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

On July 15, 2013, the proposed NPDES Electronic Reporting Rule was signed for publication in the Federal Register. This proposed rule solicits comment on requiring facilities regulated under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program and state, tribe, territory and federal regulators to use existing, available information technology to electronically report information and data related to the NPDES program in lieu of filing written reports.

Benefits of Electronic Reporting

The electronic submittal of data will result in improved water quality and significant cost savings for the states, as well as savings for the permittees, tribes, territories, and EPA, when the rule is fully implemented. This proposed rulemaking will also enhance transparency and public accountability by providing the public with timely information on potential sources of water pollution. 

Supporting Documentation

Comments

The 135-day public comment period for the proposed rule closed on December 12, 2013. EPA received 170 public comment submissions from a variety of stakeholder groups, which together totaled to 850 comment pages. The largest number of public comments (by comment pages) came from government agencies (50%) with industrial stakeholders contributing most of the remaining comments (42%).

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 intends to work 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
  • potentially 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.