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Waivers from Electronic Reporting

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Electronic Reporting Rule in the Federal Register on October 22, 2015.  The rule requires NPDES regulated facilities to report information electronically, instead of filing written paper reports. The rule does not change what information is required from facilities. It only changes the method by which information is provided (i.e., electronic rather than paper-based).

The rule provides flexibility to grant temporary waivers from electronic reporting. A permittee may be granted a temporary waiver from the NPDES electronic reporting requirements if the reporting facility:

  1. Is physically located in a geographic area (i.e., zip code or census tract) that is identified as under-served for broadband internet access in the most recent National Broadband Map from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC); or
  2. Demonstrates that such electronic reporting of the monitoring data and reports would pose an unreasonable burden or expense to the NPDES-permitted facility.

How to Obtain an Electronic Reporting Waiver

To obtain an electronic reporting waiver, a permittee must first submit an application for a temporary electronic reporting waiver to NC DWR.  The following details should be provided on the application form:

  • Facility name;
  • NPDES permit number;
  • Facility address;
  • Name, address and contact information for the owner or designated facility representative;
  • Brief written statement for waiver request; and
  • Copy of the relevant FCC information (if applicable).

Completed applications should submitted to the following address:

NC DEQ / DWR / Water Quality Permitting Section – Wastewater Branch
Attention:  John Hennessy
1617 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-1617

Download an Application for Temporary Electronic Reporting Waiver.

The submission of an electronic reporting waiver application does not guarantee the waiver request will be granted.

Applicants should receive a response from the NC DWR within 15 business days of application receipt. If you have questions, or to check the status of your application, contact John Hennessy at 919-807-6377 or via email at

Conditions of an Electronic Reporting Waiver

Temporary waivers from electronic reporting shall not exceed an NPDES permit term.  The permittee may re-apply for a new waiver if the conditions above are met.  Re-application should be submitted to the NC DWR no later than sixty (60) days prior to the waiver’s expiration. Approved electronic reporting waivers are not transferrable.  Only permittees with an approved reporting waiver request may submit monitoring data and reports on paper to the NC DWR for the period that the approved reporting waiver is effective.

Upon the electronic reporting waiver’s expiration, if the permittee did not re-apply for and receive a new temporary waiver, then the permittee must report the required NPDES monitoring data and reports electronically.

Electronic reporting waivers are waivers from electronic reporting only. An NPDES-regulated permittee with an approved and effective electronic reporting waiver must submit the required monitoring data and reports on paper forms or formats provided or approved by NC DWR. Failure to report is an enforceable violation of the NPDES permit.