Do I Need a Permit? - How do I get started?

Do I Need a Permit? - 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.

How do you get an NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permit or WDRs (Waste Discharge Requirements)?

NPDES Permit

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 activitiy.

  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.

WDRs

The steps to obtain Waste Discharge Requirements are as follows:

  1. File the Report of Waste Discharge form with the necessary supplemental information with the RWQCB at least 120 days before beginning to discharge waste.

  2. RWQCB staff reviews the application for completeness and may request additional information.

  3. Once the application is complete, staff determines whether to propose adoption of the WDRs, prohibit the discharge, or waive the WDRs.

  4. If WDRs are proposed, staff prepares draft WDRs and distributes them to persons and public agencies with known interest in the project for a minimum 30 day comment period. Staff may modify the proposed WDRs based upon comments received from the discharger and interested parties.

  5. The RWQCB holds a public hearing with at least a 30 day public notification. If WDRs are uncontested, the notice requirement is only 10 days. The RWQCB may adopt the proposed WDRs or modify and adopt them at the public hearing by majority vote.

The entire process for developing and adopting the requirements normally takes about three months.