33 U.S.C. § 1342 : US Code - Section 1342: National pollutant discharge elimination system

Search 33 U.S.C. § 1342 : US Code - Section 1342: National pollutant discharge elimination system

    (a) Permits for discharge of pollutants
      (1) Except as provided in sections 1328 and 1344 of this title,
    the Administrator may, after opportunity for public hearing issue a
    permit for the discharge of any pollutant, or combination of
    pollutants, notwithstanding section 1311(a) of this title, upon
    condition that such discharge will meet either (A) all applicable
    requirements under sections 1311, 1312, 1316, 1317, 1318, and 1343
    of this title, or (B) prior to the taking of necessary implementing
    actions relating to all such requirements, such conditions as the
    Administrator determines are necessary to carry out the provisions
    of this chapter.
      (2) The Administrator shall prescribe conditions for such permits
    to assure compliance with the requirements of paragraph (1) of this
    subsection, including conditions on data and information
    collection, reporting, and such other requirements as he deems
    appropriate.
      (3) The permit program of the Administrator under paragraph (1)
    of this subsection, and permits issued thereunder, shall be subject
    to the same terms, conditions, and requirements as apply to a State
    permit program and permits issued thereunder under subsection (b)
    of this section.
      (4) All permits for discharges into the navigable waters issued
    pursuant to section 407 of this title shall be deemed to be permits
    issued under this subchapter, and permits issued under this
    subchapter shall be deemed to be permits issued under section 407
    of this title, and shall continue in force and effect for their
    term unless revoked, modified, or suspended in accordance with the
    provisions of this chapter.
      (5) No permit for a discharge into the navigable waters shall be
    issued under section 407 of this title after October 18, 1972. Each
    application for a permit under section 407 of this title, pending
    on October 18, 1972, shall be deemed to be an application for a
    permit under this section. The Administrator shall authorize a
    State, which he determines has the capability of administering a
    permit program which will carry out the objectives of this chapter
    to issue permits for discharges into the navigable waters within
    the jurisdiction of such State. The Administrator may exercise the
    authority granted him by the preceding sentence only during the
    period which begins on October 18, 1972, and ends either on the
    ninetieth day after the date of the first promulgation of
    guidelines required by section 1314(i)(2) of this title, or the
    date of approval by the Administrator of a permit program for such
    State under subsection (b) of this section, whichever date first
    occurs, and no such authorization to a State shall extend beyond
    the last day of such period. Each such permit shall be subject to
    such conditions as the Administrator determines are necessary to
    carry out the provisions of this chapter. No such permit shall
    issue if the Administrator objects to such issuance.
    (b) State permit programs
      At any time after the promulgation of the guidelines required by
    subsection (i)(2) of section 1314 of this title, the Governor of
    each State desiring to administer its own permit program for
    discharges into navigable waters within its jurisdiction may submit
    to the Administrator a full and complete description of the program
    it proposes to establish and administer under State law or under an
    interstate compact. In addition, such State shall submit a
    statement from the attorney general (or the attorney for those
    State water pollution control agencies which have independent legal
    counsel), or from the chief legal officer in the case of an
    interstate agency, that the laws of such State, or the interstate
    compact, as the case may be, provide adequate authority to carry
    out the described program. The Administrator shall approve each
    submitted program unless he determines that adequate authority does
    not exist:
      (1) To issue permits which - 
        (A) apply, and insure compliance with, any applicable
      requirements of sections 1311, 1312, 1316, 1317, and 1343 of this
      title;
        (B) are for fixed terms not exceeding five years; and
        (C) can be terminated or modified for cause including, but not
      limited to, the following:
          (i) violation of any condition of the permit;
          (ii) obtaining a permit by misrepresentation, or failure to
        disclose fully all relevant facts;
          (iii) change in any condition that requires either a
        temporary or permanent reduction or elimination of the
        permitted discharge;

        (D) control the disposal of pollutants into wells;

      (2)(A) To issue permits which apply, and insure compliance with,
    all applicable requirements of section 1318 of this title; or
      (B) To inspect, monitor, enter, and require reports to at least
    the same extent as required in section 1318 of this title;
      (3) To insure that the public, and any other State the waters of
    which may be affected, receive notice of each application for a
    permit and to provide an opportunity for public hearing before a
    ruling on each such application;
      (4) To insure that the Administrator receives notice of each
    application (including a copy thereof) for a permit;
      (5) To insure that any State (other than the permitting State),
    whose waters may be affected by the issuance of a permit may submit
    written recommendations to the permitting State (and the
    Administrator) with respect to any permit application and, if any
    part of such written recommendations are not accepted by the
    permitting State, that the permitting State will notify such
    affected State (and the Administrator) in writing of its failure to
    so accept such recommendations together with its reasons for so
    doing;
      (6) To insure that no permit will be issued if, in the judgment
    of the Secretary of the Army acting through the Chief of Engineers,
    after consultation with the Secretary of the department in which
    the Coast Guard is operating, anchorage and navigation of any of
    the navigable waters would be substantially impaired thereby;
      (7) To abate violations of the permit or the permit program,
    including civil and criminal penalties and other ways and means of
    enforcement;
      (8) To insure that any permit for a discharge from a publicly
    owned treatment works includes conditions to require the
    identification in terms of character and volume of pollutants of
    any significant source introducing pollutants subject to
    pretreatment standards under section 1317(b) of this title into
    such works and a program to assure compliance with such
    pretreatment standards by each such source, in addition to adequate
    notice to the permitting agency of (A) new introductions into such
    works of pollutants from any source which would be a new source as
    defined in section 1316 of this title if such source were
    discharging pollutants, (B) new introductions of pollutants into
    such works from a source which would be subject to section 1311 of
    this title if it were discharging such pollutants, or (C) a
    substantial change in volume or character of pollutants being
    introduced into such works by a source introducing pollutants into
    such works at the time of issuance of the permit. Such notice shall
    include information on the quality and quantity of effluent to be
    introduced into such treatment works and any anticipated impact of
    such change in the quantity or quality of effluent to be discharged
    from such publicly owned treatment works; and
      (9) To insure that any industrial user of any publicly owned
    treatment works will comply with sections 1284(b), 1317, and 1318
    of this title.
    (c) Suspension of Federal program upon submission of State program;
      withdrawal of approval of State program; return of State program
      to Administrator
      (1) Not later than ninety days after the date on which a State
    has submitted a program (or revision thereof) pursuant to
    subsection (b) of this section, the Administrator shall suspend the
    issuance of permits under subsection (a) of this section as to
    those discharges subject to such program unless he determines that
    the State permit program does not meet the requirements of
    subsection (b) of this section or does not conform to the
    guidelines issued under section 1314(i)(2) of this title. If the
    Administrator so determines, he shall notify the State of any
    revisions or modifications necessary to conform to such
    requirements or guidelines.
      (2) Any State permit program under this section shall at all
    times be in accordance with this section and guidelines promulgated
    pursuant to section 1314(i)(2) of this title.
      (3) Whenever the Administrator determines after public hearing
    that a State is not administering a program approved under this
    section in accordance with requirements of this section, he shall
    so notify the State and, if appropriate corrective action is not
    taken within a reasonable time, not to exceed ninety days, the
    Administrator shall withdraw approval of such program. The
    Administrator shall not withdraw approval of any such program
    unless he shall first have notified the State, and made public, in
    writing, the reasons for such withdrawal.
      (4) Limitations on partial permit program returns and
    withdrawals. - A State may return to the Administrator
    administration, and the Administrator may withdraw under paragraph
    (3) of this subsection approval, of - 
        (A) a State partial permit program approved under subsection
      (n)(3) of this section only if the entire permit program being
      administered by the State department or agency at the time is
      returned or withdrawn; and
        (B) a State partial permit program approved under subsection
      (n)(4) of this section only if an entire phased component of the
      permit program being administered by the State at the time is
      returned or withdrawn.
    (d) Notification of Administrator
      (1) Each State shall transmit to the Administrator a copy of each
    permit application received by such State and provide notice to the
    Administrator of every action related to the consideration of such
    permit application, including each permit proposed to be issued by
    such State.
      (2) No permit shall issue (A) if the Administrator within ninety
    days of the date of his notification under subsection (b)(5) of
    this section objects in writing to the issuance of such permit, or
    (B) if the Administrator within ninety days of the date of
    transmittal of the proposed permit by the State objects in writing
    to the issuance of such permit as being outside the guidelines and
    requirements of this chapter. Whenever the Administrator objects to
    the issuance of a permit under this paragraph such written
    objection shall contain a statement of the reasons for such
    objection and the effluent limitations and conditions which such
    permit would include if it were issued by the Administrator.
      (3) The Administrator may, as to any permit application, waive
    paragraph (2) of this subsection.
      (4) In any case where, after December 27, 1977, the
    Administrator, pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection,
    objects to the issuance of a permit, on request of the State, a
    public hearing shall be held by the Administrator on such
    objection. If the State does not resubmit such permit revised to
    meet such objection within 30 days after completion of the hearing,
    or, if no hearing is requested within 90 days after the date of
    such objection, the Administrator may issue the permit pursuant to
    subsection (a) of this section for such source in accordance with
    the guidelines and requirements of this chapter.
    (e) Waiver of notification requirement
      In accordance with guidelines promulgated pursuant to subsection
    (i)(2) of section 1314 of this title, the Administrator is
    authorized to waive the requirements of subsection (d) of this
    section at the time he approves a program pursuant to subsection
    (b) of this section for any category (including any class, type, or
    size within such category) of point sources within the State
    submitting such program.
    (f) Point source categories
      The Administrator shall promulgate regulations establishing
    categories of point sources which he determines shall not be
    subject to the requirements of subsection (d) of this section in
    any State with a program approved pursuant to subsection (b) of
    this section. The Administrator may distinguish among classes,
    types, and sizes within any category of point sources.
    (g) Other regulations for safe transportation, handling, carriage,
      storage, and stowage of pollutants
      Any permit issued under this section for the discharge of
    pollutants into the navigable waters from a vessel or other
    floating craft shall be subject to any applicable regulations
    promulgated by the Secretary of the department in which the Coast
    Guard is operating, establishing specifications for safe
    transportation, handling, carriage, storage, and stowage of
    pollutants.
    (h) Violation of permit conditions; restriction or prohibition upon
      introduction of pollutant by source not previously utilizing
      treatment works
      In the event any condition of a permit for discharges from a
    treatment works (as defined in section 1292 of this title) which is
    publicly owned is violated, a State with a program approved under
    subsection (b) of this section or the Administrator, where no State
    program is approved or where the Administrator determines pursuant
    to section 1319(a) of this title that a State with an approved
    program has not commenced appropriate enforcement action with
    respect to such permit, may proceed in a court of competent
    jurisdiction to restrict or prohibit the introduction of any
    pollutant into such treatment works by a source not utilizing such
    treatment works prior to the finding that such condition was
    violated.
    (i) Federal enforcement not limited
      Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority
    of the Administrator to take action pursuant to section 1319 of
    this title.
    (j) Public information
      A copy of each permit application and each permit issued under
    this section shall be available to the public. Such permit
    application or permit, or portion thereof, shall further be
    available on request for the purpose of reproduction.
    (k) Compliance with permits
      Compliance with a permit issued pursuant to this section shall be
    deemed compliance, for purposes of sections 1319 and 1365 of this
    title, with sections 1311, 1312, 1316, 1317, and 1343 of this
    title, except any standard imposed under section 1317 of this title
    for a toxic pollutant injurious to human health. Until December 31,
    1974, in any case where a permit for discharge has been applied for
    pursuant to this section, but final administrative disposition of
    such application has not been made, such discharge shall not be a
    violation of (1) section 1311, 1316, or 1342 of this title, or (2)
    section 407 of this title, unless the Administrator or other
    plaintiff proves that final administrative disposition of such
    application has not been made because of the failure of the
    applicant to furnish information reasonably required or requested
    in order to process the application. For the 180-day period
    beginning on October 18, 1972, in the case of any point source
    discharging any pollutant or combination of pollutants immediately
    prior to such date which source is not subject to section 407 of
    this title, the discharge by such source shall not be a violation
    of this chapter if such a source applies for a permit for discharge
    pursuant to this section within such 180-day period.
    (l) Limitation on permit requirement
      (1) Agricultural return flows
        The Administrator shall not require a permit under this section
      for discharges composed entirely of return flows from irrigated
      agriculture, nor shall the Administrator directly or indirectly,
      require any State to require such a permit.
      (2) Stormwater runoff from oil, gas, and mining operations
        The Administrator shall not require a permit under this
      section, nor shall the Administrator directly or indirectly
      require any State to require a permit, for discharges of
      stormwater runoff from mining operations or oil and gas
      exploration, production, processing, or treatment operations or
      transmission facilities, composed entirely of flows which are
      from conveyances or systems of conveyances (including but not
      limited to pipes, conduits, ditches, and channels) used for
      collecting and conveying precipitation runoff and which are not
      contaminated by contact with, or do not come into contact with,
      any overburden, raw material, intermediate products, finished
      product, byproduct, or waste products located on the site of such
      operations.
    (m) Additional pretreatment of conventional pollutants not required
      To the extent a treatment works (as defined in section 1292 of
    this title) which is publicly owned is not meeting the requirements
    of a permit issued under this section for such treatment works as a
    result of inadequate design or operation of such treatment works,
    the Administrator, in issuing a permit under this section, shall
    not require pretreatment by a person introducing conventional
    pollutants identified pursuant to section 1314(a)(4) of this title
    into such treatment works other than pretreatment required to
    assure compliance with pretreatment standards under subsection
    (b)(8) of this section and section 1317(b)(1) of this title.
    Nothing in this subsection shall affect the Administrator's
    authority under sections 1317 and 1319 of this title, affect State
    and local authority under sections 1317(b)(4) and 1370 of this
    title, relieve such treatment works of its obligations to meet
    requirements established under this chapter, or otherwise preclude
    such works from pursuing whatever feasible options are available to
    meet its responsibility to comply with its permit under this
    section.
    (n) Partial permit program
      (1) State submission
        The Governor of a State may submit under subsection (b) of this
      section a permit program for a portion of the discharges into the
      navigable waters in such State.
      (2) Minimum coverage
        A partial permit program under this subsection shall cover, at
      a minimum, administration of a major category of the discharges
      into the navigable waters of the State or a major component of
      the permit program required by subsection (b) of this section.
      (3) Approval of major category partial permit programs
        The Administrator may approve a partial permit program covering
      administration of a major category of discharges under this
      subsection if - 
          (A) such program represents a complete permit program and
        covers all of the discharges under the jurisdiction of a
        department or agency of the State; and
          (B) the Administrator determines that the partial program
        represents a significant and identifiable part of the State
        program required by subsection (b) of this section.
      (4) Approval of major component partial permit programs
        The Administrator may approve under this subsection a partial
      and phased permit program covering administration of a major
      component (including discharge categories) of a State permit
      program required by subsection (b) of this section if - 
          (A) the Administrator determines that the partial program
        represents a significant and identifiable part of the State
        program required by subsection (b) of this section; and
          (B) the State submits, and the Administrator approves, a plan
        for the State to assume administration by phases of the
        remainder of the State program required by subsection (b) of
        this section by a specified date not more than 5 years after
        submission of the partial program under this subsection and
        agrees to make all reasonable efforts to assume such
        administration by such date.
    (o) Anti-backsliding
      (1) General prohibition
        In the case of effluent limitations established on the basis of
      subsection (a)(1)(B) of this section, a permit may not be
      renewed, reissued, or modified on the basis of effluent
      guidelines promulgated under section 1314(b) of this title
      subsequent to the original issuance of such permit, to contain
      effluent limitations which are less stringent than the comparable
      effluent limitations in the previous permit. In the case of
      effluent limitations established on the basis of section
      1311(b)(1)(C) or section 1313(d) or (e) of this title, a permit
      may not be renewed, reissued, or modified to contain effluent
      limitations which are less stringent than the comparable effluent
      limitations in the previous permit except in compliance with
      section 1313(d)(4) of this title.
      (2) Exceptions
        A permit with respect to which paragraph (1) applies may be
      renewed, reissued, or modified to contain a less stringent
      effluent limitation applicable to a pollutant if - 
          (A) material and substantial alterations or additions to the
        permitted facility occurred after permit issuance which justify
        the application of a less stringent effluent limitation;
          (B)(i) information is available which was not available at
        the time of permit issuance (other than revised regulations,
        guidance, or test methods) and which would have justified the
        application of a less stringent effluent limitation at the time
        of permit issuance; or
          (ii) the Administrator determines that technical mistakes or
        mistaken interpretations of law were made in issuing the permit
        under subsection (a)(1)(B) of this section;
          (C) a less stringent effluent limitation is necessary because
        of events over which the permittee has no control and for which
        there is no reasonably available remedy;
          (D) the permittee has received a permit modification under
        section 1311(c), 1311(g), 1311(h), 1311(i), 1311(k), 1311(n),
        or 1326(a) of this title; or
          (E) the permittee has installed the treatment facilities
        required to meet the effluent limitations in the previous
        permit and has properly operated and maintained the facilities
        but has nevertheless been unable to achieve the previous
        effluent limitations, in which case the limitations in the
        reviewed, reissued, or modified permit may reflect the level of
        pollutant control actually achieved (but shall not be less
        stringent than required by effluent guidelines in effect at the
        time of permit renewal, reissuance, or modification).

      Subparagraph (B) shall not apply to any revised waste load
      allocations or any alternative grounds for translating water
      quality standards into effluent limitations, except where the
      cumulative effect of such revised allocations results in a
      decrease in the amount of pollutants discharged into the
      concerned waters, and such revised allocations are not the result
      of a discharger eliminating or substantially reducing its
      discharge of pollutants due to complying with the requirements of
      this chapter or for reasons otherwise unrelated to water quality.
      (3) Limitations
        In no event may a permit with respect to which paragraph (1)
      applies be renewed, reissued, or modified to contain an effluent
      limitation which is less stringent than required by effluent
      guidelines in effect at the time the permit is renewed, reissued,
      or modified. In no event may such a permit to discharge into
      waters be renewed, reissued, or modified to contain a less
      stringent effluent limitation if the implementation of such
      limitation would result in a violation of a water quality
      standard under section 1313 of this title applicable to such
      waters.
    (p) Municipal and industrial stormwater discharges
      (1) General rule
        Prior to October 1, 1994, the Administrator or the State (in
      the case of a permit program approved under this section) shall
      not require a permit under this section for discharges composed
      entirely of stormwater.
      (2) Exceptions
        Paragraph (1) shall not apply with respect to the following
      stormwater discharges:
          (A) A discharge with respect to which a permit has been
        issued under this section before February 4, 1987.
          (B) A discharge associated with industrial activity.
          (C) A discharge from a municipal separate storm sewer system
        serving a population of 250,000 or more.
          (D) A discharge from a municipal separate storm sewer system
        serving a population of 100,000 or more but less than 250,000.
          (E) A discharge for which the Administrator or the State, as
        the case may be, determines that the stormwater discharge
        contributes to a violation of a water quality standard or is a
        significant contributor of pollutants to waters of the United
        States.
      (3) Permit requirements
        (A) Industrial discharges
          Permits for discharges associated with industrial activity
        shall meet all applicable provisions of this section and
        section 1311 of this title.
        (B) Municipal discharge
          Permits for discharges from municipal storm sewers - 
            (i) may be issued on a system- or jurisdiction-wide basis;
            (ii) shall include a requirement to effectively prohibit
          non-stormwater discharges into the storm sewers; and
            (iii) shall require controls to reduce the discharge of
          pollutants to the maximum extent practicable, including
          management practices, control techniques and system, design
          and engineering methods, and such other provisions as the
          Administrator or the State determines appropriate for the
          control of such pollutants.
      (4) Permit application requirements
        (A) Industrial and large municipal discharges
          Not later than 2 years after February 4, 1987, the
        Administrator shall establish regulations setting forth the
        permit application requirements for stormwater discharges
        described in paragraphs (2)(B) and (2)(C). Applications for
        permits for such discharges shall be filed no later than 3
        years after February 4, 1987. Not later than 4 years after
        February 4, 1987, the Administrator or the State, as the case
        may be, shall issue or deny each such permit. Any such permit
        shall provide for compliance as expeditiously as practicable,
        but in no event later than 3 years after the date of issuance
        of such permit.
        (B) Other municipal discharges
          Not later than 4 years after February 4, 1987, the
        Administrator shall establish regulations setting forth the
        permit application requirements for stormwater discharges
        described in paragraph (2)(D). Applications for permits for
        such discharges shall be filed no later than 5 years after
        February 4, 1987. Not later than 6 years after February 4,
        1987, the Administrator or the State, as the case may be, shall
        issue or deny each such permit. Any such permit shall provide
        for compliance as expeditiously as practicable, but in no event
        later than 3 years after the date of issuance of such permit.
      (5) Studies
        The Administrator, in consultation with the States, shall
      conduct a study for the purposes of - 
          (A) identifying those stormwater discharges or classes of
        stormwater discharges for which permits are not required
        pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection;
          (B) determining, to the maximum extent practicable, the
        nature and extent of pollutants in such discharges; and
          (C) establishing procedures and methods to control stormwater
        discharges to the extent necessary to mitigate impacts on water
        quality.

      Not later than October 1, 1988, the Administrator shall submit to
      Congress a report on the results of the study described in
      subparagraphs (A) and (B). Not later than October 1, 1989, the
      Administrator shall submit to Congress a report on the results of
      the study described in subparagraph (C).
      (6) Regulations
        Not later than October 1, 1993, the Administrator, in
      consultation with State and local officials, shall issue
      regulations (based on the results of the studies conducted under
      paragraph (5)) which designate stormwater discharges, other than
      those discharges described in paragraph (2), to be regulated to
      protect water quality and shall establish a comprehensive program
      to regulate such designated sources. The program shall, at a
      minimum, (A) establish priorities, (B) establish requirements for
      State stormwater management programs, and (C) establish
      expeditious deadlines. The program may include performance
      standards, guidelines, guidance, and management practices and
      treatment requirements, as appropriate.
    (q) Combined sewer overflows
      (1) Requirement for permits, orders, and decrees
        Each permit, order, or decree issued pursuant to this chapter
      after December 21, 2000, for a discharge from a municipal
      combined storm and sanitary sewer shall conform to the Combined
      Sewer Overflow Control Policy signed by the Administrator on
      April 11, 1994 (in this subsection referred to as the "CSO
      control policy").
      (2) Water quality and designated use review guidance
        Not later than July 31, 2001, and after providing notice and
      opportunity for public comment, the Administrator shall issue
      guidance to facilitate the conduct of water quality and
      designated use reviews for municipal combined sewer overflow
      receiving waters.
      (3) Report
        Not later than September 1, 2001, the Administrator shall
      transmit to Congress a report on the progress made by the
      Environmental Protection Agency, States, and municipalities in
      implementing and enforcing the CSO control policy.
    (r) Discharges incidental to the normal operation of recreational
      vessels
      No permit shall be required under this chapter by the
    Administrator (or a State, in the case of a permit program approved
    under subsection (b)) for the discharge of any graywater, bilge
    water, cooling water, weather deck runoff, oil water separator
    effluent, or effluent from properly functioning marine engines, or
    any other discharge that is incidental to the normal operation of a
    vessel, if the discharge is from a recreational vessel.