Watershed-Based NPDES Permitting

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Watershed Watershed-Based NPDES Permitting - DuPage River ...


NPDES Permitting

Robert Swanson

DuPage County, Division of

Stormwater Management


Approach to develop one NPDES permit

for multiple point-sources within a defined

geographical area (watershed)

Facilities maintain individualized

permitting requirements, but provides a

holistic approach in developing these

Allows for greater flexibility to achieving

broader watershed goals


22 individual



– Private companies

– Federal



15 municipalities

discharging MS4

in watershed


USEPA suggests a

six step process for

developing and

implementing a


NPDES permit


1. Select Watershed Size

The scope and


activities of the

DRSCW address

three major


– West Branch

DuPage River

– East Branch DuPage


– Salt Creek

2. Identify Stakeholders and

Facilitate Participation

Most governmental entities represented in


Other interest groups and individually

permitted facilities would need to be


– Unique for each watershed

3. Collect and Analyze Data for

Permit Development

Allows for focusing monitoring activities

on a single watershed for a period of time

before development of the permit

– DRSCW has regular assessment of the three

major watersheds discussed

– If desired, IEPA could supplement these

activities with their own monitoring program,

which provides data for the §305(b)/ 305(b)/§303(d) 303(d)

integrated assessment

Identify impairments and set targets

individual to each watershed

4. Develop Watershed-Based Permit

Conditions and Documentation

Facilities still maintain the Technology-

Based Effluent Limit (TBEL) and Water

Quality-Based Effluent Limits (WQBEL) for

POTWs and BMPs for MS4s

Those limits can be developed

concurrently and shaped to meet the goals

of improving watershed water quality

– Allows for trading possibilities

Monitoring and reporting requirements

would be included

5. Issue Watershed-Based

NPDES Permit

Numerous options for watershed-based


– Integrated Municipal NPDES Permit

Bundles all point source requirements for a

municipality into a single permit

POTWs, CSOs, storm water, etc.

Reduces administrative burden of multiple permits

Allows the permitting authority to develop conditions

that specifically address existing watershed goals and

watershed management plans

Integrated Municipal NPDES Permit

Clean Water Services (CWS)

is a public utility (special

services district) in Oregon

– Operates 4 municipal

wastewater treatment facilities

– Holds 2 industrial stormwater


– Co-permittee on a MS4 permit

All discharges released into

Tualatin River

– TMDLs for ammonia,

phosphorus, temperature,

bacteria, and dissolved oxygen

Oregon Department of

Environmental Quality

(ORDEQ) issued a

single, watershed-based

integrated municipal

permit to CWS

– Includes provisions for

water quality credit

trading involving

temperature (thermal

load), biochemical oxygen

demand (BOD), and


– Features riparian trade


5. Issue Watershed-Based

NPDES Permit

Numerous options for watershed-based


Watershed-Based Individual Permit with

Multiple Permittees

Single permit that covers multiple sources within the

same watershed, watershed plan, or TMDL

Has been used in situations where a watershed plan

or TMDL identifies the need to address a specific


Could be used to address all pollutants of concern in

a watershed

Focuses public participation on a single permit

Allows for trading and includes any cooperative

efforts necessary for meeting watershed goals

Watershed-Based Individual Permit

with Multiple Permittees

Excessive nutrient loading

causes low dissolved oxygen Connecticut Department

in Long Island Sound in

of Environmental

summer months

Protection (CTDEP)

POTWs in CT and NY are

covers all POTWs under

dominant source of nitrogen

one permit

TMDL requires 64%

– Contains target for each

reduction (9,166 equalized

pounds of nitrogen per day)

year based on cumulative

by 2014

TN removal

79 POTWs that discharge at

– Sets annual end-of


least 20 lbs of nitrogen per

permit limits in pounds of


Individual permits continue – Encourages trading

to regulate non-nitrogen nitrogen


TN per day for each POTW

Watershed-Based Individual Permit

with Multiple Permittees

Colorado Department of

Public Health and

Environment (CDPHE)

developed a watershed-

based Phase II

stormwater permit for

MS4s with discharges to

Cherry Creek Reservoir

Includes traditional

requirements for the six

minimum control


Contains additional


requirements for

discharges to the Cherry

Creek Basin

– Help meet the phosphorus

TMAL for stormwater sources

– Support attainment of the

chlorophyll-a standard

– Support the attainment of

designated uses in Cherry

Creek Reservoir

5. Issue Watershed-Based

NPDES Permit

Numerous options for watershed-based


Watershed General Permits

Similar to many existing general permits

Watershed boundary (rather than type of discharge)

would define eligibility for coverage

Similar to other types of permits, but require point

sources to request coverage through Notice of Intent

(NOI) rather than through application process used

for individual permits

6. Measure and Report Progress

Completed through Discharge Monitoring

Reports (DMRs), annual reports,

watershed planning efforts, and current

monitoring and modeling conducted by

DRSCW and other entities

Evaluate success of expiring permit and

begin to develop new targets and goals

for the upcoming permit cycle

Link to Watershed Planning

Watershed planning is a process for goal-

setting, data collection and analysis,

problem identification, strategy

development and implementation, and


Watershed-based NPDES permitting

approach advances the goals established

in watershed plans by providing a

mechanism for coordinating control

activities and data collection activities

– Also serves as a vehicle for public participation

and communication of the goals of the

watershed plan

Link to Watershed Planning

In the absence of a watershed plan, the

watershed-based NPDES permitting

process initiates a broader dialogue about

watershed goals, data needs, and possible

pollutant control strategies

– This dialogue develops many of the items

needed for watershed planning activities

Benefits of Watershed-Based

NPDES Permitting

Enhanced opportunity for environmental


Integration of water-related related programs

– Similar information is required for TMDL

development and watershed planning

Targeted and maximized use of resources

to achieve greatest environmental results

– Ensure making investment in technology/

infrastructure that is going toward a defined


Benefits of Watershed-Based

NPDES Permitting

Administrative efficiencies of streamlined


Local cooperating efforts

Watershed-wide monitoring plans


Trading and other market-based

strategies available

Increased public involvement

Potential Challenges

Expanded stakeholder involvement

Integrating non-point sources

– Fear that involvement might lead to direct


Need for more flexible infrastructure

– IEPA used to dealing with traditional, individual


Potential Challenges

Conflicting jurisdictional requirements

– Different requirements brought about through

local ordinances

Regulatory structure

– Dependence on non-point reductions and

point-nonpoint nonpoint trading opportunities

Making the initial investment

Measures to Aid in Permit Success

Conduct analysis of which permit option

would work best

Offer to contribute to the technical

analysis required for developing WQBPL

Propose a special study to conduct as part

of the permit

Provide comment on proposed permit


Consider water quality trading

opportunities to meet permit limits and

water quality goals efficiently

Measures to Aid in Permit Success

Serve as liaison between permittees and

nonpoint source dischargers in the


Comply with permit conditions while

maintaining a log of challenges, benefits,

and other recommendations for reissuance

of the permit

Assist with an aspect of permit

implementation, such as monitoring and

reporting, as a way to gauge permit


Moving Forward

Feasibility study to examine:

– Legal limitations to pollutant trading and

watershed-based permitting, in general

CT and VA passed legislation to allow for nutrient trading

Single entity (holder becomes regulator) or multi-party (joint

holding) permits recommended

– Integration of existing TMDL allocations into the

permitting process

– Strategy for aligning existing individual and

general permits in common watersheds into the

same renewal cycles

Consider timing of watershed plan and TMDL development

Also would give consideration to:

– IPS and bioassessment work performed by DRSCW

– Nutrient criteria currently being development by


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