Proposed National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Electronic Reporting Rule

Overview

On July 30, 2013, EPA proposed the Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Electronic Reporting Rule, which requires electronic reporting of NPDES information rather than the currently-required paper-based reports from permitted facilities that discharge to waters of the United States. EPA received 170 public comments on the proposed rule from a variety of stakeholder groups and most commenters were supporting of electronic reporting.

New Public Comment Period

EPA is opening a new public comment period with the publication of a new Federal Register notice to collect addition comments and suggestions on several topics. This notice is an opportunity for EPA to identify many of the issues raised by comments, clarify any misunderstandings about the proposed rule, and discuss possibilities for how EPA might modify the rule to address issues raised by stakeholders. This notice is not, however, intended to respond to all comments submitted; EPA will respond to all substantive comments when it takes final action on the proposed rule. The comment period for the supplemental notice will be 60 days.

Proposed Rule Documents

The following documents provide more information on the 2013 proposed rule:

Benefits of Electronic Reporting

The proposed NPDES E-rule moves EPA and states into the 21st Century by taking advantage of advances in information technology, expands EPA efforts to provide meaningful data to the public, and supports the EPA-wide effort to move from paper to electronic reporting. It will provide EPA and states the ability to strategically address the most serious water pollution problems while using limited resources efficiently.   States will realize a significant reduction in reporting burden and cost savings due to electronic reporting from facilities rather than having to enter paper reporting into data systems.

For More Information

Find documents and submit comments related to this rulemaking at regulations.gov within Docket Number EPA-HQ-OECA-2009-0274. On regulations.gov you can submit or view public comments, and access the index listing of the contents of this public docket and other supporting documents.

Electronic Reporting Tools

EPA is working with states, tribes, territories, and third-party software vendors to develop and have in place all of the electronic reporting tools and National Environmental Information Exchange Network protocols required to implement this regulation prior to the effective date of the final rule. EPA is not proposing that NPDES-regulated facilities must use an EPA-developed electronic reporting tool. Rather, EPA is providing the flexibility for facilities to have a range of options including:

  • an EPA electronic reporting tool,
  • a tool developed by a state authorized to implement the NPDES program, or
  • tools developed by third-party vendors, if such tools meet the requirements of this proposed rule.

EPA is proposing this flexibility because it recognizes that many states, tribes, and territories have their own electronic data systems and reporting tools for managing NPDES data. Information on EPA’s electronic reporting tools is provided below:

  • NetDMR: A nationally-available electronic reporting tool, initially designed by states and later adapted for national use by EPA, which can be used by NPDES-regulated facilities to submit discharge monitoring reports (DMRs) electronically to EPA through a secure Internet application over the National Environmental Information Exchange Network.
  • NPDES Electronic Reporting Tool (NeT): NeT is a tool suite developed by EPA to facilitate electronic submittal of data by the regulated community directly to EPA and its partners. It uses commercial "off-the-shelf" software and can support diverse form and data submission formats.