On October 22, 2015, EPA published the final National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Electronic Reporting Rule. This regulation replaces most paper-based Clean Water Act (CWA) NPDES permitting and compliance monitoring reporting requirements with electronic reporting. Under the rule, all authorized NPDES programs are required to submit an Implementation Plan for achieving the “Phase 2” E-Reporting requirements to EPA. Through joint governance and multi-agency representation, the NPDES E-Reporting Rule Implementation Plan Integrated Project Team (IPT) developed and distributed a template for creating the required implementation plans.
The IPT held its Kickoff call November 18, 2015. The IPT delivered its final products and sunsetted on February 4, 2016.
The transition from paper to electronic reporting will require close coordination and cooperation between EPA and authorized NPDES programs and will occur in two phases. In accordance with the Final Rule [40 CFR 127.26(h)], authorized NPDES programs must submit an Implementation Plan (IP) to EPA by December 21, 2016, for EPA’s review. The content of these plans must provide enough detail (e.g., key tasks and end dates) to ensure successful implementation of electronic reporting for Phase 2 data.
Purpose of the Implementation Plan
The IP is meant to help authorized States, Territories, and Tribes think through all the major tasks related to Phase 2 electronic reporting. It clearly communicates to EPA how each authorized program intends to implement Phase 2 electronic reporting. The IP can also be used to share information and advice between authorized NPDES programs to help ease implementation of electronic reporting. EPA will review, but not approve, the IP and provide comments on how to strengthen the plan. The IP should be seen as a “living document” that can and should be updated as unexpected issues and problems occur during Phase 2 implementation.
Development and Use of the Implementation Plan Template
Developed by the NPDES E-Reporting Rule Implementation Plan Integrated Project Team between November 2015 and February 2016, the Implementation Plan Template is designed for authorized NPDES programs to use in creating their individual IPs as required by the rule. When reviewing and using the Template, the Team recommends that authorized programs consider the following:
- Use of the IP Template is optional. Authorized NPDES programs may choose to develop their own IP instead of using the IP Template. As noted in the E-Reporting Rule, the IP must include key tasks and the related end dates necessary for implementing the final rule, such as: Describe key tasks for electronically collecting all Phase 2 data from NPDES-regulated facilities (e.g., developing and deploying electronic reporting systems and applications);
- Describe key tasks for updating authorized program’s NPDES data systems to manage and share Phase 2 data with EPA’s ICIS-NPDES (e.g., adding new data elements to NPDES data systems, or updating the electronic data transmission capabilities, which may include installing updated EN schema or EN Node plugins);
- Describe Cross-Media Electronic Reporting Regulation (CROMERR) compliance status for electronic reporting systems (e.g., approval dates or anticipated approval end dates for each NPDES data group);
- Provide scheduled end dates for updating State, Territorial, or Tribal statutes, regulations, and NPDES permits;
- Summarize outreach and training necessary to alert and educate NPDES-regulated entities on how to utilize electronic reporting systems;
- Identify date or dates when the authorized program will contact EPA regarding a possible reassessment of the IP due to unforeseen events or circumstances. This cooperative discussion between EPA and the State, Territory, or Tribe is intended to help evaluate all options for ensuring that the authorized program will be able to meet its own scheduled milestones; and
- Describe temporary and permanent waiver approval processes.
- IPT Charter – October 22, 2015
- NPDES E-Reporting Rule Website: http://www2.epa.gov/compliance/final-national-pollutant-discharge-elimination-system-npdes-electronic-reporting-rule
- Final NPDES Electronic Reporting Rule – Effective December 21, 2015
- Implementation Plan Template_February 16, 2016
Carey Johnston (EPA Co-Chair)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
johnston.carey [at] epa.gov
Elisa Willard (State Co-Chair)
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
elisa.willard [at] state.co.us