NPDES - Permit Assistance


If your activities or discharges from your property or business affect California's surface, coastal, or ground waters, you will need to apply for a NPDES permit from the appropriate RWQCB. (For specified situations, some permits may be waived and some discharge activities can be handled through enrollment in an existing general permit.)

What Forms Do I Need?

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System

For discharges to surface waters, you will need one or more of the following federal NPDES permit application forms:

  • Form 1 General information completed in conjunction with Forms 2B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, Standard Form 2A.
  • Form 2A Publicly-Owned Treatment Works.
  • Form 2B Concentrated animal feeding operations and aquatic animal production facilities. New applications or renewals.
  • Form 2C Existing manufacturing, commercial, mining, and silvicultural operations (including federal facilities).
  • Form 2D New manufacturing, mining, commercial and silvicultural operations.
  • Form 2E New applications or renewals of nonmanufacturing facilities, trailer parks, service stations, laundromats, commercial facilities, etc.
  • Form 2F Storm water discharges associated with industrial activity.
  • Form 2S All facilities with current NPDES Permit or Facilities that have been directed to submit a full permit application at this time.

The application forms above are in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You can obtain a FREE copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader by clicking on the icon below.

get acrobat reader

Hard copies of these forms may also be obtained at a RWQCB office or can be ordered from the National Center for Environmental Publications and Information at (513) 891-6561.

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How Do I Get Started?

The process begins when you request an application from the appropriate RWQCB. You then must file this application. You will be asked to describe the wastes involved, the setting for the discharge, and the method of treatment or containment.

Once the application is completed and filed, the RWQCB staff will draft a permit. It then must go to the RWQCB to be adopted.

The steps to obtain an NPDES permit are as follows:

  1. File the appropriate NPDES application forms with the RWQCB at least 180 days before beginning the activity.
  2. RWQCB staff reviews the application for completeness and may request additional information.
  3. Once the application is determined to be complete, staff forwards it to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) within 15 days. USEPA has 30 days to review the application for completeness and to request additional information from the discharger. After the request for additional information is met, USEPA has 30 days to forward comments to the staff.
  4. Staff determines if the discharge is to be permitted or prohibited. If a permit is proposed, staff prepares and forwards a copy to USEPA for review.
  5. USEPA reviews the draft and has 30 days to object or submit comments to the RWQCB. USEPA may request an additional 60 days to review the proposed permit.
  6. Following USEPA's review, staff prepares a "Notice of Public Hearing" and mails it to the discharger with instructions for circulation. Staff also mails the public notice and proposed permit to persons and public agencies with known interest in the project. Staff may modify the proposed permit prior to a public hearing based upon comments received from the discharger and interested parties.
  7. The discharger must publish the notice for one day and submit proof of having complied with the instructions to the RWQCB within 15 days after posting or publication.
  8. The RWQCB holds a public hearing with at least a 30 day public notification. The RWQCB may adopt the proposed permit or modify it and adopt it at the public hearing by majority vote. USEPA has 10 days to object to the adopted permit, and the objection must be satisfied before the permit becomes effective.

The entire RWQCB review and permit issuance process takes approximately six months, but may take longer depending upon the nature of the discharge.