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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is publishing Draft Guidance On Watershed-Based National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permitting Implementation. EPA is making the draft guidance available to the public for a period of 30 days during which EPA seeks comments on the document.
The purpose of this guidance is to describe the concept of and the process for watershed-based permitting under the NPDES permit program. Watershed-based NPDES permitting is an approach to developing NPDES permits for multiple point sources located within a defined geographic area (i.e., watershed boundaries). This approach, aimed at achieving new efficiencies and environmental results, provides a process for considering all stressors within a hydrologically defined drainage basin or other geographic area, rather than addressing individual pollutant sources on a discharge-by-discharge basis.
As outlined in the guidance, EPA will continue to implement the NPDES program through its existing statutory and regulatory authorities.
The guidance cannot impose legally binding requirements on EPA, States, Tribes, or the regulated community. It cannot substitute for Clean Water Act (CWA) requirements, EPA's regulations, or the obligations imposed by consent decrees or enforcement orders.
All public comments on the draft guidance must be received on or before Sept. 24.