EPA Publishes Proposed NPDES Electronic Reporting Rule
On July 30, 2013, EPA published a proposed rule to implement National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) electronic reporting. In most states, NPDES permittees are currently required to submit hard copy data to the authorized permitting authority, which in turn inputs collected data into an electronic database. Under the proposed rule, NPDES permittees would be required to enter the data electronically for transmittal to the permitting authority and/or EPA directly. While the proposed rule changes the method by which information will be provided, EPA has stated that the rule does not increase the amount of information required from NPDES permitted facilities under existing regulations. Basic facility and permit information currently held by permitting authorities including outfalls, limits, permit conditions, and compliance information, would be shared electronically with EPA. EPA intends to make this shared data available to the public to promote transparency and accountability.
EPA proposes to implement the electronic reporting rule in two phases. Phase 1 would occur one year after the effective date of the final rule. In Phase 1, EPA would electronically receive basic facility and permit information from permitting authorities as well as information from facilities covered under federal general permits. Facility information would include notices of intent to discharge, notices of termination, no exposure certifications, and low erosivity waivers. EPA would also begin to electronically receive information from permitting authorities regarding inspections, violation determinations, and enforcement actions. Finally, EPA and permitting authorities would electronically receive Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMR) information from NPDES permittees.
Phase 2 would occur two years after the effective date of the final rule. In addition to the Phase 1 data, during Phase 2 EPA and permitting authorities would receive information from facilities covered under state general permits. Additionally, all NPDES program data, such as annual and episodic compliance reports from regulated entities to their permitting authority, would be electronically submitted. NPDES program reports include: Pretreatment Program Annual Reports, Industrial Users in Cities without Approved Pretreatment Programs Periodic Compliance Monitoring Reports, Biosolids Program Annual Reports, CAFO Annual Reports, Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Annual Reports, and Sewer Overflow or Bypass Event Reports. EPA anticipates scheduling webinars and user practice sessions in the coming months.
Comments on the proposed rule must be received on or before October 28, 2013.
To view a complete PDF of the July/August 2013 issue of the Environmental Letter, click HERE.