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Idaho Department of Environmental Quality

EPA schedules informational meetings, public hearings on IPDES program application

September 7, 2017

By Mary Anne Nelson, IPDES Program Manager

It’s been a little over a year since the IPDES program application was submitted to EPA. The application package was determined to be complete, meaning it met the minimum requirements for content; however, EPA and DEQ had some work left to do to ensure that the program would operate effectively and efficiently.

After working diligently with the stakeholder committee, holding public meetings to develop guidance documents, and receiving and responding to comments, DEQ and EPA are now ready to put the application package out for public comment. EPA posted a notice in the Federal Register on August 11 opening a 60-day public comment period. Several ways are available for the public to provide comments to EPA: https://www.epa.gov/npdes-permits/idaho-npdes-program-authorization.

Public participation is a key element for approving a state’s permitting program. Participation is important when the program is being reviewed for approval but also when the state drafts a permit, negotiates rules, or proposes a settlement agreement. DEQ welcomes public involvement and participation to ensure the agency listens to and serves the citizens of Idaho.

EPA and DEQ personnel are touring the state next week, September 11 through 15, and holding informational meetings and public hearings to take oral or written comments on the program application. The locations, dates, and times are provided below.

DEQ continues to work on guidance documents, including the User’s Guide to Permitting and Compliance, which are intended to help DEQ staff, regulated entities, and the public understand how the permitting process will work in Idaho and to ensure compliance. As the date for program approval approaches, DEQ staff will also be training wastewater operators in using the IPDES E-Permitting System. DEQ is excited to provide the opportunity to reduce paper waste, improve efficiency, and provide a reliable system for regulated dischargers to interface with DEQ staff on permitting and compliance issues.

It’s a new and exciting time for the state as we develop this project and an entirely new state-run program. Stay tuned for more updates and information. 

Date

Start Time

City

Meeting Location

Monday, September 11

4 p.m.—Informational presentations, Q&A

6 p.m.—Public hearing

Idaho Falls

Central Public Library
457 W. Broadway
Idaho Falls, ID 83402

Tuesday, September 12

4 p.m.—Informational presentations, Q&A

6 p.m.—Public hearing

Twin Falls

Twin Falls Public Library
201 Fourth Ave. East
Twin Falls, ID 83301

Wednesday, September 13

4 p.m.—Informational presentations, Q&A

6 p.m.—Public hearing

Boise

Boise Public Library
715 S. Capitol Blvd.
Boise, ID 83702

Thursday, September 14

4 p.m.—Informational presentations, Q&A

6 p.m.—Public hearing

Lewiston

Lewiston Community Center
1424 Main St.
Lewiston, ID 83501

Friday, September 15

2 p.m.—Informational presentations, Q&A

4 p.m.—Public hearing

Coeur d’Alene

Coeur d'Alene Public Library
702 E. Front Ave.
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

IPDES Program submits application to EPA

September 1, 2016

By Mary Anne Nelson, IPDES Program Manager

It is my privilege to announce the culmination of over two years of time and hard work. On August 31, DEQ submitted the Idaho Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (IPDES) Program application to EPA Region 10 Administrator Dennis McLerran. This application provides EPA with the materials to determine if DEQ should become the delegated authority to write and enforce National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits in Idaho. Idaho is one of only four states that does not administer its own program.

IPDES Program Manager Mary Anne Nelson presents DEQ Director John Tippets with the IPDES application.
Pictured from left to right, Deputy Director Jess Byrne, Water Quality Division Administrator Barry Burnell,
Director John Tippets, Deputy Attorney General Doug Conde, IPDES Program Manager Mary Anne Nelson,
and IPDES Rules/Guidance Coordinator Troy Smith.

The goal of IPDES, like the federal program, is to address water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants to waters of the United States. Point sources are sources of pollutants with a discrete conveyance, such as a pipe, ditch, or other identifiable "point" of discharge.

The IPDES Program will issue permits for the discharge of domestic and nondomestic wastewater and storm water to Idaho surface waters. IPDES permits will be written to comply with state water quality standards and limit the amount of pollution that point sources may discharge into surface waters. While permittees must expect that protective, substantive permitting requirements will remain, they can look forward to gaining access to permit writers and other staff with local experience and knowledge and experiencing a streamlined timeline for issuing permits.

DEQ staff spent the last two years completing the application package, which includes a program description, memorandum of agreement with EPA, and a certification from the Office of the Attorney General. Participation from various stakeholders throughout the negotiated rulemaking and guidance development processes was critical and culminated in a new chapter of IDAPA rules approved by DEQ’s board last November and passed by the Idaho Legislature in March 2016. Staff worked diligently on all the components of the application package and will continue that effort into the future while developing guidance documents for writing IPDES permits, developing effluent limits to meet Idaho’s water quality standards, inspecting IPDES permitted facilities, and many other necessary policies and procedures.

DEQ expects this new state-run program to be a positive development both for the environment and regulated entities. The full program will require approximately 29 positions located in DEQ's state and regional offices and an annual budget of $3 million. For more about the IPDES Program, visit our IPDES webpage.

The application materials are all available electronically here.

The IPDES Program will administer the discharge of pollutants into waters of the United States in Idaho upon approval of the program by EPA.

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