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Plain English Guide to Regulations
Wastewater Discharges

Stormwater Permits

In 1990, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed permitting regulations (40 CFR 122.26) under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) to control stormwater discharges associated with eleven categories of industrial activity, including transportation (see EPA Stormwater Program). As a result, all facilities that meet the definition of "Storm Water Discharges Associated with Industrial Activity", must either:

  • obtain National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater permit coverage, OR

  • submit a no exposure certification form for stormwater.

The no-exposure certification alternative is available for a facility that is able to show that its industrial activities, even though covered under the regulations, are never exposed to precipitation. In that case, the facility may be eligible to claim no exposure and qualify for a waiver from permit coverage.

Throughout most of the nation, EPA has delegated the stormwater program to the states to administer as they deem appropriate, so long as minimum federal requirements are met (see State Authorization status). Therefore, in most states you will apply for a permit or submit your no exposure certification or permit application to your state environmental agency.

However, some states do not yet have the authority to administer this program. For the following states, you will probably need to submit your certification or permit application to your Regional EPA office: Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire Texas, Florida, Maine, and Arizona. If your facility is in one of these states, we suggest contacting both your Regional EPA office and state agency to find out where to submit your paperwork.

For more information on state rules regarding industrial stormwater discharges use the Industrial Stormwater Resource Locator.

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