Water Quality Initiative

Wastewater Discharges to Surface Waters (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System [NPDES])

The NPDES Program is the federal permitting program under the Clean Water Act regulating discharges of pollutants to surface waters from "point sources." The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State/Regional Boards administer the program. Permits adopted by the Board implement both federal and state law. The Program involves: adopting NPDES Permits which specify acceptable levels of pollutants which may be discharged, special studies to be conducted, and a monitoring program to assess compliance; compliance evaluation by staff through field inspections and review of submitted monitoring reports; and enforcement ranging from phone calls and letters to Regional Board or Attorney General enforcement actions. For the whole region, there are over 350 permitted facilities, of which there are: individual permits on over 110 municipal discharges; over 170 individual permits on industrial and other discharges; and approximately 60 industrial facilities operating under general permits.