NPDES Wastewater Discharge Permits

SKU: C-995Duration: 25 Minutes

Pay-per-view (PPV) format perfect for individual users.

Get immediate access to this interactive eLearning course online. Must be used within 30 days, expires 48 hours after launch.

Language:  English

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Course Details


Training Time: 25 minutes

Compatibility: Desktop, Tablet, Phone

Based on:

  • Clean Water Act
  • 40 CFR 122

Languages: English

Water is a critical resource that must be protected to supply safe drinking water and support various activities, such as farming, manufacturing, and tourism. The federal Clean Water Act (CWA) protects "waters of the United States" (WOTUS). This training course provides general guidance on what waters are considered WOTUS. With certain exceptions, the CWA prohibits the discharge of pollutants from a point source into waters of the United States without a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The requirements of this permit are also covered in this training module.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the current definition of "Waters of the United States"
  • Describe the purpose of National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permits
  • Identify where an NPDES permit is required
  • Describe the difference between General and Individual permits
  • List the steps required to obtain an NPDES permit
  • Describe NPDES permit requirements and how to comply with those requirements

Key Questions

The following key questions are answered in this module:

What are "waters of the United States"?
Waters of the United States are defined as traditional navigable waters, interstate waters, territorial seas, impoundments, tributaries, and adjacent waters.

What are impoundments?
Impoundments are bodies of water, such as reservoirs, created by confining jurisdictional waters with dams, levees, or similar structures.

What are adjacent waters?
Adjacent water bodies border or neighbor traditional navigable waters, interstate waters, impoundments, and tributaries.

What is a case-specific analysis?
Waters that do not meet the definition of waters listed in the WOTUS definition may require a case-specific analysis to determine if they have a "significant nexus" and affect the chemical, physical, or biological integrity of downstream jurisdictional waters.

When do I need an NPDES Permit?
An NPDES permit is required to discharge pollutants from a point source to a WOTUS. There are general permits that cover multiple dischargers and individual permits that are granted to single dischargers based on site-specific conditions.

Sample Video Transcript

Below is a transcript of the video sample provided for this module:

The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of pollutants into a water of the United States without a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. This includes direct discharges from publicly owned treatment works, industrial wastewater and stormwater, construction stormwater, municipal storm sewer discharges, discharges from concentrated animal feeding operations, and discharges from certain commercial vessels. Where applicable, dischargers can operate under a general permit. Otherwise an individual permit based on site-specific operations is required. All permits provide the effluent limits needed to protect downstream waters. The limits can be technology or water-quality based. Permittees are required to comply with all requirement specified in the permit.

Additional Resources

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