© 2002-2005 Hart County Board of Commissioners 


NPDES Phase I Stormwater Permitting Program Summary

The 1972 Amendments to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act or CWA) prohibit the discharge of any pollutant to waters of the United States from a point source unless the discharge is authorized by a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The NPDES permitting program is designed to track point sources, monitor the discharge of pollutants from specific sources to surface waters, and require the implementation of the controls necessary to minimize the discharge of pollutants.

Initial efforts to improve water quality under the NPDES program primarily focused on reducing pollutants in industrial process wastewater and discharges from municipal sewage treatment plants. But as pollution control measures for these sources were implemented and refined, studies showed that more diffuse sources of water pollution were also significant causes of water quality impairment. Specifically, storm water runoff draining large surface areas, such as agricultural and urban land.

In 1987, the CWA was again amended by Congress to require implementation of a comprehensive national program for addressing problematic non-agricultural sources of storm water discharges. As required by the amended CWA, the NPDES Storm Water Program is being implemented in two phases: Phase I and Phase II.

Phase I requires NPDES permits for storm water discharges from:

· "Medium" and "large" municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) generally serving, or located in incorporated places or counties with, populations of 100,000 or more people; and
· Eleven categories of industrial activity, one of which is construction activity disturbing five acres or greater of land.

In Georgia, a general stormwater permit for ten categories of industrial activity was issued in 1993 and individual stormwater permits for 57 large and medium MS4s were issued in 1994. The Phase I stormwater permit for constructions activity disturbing five acres or more of land was subject to a series of legal challenges and was not issued until 2000. Information on the Phase I stormwater program is available on the USEPA Phase I Web site. Information on Georgia’s Phase I stormwater permits and permittees is available on the Georgia EPD Web site.

Source: USEPA Stormwater Web site at http://www.epa.gov/owm/sw/index.htm. Georgia EPD Web site at http://www.georgianet.org/dnr/environ/

Other Resources: Local Government Environmental Assistance Network (LGEAN) Web site at http://www.lgean.org/.

Contacts: USEPA Office of Wastewater Management at 202-564-0722. Georgia EPD NonPoint Source Program at 404-675-6245