Federal NPDES Summary

Excerpts from 40 CFR Part 122 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System

Sec. 122.1 Purpose and scope

(a) Coverage. (1) These regulations contain provisions for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Program under section 318, 402, and 405 of the Clean Water Act (CWA)...

(b) Scope of the NPDES permit requirement (part 122). (1) The NPDES program requires permits for the discharge of ´pollutants´ from any ´point source´ into ´waters of the United States.´. The following are point sources requiring NPDES permits for discharges:

(iv) Discharges of storm water as set forth in Sec. 122.26;

Sec. 122.2 Definitions

Dredged spoil, solid waste, incinerateor residue, filter backwash, sewage, garbage, sewage sludge, munitions, chemical wastes, biological materials, radioactive materials, heat, wrecked or discarded equipment, rock, sand, cellar dirt and industrial, municipal, and agricultural waste discharged into water.
Discharge of a Pollutant
Any addition of any 'pollutant' or combination of pollutants to 'waters of the United States' from any 'point source,' or (b) Any addition of any pollutant or combination of pollutants to the waters of the 'contiguous zone' or the ocean from any point source other than a vessel or other floating craft which is being used as a means of transportation.

This definition includes additions of pollutants into waters of the United States from: surface runoff which is collected or channeled by man; discharges through pipes, sewers, or other conveyance owned by a State, municipality, or other person which do not lead to a treatment works; and discharges through pipes, sewers, or other conveyances, leading into privately owned treatment works. This term does not include an addition of pollutants by any 'indirect discharger.' (Indirect discharger means a non-domestic discharger introducing pollutants to a POTW.)
Point Source
Any discernible, confined, and discrete conveyance, including but not limited to, any pipe, ditch channel, tunnel, conduit, well, discrete fissure, container, rolling stock, concentrated animal feeding operation, landfill leachate collection system, vessel or other floating craft from which pollutants are or may be discharged.
Waters of the United States or waters of the U.S.
  • All waters which are currently used, were used in the past, or may be susceptible to use in interstate or foreign commerce, including all waters which are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide;
  • All interstate waters, including interstate 'wetlands;'
  • All other waters such as intrastate lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mud flats, sand flats, 'wetlands,' sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, or natural ponds the use, degradation, or destruction of which would affect or could affect interstate or foreign commerce including any such waters:
    • Which are or could be used by interstate or foreign travelers for recreational or other purposes;
    • From which fish or shellfish are or could be taken and sold in interstate or foreign commerce; or
    • Which are used or could be used for industrial purposes by industries in interstate commerce;
    • All impoundments of waters otherwise defined as waters of the United States under this definition;
    • Tributaries of waters identified in paragraphs (a) through (d) of this definition;
    • The territorial sea; and
    • 'Wetlands' adjacent to waters (other than waters that are themselves wetlands) identified in paragraphs (a) through (f) of this definition.

Sec. 122.26 Storm water discharges

(a) Permit requirement. (1) Prior to October 1, 1992, discharges composed entirely of storm water shall not be required to obtain a NPDES permit except:

(i) A discharge with respect to which a permit has been issued prior to February 4, 1987;

(ii) A discharge associated with industrial activity (see Sec. 122.26(a)(4));

(iii) A discharge from a large municipal separate storm sewer system;

(iv) A discharge from a medium municipal separate storm sewer system;

(v) A discharge which the Director, or in States with approved NPDES programs, either the Director or the EPA Regional Administrator, determines to contribute to a violation of a water quality standard or is a significant contributor of pollutants to waters of the United States. This designation may include a discharge from any conveyance or system of conveyances used for collecting and conveying storm water runoff or a system of discharges from municipal separate storm sewers, except for those discharges from conveyances which do not require a permit under paragraph (a)(2) of this section or agricultural storm water runoff which is exempted from the definition of point source at Sec. 122.2.