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NPDES Topics Alphabetical Index Glossary About NPDES

NPDES Permitting for Environmental Results

The Permitting for Environmental Results (PER) initiative is a multi-year effort by EPA and the states to improve the overall integrity and performance of the NPDES program. Since most states are authorized to implement the NPDES program, the PER initiative is based on a strong partnership between the states and EPA. EPA is working closely with the Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators (ASIWPCA) Exit EPA Site to develop and implement elements of the PER strategy and to coordinate between state NPDES programs and EPA.

The PER Strategy (PDF) (12 pp, 2,365K) (8/15/2003) describes three major areas of emphasis that will be addressed over the coming years:

  • Integrity - Ensuring that NPDES programs have tools and information they need to issue effective permits
  • Program Efficiencies - Providing tools and sharing information to streamline the permitting process
  • Environmental Results - Identifying environmentally significant permits, prioritizing and reissuing them to improve water quality

Integrity

Integrity is the cornerstone of the PER effort and the first major area of focus in implementing the PER strategy. EPA and the states have been working through a detailed process to carefully assess each state NPDES program (or EPA regional office program for unauthorized states). This baseline assessment is designed to gauge the effectiveness of each program and to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement. The results of this assessment process are captured in the NPDES profiles.

NPDES Profiles

The NPDES profiles provide a comprehensive description and assessment of the management of each NPDES program.

  • What is the purpose of the profiles? The profiles provide a balanced assessment of the management of each NPDES program, including strengths and areas needing improvement. They also establish a baseline for measuring the health of a particular program over the long- term. The profile is intended as a guide for state and EPA managers as they work to strengthen and ensure the long-term success of each NPDES program. Program innovations and other "good ideas" identified in the profiles will be shared among all NPDES programs.
  • On what information are the profiles based? The profiles are a result of an intensive effort by the states and EPA to characterize the overall health of each NPDES program. The basis for each profile was a self-assessment. This self-assessment was supplemented with information from various EPA and state data systems (such as the National Water Quality Inventory, Section 305(b); List of Impaired Waters, Section 303 (d); Permits Compliance System (PCS)) and subsequent analysis and discussion.
  • What happens next? EPA and the states will work together to develop action plans as needed to resolve issues identified in the profiles. The profiles are not a "one-time" exercise: EPA plans to formalize a management system for the NPDES program to ensure consistent quality and effectiveness across all NPDES programs.

The profiles use the terms “Indian country” and “Indians lands” interchangeably. Indian country is defined by statute at 18 U.S.C. 1151 and includes all lands within Indian reservations, dependent Indian communities, and allotted lands. EPA is responsible for administering the NPDES permitting program in Indian country, unless and until an Indian tribe or a State has been expressly authorized by EPA to do so. This point is reflected in the profiles, which will be revised for consistency, as appropriate.

The table below provides links to the NPDES profiles that are currently available. These profiles are a work in progress and EPA intends to update, correct and revise them in the future, as appropriate. As new profiles become available, they will be posted below. Please check back to view these profiles. The file sizes of the following PDF documents range from 310 KB to 700 KB and pages range from 17 pp to 52 pp. These files are in PDF format, so you will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these files. For more information, see EPA's PDF page.

EPA Region and States
Region 1 ConnecticutMaineMassachusettsNew HampshireRhode IslandVermont 
Region 2 New JerseyNew York Puerto RicoVirgin Islands
Region 3 District of ColumbiaDelawareMarylandPennsylvaniaVirginiaWest Virginia 
Region 4 AlabamaFloridaGeorgiaKentuckyMississippiNorth CarolinaSouth CarolinaTennessee 
Region 5 IllinoisIndianaMichiganMinnesotaOhio Wisconsin
Region 6 ArkansasLouisianaNew MexicoOklahomaTexas
Region 7 IowaKansasMissouriNebraska
Region 8 ColoradoMontana North DakotaSouth DakotaUtahWyoming
Region 9 ArizonaCaliforniaHawaiiNevada Pacific Islands
Region 10 AlaskaIdahoOregonWashington
  Data definitions (PDF) (18 pp, 147K) that support the NPDES profiles are available.
  • Who should I contact if I have questions about the profiles? For more information about an NPDES profile, please refer to the Contacts for the NPDES profiles (PDF) (6 pp, 58K). More general questions about an NPDES program can be directed to the contacts listed under “contacts” on the right side of this page.

Program Efficiencies

State governments continue to face unprecedented budget problems. These fiscal constraints affect a wide variety of state programs, including NPDES permitting programs. Finding efficiencies in reviewing, writing, and reissuing permits has become an essential element in maintaining the health and integrity of these programs. The states and EPA have been working on a number of fronts to identify and share ideas that can save valuable staff time and effort. The profiles capture some of these innovations and they will be shared among the all the NPDES programs.

Electronic Tools
EPA has developed a variety of electronic tools to create efficiencies in permit application and issuance.

  • eNOI – EPA has created the Electronic Notice of Intent (eNOI) (no paper!) for construction sites, industrial facilities and vessel operators to apply for coverage under EPA's Construction General Permit (CGP), Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) and Vessel General Permit (VGP). The eNOI system is a free online service. Electronic permit application systems can save vast amounts of state staff time and effort in processing paper applications. These systems also save valuable time and effort for the regulated community.
  • View NPDES Permits - Anyone can use this website to search for individual permits by permit number, facility name, city, state, county, date issued, date expired or permit category and general permits by permit category, state, permit title, or permit number.


Watershed-Based NPDES Permitting Guidance
Adapting the NPDES permitting process to better meet the needs of watersheds can, in the long-run, save time and effort and improve water quality. EPA is working closely with states and communities to test watershed approaches to NPDES permitting. A number of resources on this topic are available:

  • Watershed Permitting – Additional guidance, case studies, and reference materials on the subject of watershed permitting.

Environmental Results

Every NPDES permit must be reissued every five years. This process allows each NPDES program to reassess the permit and the impact of the discharge on the river, lake, or coastal water. As we move toward a watershed approach not only for NPDES permits, but for the Clean Water Act programs as a whole, we will focus increased attention on those permits that can be reissued with new and strengthened limits that will lead to significant improvements in impaired or threatened waters. EPA and the states are exploring ways to use environmental data and permit characteristics to identify the most environmentally significant permits.

Improving Permit Data
EPA is working with states to clean up and populate critical data in the Permit Compliance System (PCS). You can access information in PCS through EPA’s Envirofacts Warehouse.

Permit Characterization
EPA is developing tools to help characterize the environmental significance of specific permits by linking PCS data to environmental data.

Permit Prioritization
Each NPDES program is currently working to identify priority permits using a framework (PDF) (8 pp, 57K) developed by EPA. They are identifying priority permits for issuance and reissuance and developing schedules for completing these permits.

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Last updated on August 12, 2011 9:39 AM
URL:http://cfpub2.epa.gov/npdes/per.cfm