as an activity that conveys or connects waters of the United States without subjecting the transferred water to intervening industrial, municipal, or commercial use. This does not apply to pollutants introduced by the water transfer activity itself to the water being transferred.


Amendments to Streamline the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Program Regulations: Round Two

EPA revised the NPDES regulations to reduce cost and burden to permit issuing authorities and the permitted community, while continuing to maintain its commitment to protecting human health and the environment.


Whole Effluent Toxicity: Guidelines Establishing Test Procedures for the Analysis of Pollutants; Final Rule, Technical Corrections

EPA amended the "Guideline Establishing Test Procedures for the Analysis of Pollutants'' at 40 CFR Part 136 for whole effluent toxicity (WET) testing under the CWA, and three technical documents incorporated by reference in those regulations. The amendments correct minor errors and omissions, provide technical clarifications, and establish consistency among the technical documents.


Application for a Permit

Individual permit application requirements.


Final Water Quality Guidance for the Great Lakes System

Great Lakes states and tribes will use the water quality criteria, methodologies, policies, and procedures in this guidance to establish consistent, enforceable, long-term protection for fish and shellfish in the Great Lakes and their tributaries, as well as for the people and wildlife who consume them. It affects all types of pollutants, but targets especially the types of long-lasting pollutants that accumulate in the food web of large lakes. The guidance consists of water quality criteria for 29 pollutants to protect aquatic life, wildlife, and human health, and detailed methodologies to develop criteria for additional pollutants; implementation procedures to develop more consistent, enforceable water quality-based effluent limits in discharge permits, as well as total maximum daily loads of pollutants that can be allowed to reach the Lakes and their tributaries from all sources; and antidegradation policies and procedures.

Whole Effluent Toxicity: Guidelines Establishing Test Procedures for the Analysis of Pollutants

This final rule amends the "Guidelines Establishing Test Procedures for the Analysis of Pollutants," 40 CFR Part 136, to add whole effluent toxicity (WET) testing methods to the list of Agency-approved methods in Tables IA and II. This action amends 40 CFR 136.3 (Tables 1A and II) by adding methods for measuring the acute and short-term chronic toxicity of effluents and receiving waters.