NPDES Wastewater

All wastewater discharges to surface waters in the State of North Carolina must receive a permit to control water pollution.  The Clean Water Act of 1972 initiated strict control of wastewater discharges with the responsibility of enforcement given to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The EPA then created the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) to track and control point sources of pollution.  The primary method of control is by issuing permits to dischargers with limitations on wastewater flow and constituents.  The EPA delegated permitting authority to the State of North Carolina in 1975.

The NPDES program at the Division of Water Resources is responsible for the issuance of wastewater discharge permits.  This process includes determining the quality and quantity of treated wastewater that the receiving stream can assimilate, incorporating input from stream modeling, collaborating with Regional Office staff, and evaluation of the discharger’s location. 

The NPDES program is managed by three units in the wastewater permitting branch:

Where appropriate, the NPDES program establishes limits for flow (quantity discharged), conventional pollutants (BOD, pH, TSS, fecal coliform, oil & grease, etc.), toxicants (metals, volatile organics, etc.), and non-conventional pollutants such as ammonia and nutrients.  Delegated states have the authority to establish state water quality standards which can be more stringent than federal standards established by EPA.  For more information about the application process, links to our applications, and other types of forms, please visit the NPDES Permitting Process page

In addition to administering the NPDES program in North Carolina, there is also the responsibility of enforcement of the discharge limitations through our NPDES Compliance program. Please visit the NPDES Compliance webpage for more information and to access Compliance-related forms. Please note that the penalty for discharging without a permit is a fine of up to $25,000 per day. 

NPDES Staff Contacts

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Important Links

NPDES Applications

NPDES Current Active and Expired Individual Permits List

NCG530000 Frequently Asked Questions about Trout Farms General Permit

City of Greensboro SOC and other important documents

e-DMR: EPA’s Electronic Reporting Rule and how it may affect permit holders.

Precision in Discharge Monitoring Reports: Summarizes common conventions (and exceptions) for significant figures and rounding and describes their proper use in completing DMRs

NPDES Permitting Guidance

Tab/Accordion Item

Goose Creek
NPDES Color Permitting Policy (South Fork Catawba River)

Stormwater Permitting Program
DEQ Customer Service Center

Municipal Unit- Pretreatment: Sewer collection system permits and pretreatment

Land Application Unit: Non-discharge permits such as wastewater disposal systems consisting of surface irrigation, high-rate irrigation, recycling, or reuse.