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NDPES Permitting

The Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1948 was the first major U.S. law to address water pollution. Increased public awareness and concern led to sweeping amendments in 1972, and the amended law is commonly known as the Clean Water Act (CWA). These amendments gave the U.S. EPA the authority to regulate discharges of pollutants to waters of the United States.

Do you discharge pollutants from a point source to waters of the United States? If so, you need an NPDES permit.

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program (40 CFR 122) was created under the 1972 amendments. As authorized by the CWA, the NPDES Permit Program controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States. Point sources are distinct conveyances such as pipes or man-made ditches. Pollutant examples include rock, sand, dirt, and agricultural, industrial, and municipal waste.

There are two types of NPDES permits: individual and general. An individual permit is unique to each facility. The limitations and requirements in an individual permit are based on the facility's operations, type and amount of discharge and receiving water body, among other factors. A general permit is one permit that covers facilities that have similar operations and discharges.


The NPDES program includes an industrial storm water permitting component that covers 29 industrial sectors that require authorization under an industrial permit for stormwater discharges. In addition, the NPDES stormwater program requires permits for discharges from construction activities that disturb one or more acres. Both industrial and construction permits require that facilities have a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) in place in order to obtain coverage. BBJ Group has significant experience with stormwater permitting and compliance. Our environmental professionals can perform the following services:

  • Determine whether NPDES permit coverage is required
  • Prepare the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan
  • Assist with Notice of Intent filing
  • Perform required sampling or site inspections
  • Design and implement Best Management Practices
  • Prepare a Non-Exposure or Non-Applicability request


The national pretreatment program is a component of the NPDES program. It is a cooperative effort of federal, state and local environmental regulatory agencies established to protect water quality. EPA and authorized NPDES state pretreatment programs approve local municipalities to perform permitting, administrative and enforcement tasks for discharges into the municipalities’ publicly owned treatment workspublicly owned treatment worksA treatment works (as defined by CWA section 212) that is owned by a state or municipality [as defined by CWA section 502(4)]. This definition includes any devices or systems used in the storage, treatment, recycling, and reclamation of municipal sewage or industrial wastes of a liquid nature. It also includes sewers, pipes, or other conveyances only if they convey wastewater to a POTW treatment plant. The term also means the municipality [as defined in CWA section 502(4)] that has jurisdiction over the indirect discharges to and the discharges from such a treatment works. [40 CFR 403.3(q)] (POTWs). The program is designed to:

  • Protect POTW infrastructure
  • Reduce pollutant levels discharged by industries and other nondomestic wastewater sources into municipal sewer systems and into the environment

For this reason, many industrial facilities are required to obtain discharge permits from their local sanitary district and treat wastewater prior to discharge. BBJ Group professional engineers have experience performing the following services for a wide range of industrial facilities:

  • Characterize wastewater streams
  • Evaluate compliance with discharge limits
  • Assist with discharge permitting
  • Negotiate permit conditions with local POTWs
  • Develop options for pollutant reduction
  • Design wastewater treatment processes

In addition, BBJ Group can assist municipalities with NPDES permit compliance through evaluation of industrial dischargers.

Spill Prevention

Another component of the CWA is the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure regulation (40 CFR §112). Originally published in 1973 under the authority of §311 of the CWA, the Oil Pollution Prevention regulation sets forth requirements for the prevention of preparedness for, and response to oil discharges at specific facilities.

The goal of this regulation is to prevent oil from reaching navigable waters and adjoining shorelines and to contain discharges of oil. The regulation requires facilities with oil discharge potential to develop and implement Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plans and establishes procedures, methods and equipment requirements for meeting the regulation.

If your facility is non-transportation related and at least one of the following is true, the SPCC rule may apply:

  • The total aggregate capacity of aboveground oil storage in containers greater than 55 gallons is greater than 1,320 gallons.
  • The total aggregate capacity of buried oil storage tanks is greater than 42,000 gallons.

BBJ Group environmental professionals can help determine whether or not your facility is subject to the SPCC rule. This is typically accomplished via a review of types and quantities of materials stored as well as facility proximity to surface waters. Our engineers can perform the following services:

  • Perform a site review and determine rule applicability
  • Develop the SPCC plan
  • Provide the necessary Professional Engineer certification of conformance
  • Recommend any changes necessary to achieve compliance with the rule
  • Design containment structures that meet rule requirements
  • For larger facilities, develop a Facility Response Plan (FRP)




Leslie Nicholas

Principal, Practice Lead


Andrew Bajorat, CHMM