National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

Other Federal Laws that Apply to the NPDES Permit Program

Other laws besides the Clean Water Act (CWA) may apply to the NPDES permit program and affect NPDES implementation.

  • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq. - NEPA requires that agencies conduct environmental impact reviews ("Environmental Assessments" and "Environmental Impact Statements") for major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. Within EPA, the Office of Federal Activities under the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) is responsible for EPA's implementation of NEPA. With respect to NPDES permits, section 511 of the CWA establishes that only EPA-issued permits to "new sources" (dischargers subject to new source performance standards) are subject to NEPA's environmental review procedures under state law prior to permit issuance. States may have their own versions of NEPA.
  • Endangered Species Act (ESA), 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq. - Section 7 of the ESA requires that Federal agencies consult with the ESA administering services to ensure that any projects authorized, funded, or carried out by them are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species, or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat of such species.
  • National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), 16 U.S.C. 470 et seq. - Section 106 of the Act and implementing regulations (36 CFR part 800) require the regional administrator, before issuing a license (permit), to adopt measures when feasible to mitigate potential adverse effects of the licensed activity and properties listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The Act's requirements are to be implemented in cooperation with state historic preservation officers and upon notice to, and when appropriate, in consultation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
  • Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), 16 U.S.C. 1451 et seq. - CZMA was enacted to protect the Nation's coastal zone and is implemented through state-federal partnerships. Section 307(c) of CZMA prohibits the issuance of NPDES permits for activities affecting land or water use in coastal zones unless the permit applicant certifies that the proposed activity complies with the state coastal zone management program.
  • The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, 16 U.S.C. 1273 et seq. - Section 7 of the Act prohibits the regional administrator from assisting by license or otherwise the construction of any water resources project that would have a direct, adverse effect on the values for which a national wild and scenic river was established.
  • Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, 16 U.S.C. 661 et seq. - This Act requires that the regional administrator, before issuing a permit proposing or authorizing the impoundment (with certain exemptions), diversion, or other control or modification of any body of water, consult with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior, and the appropriate state agency exercising jurisdiction over wildlife resources to conserve those resources.
  • Essential Fish Habitat Provisions (EFH) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act - EFH promotes the protection of essential fish habitat in the review of projects conducted under Federal permits, licenses, or other authorities that affect or have the potential to affect such habitat. EFH requires that EPA consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service for any EPA-issued permits which may adversely affect essential fish habitat identified under the Magnuson-Stevens Act.