National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit (NPDES)

**Disclaimer: Only applicable if proposed discharge is NOT in a High Quality or Exceptional Value watershed or if there are specific contaminants**

What Industry Wants

Permission to discharge into waterways of the commonwealth.

People Involved

  • DEP
  • Drill Operator
  • County conservation district
  • Local municipality
  • Adjacent municipality
  • County
  • Surface leaseholder

Opportunities for Public Engagement

Public comment period of 30 days which can be extended by 15 days if requested. Public hearing can be granted if requested.


  • 43 days if granted permit decision guarantee


  • PA Bulletin
  • E-Facts


Opportunities for Improvement

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Discussion of Step

The  Federal Clean Water Act and the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law requires wastewater discharges to have a permit establishing pollution limits and specifying monitoring and reporting requirements.

Permits regulate discharges with the goals of:

  1. Protecting public health and aquatic life
  2. Assuring that every facility treats wastewater.

When and if regulated facilities fail to comply with the provisions of their permits, they may be subject to enforcement actions.

PADEP and EPA use a variety of techniques to monitor permittees' compliance status, including on-site inspections and review of data submitted by permittee. The NPDES permit is generally valid for a period of five years.

Types of regulated pollutants include oil and grease (including hydrocarbons), toxic pollutants (pesticides, solvents, PCBs, dioxins) and metals (lead, silver, mercury, copper, chromium, nickel, and cadmium). Considered by PADEP’s Bureau of Waterways Engineering and Wetlands

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