Frequent Questions

Where can I locate information about wastewater, stormwater, sewage, municipal systems, or pollutant discharge?

You can find information about these topics on the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Web site:

"As authorized by the Clean Water Act, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States. Point sources are discrete conveyances such as pipes or man-made ditches. Individual homes that are connected to a municipal system, use a septic system, or do not have a surface discharge do not need an NPDES permit; however, industrial, municipal, and other facilities must obtain permits if their discharges go directly to surface waters. In most cases, the NPDES permit program is administered by authorized states."


Information about wastewater and wastewater treatment can be found on EPA’s Effluent Guidelines Web site. Effluent Guidelines are national regulatory standards for wastewater discharged to surface waters and municipal sewage treatment plants.

Additionally, EPA provides financial and technical assistance to small and rural communities to establish and improve wastewater treatment services. More information about these systems can be found on EPA’s Small and Rural Wastewater Systems Web site.

You may also wish to read about ways in which EPA has improved the security and resilience of drinking water and wastewater systems.

To learn more about wastewater issues, you may be interested in the following publications:


"Stormwater runoff is generated when precipitation from rain and snowmelt events flows over land or impervious surfaces and does not percolate into the ground. As the runoff flows over the land or impervious surfaces (paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops), it accumulates debris, chemicals, sediment or other pollutants that could adversely affect water quality if the runoff is discharged untreated. The primary method to control stormwater discharges is the use of best management practices (BMPs). In addition, most stormwater discharges are considered point sources and require coverage under an NPDES permit."

Sewage and Municipal Systems

Information about sewage and municipal wastewater systems is available from EPA. Topics include: wastewater treatment, sewage treatment and overflows, biosolids, and wastewater management and enforcement.

If you need further information or assistance, your questions may be best answered by your Regional EPA office or state NPDES coordinator. EPA Regional offices contact information can be found on the main NPDES Web site.


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