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What is NPDES?

Updated: Jan 2, 2023


The Clean Water Act of the United States established the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) as a program to control the discharge of pollutants into the country's surface waterways, including lakes, rivers, streams, and oceans. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in charge of managing the NPDES program, which mandates permits for people and organizations that discharge pollutants into surface waterways in order to maintain water quality.

Setting restrictions on the kinds and quantities of pollutants that can be emitted, as well as requiring dischargers to establish monitoring, reporting, and other methods to make sure that their discharge complies with the permit limitations, are all part of the NPDES permit process. The NPDES program is applicable to a wide variety of dischargers, including stormwater management systems, construction sites, and municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants.


In order to safeguard the country's water resources and guarantee that surface waters are suitable for swimming, drinking, and other activities, the NPDES program is a crucial instrument. The NPDES program works to prevent water pollution and preserve the quality of the country's surface waters by controlling the discharge of contaminants.

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