As part of DEQ’s responsibility to protect Idaho’s water resources, permits are required for the disposal of wastewater. There are two main permitting programs depending on how a facility wishes to dispose of the treated effluent. If a facility intends to discharge to a surface water body—a river, lake, reservoir, or stream—the facility should apply for an Idaho Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. If the facility wishes to use the treated effluent as recycled water to apply to crops or other beneficial uses, the facility should apply for a reuse permit.
In some instances (e.g., federally licensed dams or dredge and fill permits) DEQ reviews the application the entity submits and determines whether or not a federal agency (e.g., the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or the US Army Corps of Engineers) can issue a permit that would comply with Idaho’s water quality standards. This authority stems from section 401 of the Clean Water Act, and these are often referred to as Section 401 Certifications.
The Idaho Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (IPDES) Bureau develops permits authorizing effluent discharges and fact sheets describing how permit conditions are developed. IPDES permits are written to comply with the state water quality standards and limit the amount of pollution that point sources may discharge into surface waters.
An IPDES permit authorizes a permittee to discharge pollutants from point sources into waters of the United States in Idaho, except on tribal land. DEQ requires those classes or sectors of discharges required by EPA to have a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to obtain an IPDES permit, but will not expand required coverage beyond federal regulatory requirements.
Our IPDES staff are available to answer any questions users may have related to a permit application, compliance, monitoring, reporting, inspection, and the IPDES E-Permitting System.
We update the Permit Issuance Plan (PIP) annually. The PIP is DEQ’s plan for drafting and issuing permits and covers a two-year time frame.
Our online system for accepting information from permittees and applicants allows users to register accounts, associate the accounts with facilities, submit information, and track progress on draft permits. The IPDES E-Permitting System is the main route for permittees to provide required information and materials to DEQ. Depending on the permit class or sector, we may require permittees to continuing using NetDMR or NeT to comply with EPA’s electronic reporting rule.
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IPDES individual municipal permits are issued to publicly and privately-owned treatment works (POTW) that provide services for municipalities, sewer districts, and communities across Idaho. These services include treatment of domestic sewage, storm water drainage, and sewage sludge disposal.
Additionally, some municipal drinking water treatment plants discharge filter backwash to surface waters, which requires an IPDES permit. When a municipal system accepts waste from a categorical industrial user or a significant industrial user, that municipality may need to develop a pretreatment program.
DEQ assesses an annual fee for municipal wastewater dischargers. This annual fee is based on information that permittees provide annually through the IPDES E-Permitting System, identifying the population served by the treatment works and average household size. This information accessed through the U.S. Census Bureau Factfinder.
We developed a User’s Guide to Permitting and Compliance, Volume 2 – POTWs to help municipal users apply for and understand an IPDES permit.
DEQ gained authorization to issue surface water discharge permits for non-POTWs on July 1, 2019.
IPDES individual industrial permits are issued for non-POTW point source dischargers that are not appropriately covered by an IPDES general permit. Examples of activities that need industrial permit coverage for their discharge to surface waters include mining, silviculture, food processing, aquaculture, and concentrated animal feeding operations.
DEQ assesses an annual fee for these dischargers. The fees are based on the industrial dischargers’ classification as a minor or major facility based on DEQ’s permit rating worksheet.
We developed a User’s Guide to Permitting and Compliance, Volume 3 – Non-POTWs to help industrial users apply for and understand an IPDES permit.
DEQ gained authorization to issue general discharge permits excluding storm water permits on July 1, 2020.
IPDES general permits cover multiple permittees with similar discharges that are located in similar geographic areas. A general permit applies similar conditions to all covered dischargers. In Idaho, there are currently six non storm water general permit types:
- Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO)
- Concentrated Aquatic Animal Production (CAAP) Facilities:
- Drinking Water Facilities
- Groundwater Remediation Facilities
- Small Suction Dredge Placer Miners
- Pesticide Applications
We developed a User’s Guide to Permitting and Compliance, Volume 4 – General Permits Excluding Storm Water to help permittees apply for and understand an IPDES general permit.
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IPDES Permit Supervisor
Senior Water Quality Engineer / Reuse Permit Lead
401 Certification Lead