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Idaho Department of Environmental Quality

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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