EPA is proposing rules that would require electronic reporting in place of the current paper-based NPDES reports. The proposed regulation would require permittees and regulators to use existing, available information technology to electronically report information and data related to the NPDES permit program in lieu of filing written reports. EPA believes the proposal will allow better allocation and use of limited program resources and enhance transparency and public accountability by providing regulatory agencies and the public with more timely, complete, accurate, and nationally-consistent sets of data about the NPDES program and potential sources of water pollution.
Given the large scope of the proposal, EPA has committed to publishing a supplemental notice should the agency receive comments on the proposed rule that require significant changes. EPA plans to publish the supplemental notice within 180 days after the public comment period for this proposed rule has closed. Comments on this proposed action must be received on or before October 28, 2013.
This proposed rule would require that reports submitted in writing now be submitted electronically by NPDES-permitted facilities to EPA through the National Environmental Information Exchange Network or to the authorized state, tribe, or territory NPDES program. This can include:
- Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs),
- Notices of Intent to discharge in compliance with a general permit,
- other general permit waivers,
- notices of termination of coverage,
- program reports
While the proposed rule changes the method by which information on NPDES permits, it does not increase the amount of information required from NPDES-permitted facilities under existing regulations.
States, tribes, and territories that are authorized to implement the NPDES program are the sources of certain key information regarding the regulated facilities. Under this regulation, NPDES permitting authorities are required to share this information electronically with EPA, including:
- Facility information from NPDES permit applications,
- permit information including outfalls, limits, and permit conditions,
- compliance determination information including that from inspections, and
- enforcement response information.
To promote transparency and accountability, EPA intends to make this more complete set of data available to the public. Complete and accurate data also will allow EPA to compare performance across authorized programs.