Do I need a permit?
If your activities, discharges, or proposed activities or discharges from your property or business could affect California's surface, coastal, or ground waters, in most cases you will need to apply for a permit from the appropriate Regional Water Quality Control Board. Discharges to community sewer systems are typically not regulated by Regional Water Quality Control Boards.
If you are discharging pollutants (or proposing to) into surface water you must file a complete National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit application form(s) and appropriate application fee with the appropriate Regional Water Quality Control Board.
Other types of discharges, such as those affecting groundwater or from diffused sources (e.g., erosion from soil disturbance or waste discharges to land) are handled by filing a Form 200, Report of Waste Discharge, and appropriate application fee with the appropriate Regional Water Quality Control Board. Upon receipt of a complete application package, Regional Water Board staff will determine whether to propose adoption of Waste Discharge Requirements (WDRs), prohibit the discharge, or waive the WDRs.
In some cases, some discharge activities may be waived and some discharge activities can be handled through enrollment in an existing general permit.
Typical activities that affect water include, but are not limited to, the following:
- discharge of process wastewater not discharging to a sewer (factories, cooling water, etc.)
- confined animal facilities (e.g., dairies)
- waste containments (landfills, waste ponds, etc.)
- construction sites
- discharges of pumped groundwater and cleanup (underground tank cleanup, dewatering, spills)
- material handling areas draining to storm drains
- sewage treatment facilities
- sanitary sewer overflows
- filling of wetlands
- dredging, filling and disposal of dredge wastes
- commercial activities not discharging to a sewer (e.g., factory wastewater, storm drain)
- waste to land
- use of recycled water
For further questions, please contact the appropriate Regional Water Quality Control Board.