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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : Division of Water : Information : FAQs : Surface Water Discharges FAQs


Surface Water Discharges Section Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What is a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit?








Answer: The discharge of pollutants into the state’s surface waters is regulated through National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. DNREC issues these permits under authority delegated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

NPDES permits are typically issued to a commercial or industrial facility, or municipality for the discharge of wastewater to surface waters. The fundamental goal of an NPDES permit is just that, to eliminate discharge of pollutants. An NPDES permit will specify an acceptable level of a pollutant in a discharge in order to protect water quality.

NPDES permits are distinguished between individual and general. General permits are issued for a given state-wide activity such as the discharge of storm water associated with industrial activities. Individual permits are permits developed and issued on a case-by-case basis for activities not covered by general permits. 



Q. What is a General Industrial Storm Water Permit Program?








A. Storm water discharges from facilities engaging in certain industrial activities, as determined by a facility’s Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code, are point source discharges of pollutants and are subject to the General Industrial Storm Water Permit Program as required by the State of Delaware Regulations Governing Storm Water Discharges Associated with Industrial Activities.

The main focus of the General Industrial Storm Water Permitting Program is to prevent the contamination of storm water runoff from a facility by properly handling and storing materials. Regulated facilities can obtain permit coverage by submitting a Notice of Intent (NOI) Form or a “No Exposure” Certification Form.

Approval of the NOI Form covers a facility under the regulations and requires a facility to comply with all requirements outlined within; whereas approval of the "No Exposure" Form covers a facility under the regulations, but waives a facility from complying with the Monitoring and Storm Water Plan Requirements of the regulations. "No Exposure" means that all industrial materials and activities are protected by storm resistant shelter to prevent exposure to rain, snow, snowmelt and/or runoff.


Q. What types of biosolids permits are issued?



 A. Two types of biosolids permits are issued, one for the agricultural utilization (AGU) of biosolids and the other for the distribution and marketing (D&M) of biosolids. AGU is a permit that allows a Biosolids’ producer to land apply Class A or Class B Biosolids on a parcel of land which is under strict regulatory requirements. D&M is a permit that allows a Biosolids’ producer to distribute and market Class A Biosolids under regulatory requirements.

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