Idaho Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Program Development
In 2014, the Idaho Legislature revised Idaho Code to direct DEQ to seek EPA authorization for a state-operated pollutant discharge elimination system permitting program. The current program is operated by EPA and called the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program. The state program will be called the Idaho Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (IPDES) program. DEQ submitted a primacy application that adheres to the Clean Water Act and 40 CFR 123 to EPA on August 31, 2016. The goal of IPDES, like NPDES, is to address water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants to waters of the United States.
DEQ expects this new state-run program to be a positive development both for the environment and regulated entities. Implementing this significant program will bring exciting challenges to the agency. The full program will require approximately 29 positions located in DEQ's state and regional offices and an annual budget of $3 million. 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.
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
Industrial, municipal, and other point sources of pollution that discharge wastewater directly to surface waters are required to obtain National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. NPDES permits limit the amount of pollution that point sources may discharge into surface waters. NPDES permits protect water quality and public health. In Idaho, the NPDES permit program is administered by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which means EPA is responsible for issuing and enforcing all of Idaho's NPDES permits. Learn more.
DEQ’s IPDES Program will administer the discharge of pollutants into waters of the United States in Idaho upon approval of the program by EPA. These discharges include storm water, pretreatment controls for certain discharges to publicly owned treatment works (POTWs), and the sewage sludge (biosolids) management program. DEQ will be approved to administer the IPDES Program through the Clean Water Act and the “Rules Regulating the Idaho Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Program.”
The IPDES Program will issue permits for the discharge of domestic and nondomestic wastewater and storm water to waters of the United States in Idaho. The IPDES Program will develop applicable permits authorizing effluent discharges, and the associated fact sheets which provide details about how permit conditions are developed. IPDES permits will be written to comply with the state water quality standards and limit the amount of pollution that point sources may discharge into surface waters. Learn more.
Aquaculture in Idaho
Aquaculture cultivates freshwater fish, such as salmon and trout, under controlled conditions for commercial, conservation, and recreational uses. Idaho's aquaculture industry ranks as the third largest food-animal industry in the state and is the nation's largest commercial producer of Rainbow Trout. EPA has issued a general NPDES permit for aquaculture facilities and associated fish processing facilities in Idaho. Good waste management and water stewardship ensure that treated wastewater discharged to surface waters will meet water quality standards. Learn more.
Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations
Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are agricultural facilities that house and feed a large number of animals—typically cows, hogs, chickens, or turkeys—in a confined area for a length of time. Careful management of these facilities protects public health and the environment from runoff carrying animal waste into nearby sources of water and from animal waste leaching into ground water. Several agencies share responsibility for regulating CAFOs in Idaho. Learn more.
Storm water in Idaho
Storm water is rain or melting snow that does not immediately soak into the ground. Storm water runs off of land and hard surfaces, such as streets, parking lots, and rooftops, and picks up pollutants, such as fertilizers, dirt, pesticides, and oil and grease. Eventually, storm water soaks into the ground or discharges to surface water (usually through storm drains), bringing the pollutants with it. Federal, state, and local government agencies; business and industry; and individual land owners all share responsibility for storm water management in Idaho. Learn more.