EPA Electronic Reporting Rule Published for NPDES Facilities
November 3, 2015
On October 22, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), published the final National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) electronic reporting rule (80 Fed. Reg. 64064). The rule requires electronic reporting in lieu of paper filing and will be effective December 21.
The electronic reporting requirements apply to:
- NPDES-permitted facilities.
- Facilities covered under NPDES general permits.
- Industrial users discharging to publicly owned treatment works without approved local pretreatment programs.
- State, territorial and tribal NPDES programs.
- Federal facilities with NPDES permits.
Within one year of the effective date (i.e., December 21, 2016) NPDES regulated entities that are required to submit Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs) must do so electronically. In addition, authorized NPDES programs must start electronically transmitting to EPA their state performance data by December 21, 2016. Within five years of the effective date, authorized NPDES programs must begin electronically collecting, managing and sharing all reports, data and other information from regulated entities.
The new electronic reporting requirements do not specifically apply to industrial users that discharge to publicly owned treatment works with approved local pretreatment programs. Electronic reporting will eventually be required for these industrial users because publicly owned treatment works must collect, manage and submit their information to EPA and will most likely require all industrial users to submit information to them electronically.
EPA is providing flexibility for facilities and authorized NPDES programs to implement the electronic reporting requirements, including the use of: 1) an EPA electronic reporting tool, 2) a tool developed by an authorized state NPDES program, and 3) tools developed by third-party vendors that meet the requirements of the rule. EPA estimates the electronic reporting rule will help streamline the permitting process, make reporting easier, provide better data and save authorized state NPDES programs over $22 million annually.