NPDES Wastewater Permitting

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 permitting section, the Industrial Permitting Branch, the Municipal Permitting Branch, and the Compliance and Expedited 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 applications process and links to 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 Compliance program. The penalty for discharging without a permit is a fine of up to $25,000 per day. 

NPDES Staff Contacts

Subscribe to DWR's Public Notice Listserv

Important Links

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. Please direct questions to Mike Templeton at 919-707-3603 or

Current Issues

T.Z. Osborne WWTP - Special Order by Consent

EMC SOC WQ S19-010 - SOC between the EMC and the City of Greensboro (approved at the March 11, 2021 EMC meeting)

EMC Meeting March 11, 2021 Attachments:

Hearing Officer's Report (with supplemental appendices and SOC signed by the City of Greensboro)

T.Z. Osborne WWTP 1,4-dioxane Effluent Data

Notice of Violation and City of Greensboro's Response

T.Z. Osborne WWTP Composite Sampling Plan

EPA 1,4-dioxane 2018 Health Advisory


Public Notice - Date extension of second announcement (comment period ends December 14, 2020)

Public Notice - Second announcement (comment period ends December 9, 2020)

SOC S19-010 - Updated from first public notice

Frequently Asked Questions


Public Hearing Announcement

Register for December 9 Public Hearing

Instructions on how to join a WebEx meeting

Public Notice - First announcement (public comments ended July 24, 2020)
Draft SOC S19-010 - First public notice

Alcoa - Badin Business Park - Permit Compliance

Link to Alcoa - Badin Business Park Documents & Information

NPDES Permitting Guidance

General Permitting Guidance Pollutant-Specific Permitting Guidance Basin-Specific Permitting Guidance

Basin-Specific Permitting Guidance

Goose Creek
South Fork Catawba River Basin Color

Facility Specific Permitting Guidance NPDES Compliance Guidance Related Information

Related Information

NPDES Compliance and Enforcement Information
Stormwater Permitting Program
DEQ Customer Service Center
PERCS Unit: Sewer collection system permits and pretreatment

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