- NPDES Permit FAQs
Questions & answers on state and federal responsibilities for NPDES permitting in Massachusetts.
- General Permits
For the most part, general permits are administered by EPA, require submission of a Notice of Intent (NOI) to EPA, and do not require an application to MassDEP. However, there are some circumstances that require submittal to both MassDEP and EPA. The following situations require applicants to submit a MassDEP transmittal form, a copy of the EPA’s NOI, payment (unless exempt), and any other required submittals to MassDEP:
- Construction General Permit (CGP) with discharge to Outstanding Resource Waters (ORW);
- Massachusetts Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) Permit;
- Publicly Owned Treatment Works General Permit (POTW GP);
- Potable Water Treatment Facilities General Permit (PWTF GP) for first time applicants that also discharge to an ORW and High Quality Waters;
- Remediation General Permit (RGP) with discharge to ORW waters;
- Dewatering General Permit (DGP) with discharge to Class A or Class SA Waters;
- Hydroelectric Generating Facilities General Permit (Hydro GP) with discharge to ORW waters.
Instructions for these submittals are available here: WM 15 - NPDES General Permit Notice of Intent. Questions should be directed to the MassDEP staff listed below.
POTW GP: Claire Golden, 978-694-3244.
PWTF GP: Xiaodan Ruan, 617-654-6517.
Remediation GP: Cathy Vakalopoulos, 617-348-4026.
Stormwater GP: Fred Civian, 617-292-5821.
All other GPs: Jennifer Wood, 617-654-6536.
- WM 15 - NPDES General Permit Notice of Intent (replaces former permit codes WM 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14)
The process for submitting a Notice of Intent (NOI) for NPDES General Permits, which are issued by the US Environmental Protection Agency. BWR WM 15 replaces former permit codes WM 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14. Revised March 2017.
- US EPA Construction General Permit
Coverage under the CGP is required for stormwater discharges from construction sites disturbing one or more acres of land or smaller sites that are part of a common plan of development or sale. The 2017 Construction General Permit took effect on February 16, 2017.
- US EPA Multi Sector General Permit (MSGP)
The MSGP provides coverage for the following types of discharges: stormwater discharges associated with industrial activity for any primary industrial activities and co-located industrial activities; discharges designated by EPA as needing a stormwater permit; discharges that are not otherwise required to obtain NPDES permit authorization but are mixed with discharges subject to the MSGP; and stormwater discharges from facilities subject to any of the national stormwater-specific effluent limitations guidelines. The current version of the MSGP was issued on June 4, 2015.
- US EPA: Massachusetts Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) Permit
The MS4 permit authorizes the discharge of stormwater from small municipal separate storm sewer systems that are located entirely or partially within an urbanized area as determined by the latest census, and are not designated as a medium or large MS4. The 2016 Permit was signed April 4, 2016, and will become effective July 1, 2017.
- US EPA Dewatering General Permit (DGP)
This general permit provides coverage for facilities with construction dewatering of groundwater intrusion and/or storm water accumulation from sites less than one acre, and short-term and long-term dewatering of foundation sumps into waters of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The permit establishes permit eligibility conditions, notice of intent requirements, effluent limitations, standards, prohibitions, and best management practices. The most recent version of this permit took effect May 20, 2015.
- US EPA Hydroelectric Generating Facilities General Permit (HYDROGP)
Coverage under the HYDROGP is available to hydroelectric generating facilities in Massachusetts that discharge equipment cooling water, equipment and floor drain water, equipment backwash water, certain maintenance related waters, and combinations of the preceding discharges. The most recent version of this permit took effect December 7, 2009.
- US EPA: Noncontact Cooling Water General Permit (NCCWGP)
The NCCW general permit is for discharges of non-contact cooling water to waters of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The permit establishes permit eligibility conditions, notice of intent requirements, effluent limitations, standards, prohibitions, and best management practices for facilities discharging NCCW. The most recent version of the permit took effect on November 3, 2014.
- US EPA Pesticide General Permit
This permit is available to operators who discharge to waters of the United States from the application of (1) biological pesticides or (2) chemical pesticides that leave a residue when the pesticide application is for one of the following pesticide use patterns: Mosquito and Other Flying Insect Pest Control; Weed and Algae Pest Control; Animal Pest Control; or Forest Canopy Pest Control. The most recent version of the permit took effect October 31, 2016.
- US EPA: Potable Water Treatment Facilities General Permit (PWTF GP)
Under the PWTF GP, owners and operators of PWTFs which discharge wastewater from one or more eligible treatment processes can be covered by this permit. The treatment processes covered include: clarification, coagulation, media filtration, membrane filtration (not including reverse osmosis), and disinfection. The most recent version of this permit took effect on March 6, 2017.
- US EPA Publicly Owned Treatment Works General Permit (POTW GP)
This permit authorizes discharges of wastewater from certain POTWs and other treatment works treating domestic sewage. Only facilities classified as minor are eligible for coverage under this permit. More specific eligibility requirements are provided in the permit. Facilities interested in seeking coverage under the POTW GP should follow the instructions for submitting an NOI found in the permit on EPA’s website. Facilities must also submit an individual application to MassDEP, as described here. The most recent version of this permit took effect July 6, 2011.
- US EPA Remediation General Permit (RGP)
The RGP authorizes discharge of water from four general categories: site remediation primarily related to petroleum contamination; site remediation activities where petroleum is not the primary contaminant; contaminated construction site dewatering; and miscellaneous contaminated discharges. The most recent version of the permit takes effect on April 8, 2017.
- US EPA Vessel and Small Vessel General Permits (VGP and sVGP)
The VGP provides for NPDES permit coverage for incidental discharges into waters of the United States from commercial vessels greater than 79 feet in length and for ballast water from commercial vessels of all sizes. The sVGP provides coverage for vessels less than 79 feet in length. Vessels in the small category are not required to obtain coverage until December 18, 2017, except for any ballast water discharges. Commercial fishing vessels are exempt from having to obtain NPDES permit coverage for incidental discharges until December 18, 2017, except for ballast water.