Translate this page to any language by choosing a language in the box below.

NPDES - National Pollution Discharge Elimination System - Information, Guidance, Links & Downloads

National Pollution Elimination Discharge System

ehso blue lightbar ehso blue lightbar


The Clean Water Act requires that all discharges from any point source into waters of the United States must obtain an NPDES permit. By point sources, EPA means discrete conveyances such as pipes or man made ditches. This does not necessarily mean that a household must obtain a permit to connect to a city sewer, but the facilities where discharges go directly into surface waters must obtain a permit. The reason for obtaining a permit is to protect public health and the nation's waters. The discharges that pose the most threat to public health and the nation's waters are: human wastes, ground-up food from sink disposals, laundry and bath waters, toxic chemicals and metals. Also, fecal Coliform, oil and grease, pesticides, and metals are types of pollutants that when discharged into the nation's waters threaten both the health of humans and life forms in the water. If left untreated, the nation would be unable to enjoy its largest natural resource, water. Permitting, while it is regulatory, ensures that the nation's waters will be ever-improving and safe today as well as tomorrow.


The PERMITS NAVIGATOR is a EPA-provided tool to assist citizens, the regulated community, students, and other interested parties in finding the NPDES permit information they need to help them keep their community's waterbodies healthier and their living areas more habitable.

NPDES Permit Program - Frequently Asked Questions

ehso blue lightbar

NPDES Permit Program - Upcoming Events

NPDES Permit Program - Publications