NPDES Permits

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program of 1972 is a federal program that was created within Section 402 of the federal Clean Water Act. NPDES prohibits the discharge of pollutants from any point source into the nation’s surface waters except as allowed under an NPDES permit. The NPDES program gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to regulate discharges into the nations waters by setting limits on the effluent that can be introduced from point sources into surface waters. In Pennsylvania, the EPA delegated to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania the responsibility for the NPDES permit program. The Commonwealth, in turn, has delegated to most county conservation districts the very specific NPDES permit program responsibility for stormwater discharges from construction activity. There are many other situations where NPDES permits are required, and those permits are issued by the PA DEP.