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The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Electronic Reporting Rule, which became effective on December 21, 2015, requires electronic sharing of NPDES program information to replace paper-based reporting. The objective is to improve reporting efficiencies and save time and resources for both the regulators and the regulated community. Phase 1 requires that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and authorized states begin receiving Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs) electronically within one year after the effective date. Industries with NPDES permitted wastewater discharges and General or Individual Stormwater permits that require analytical monitoring will be required to submit electronic reports (e-DMRs), in most cases by December 2016.
The EPA is currently working with states and software vendors to develop and have in-place electronic reporting tools and network protocols required to implement electronic reporting prior to December 2016. The EPA is not proposing that facilities must use an EPA-developed program, but is allowing flexibility for facilities and states to use a range of options, including:
- Use an EPA electronic reporting tool (one of two available):
- NetDMR – A nationally-available electronic reporting tool, initially designed by states and later adapted for national use by the EPA, which can be used to submit e-DMRs through a secure Internet application over the National Environmental Information Exchange Network; and
- NPDES Electronic Reporting Tool (NeT) – A suite developed by the EPA to facilitate electronic submittal of data directly to the EPA and its partners using commercial “off-the-shelf” software, which can support diverse form and data submission formats.
- Use a tool developed by a state authorized to implement the NPDES program; or
- Use tools developed by third-party vendors, if such tools meet the requirements of the proposed rule.
The EI Group, Inc. (EI) has reviewed available e-DMR reporting systems and plans for several states in the southeastern United States. EI has also polled these state agencies on the status of their systems relative to when electronic reporting is anticipated to become mandatory for both NPDES wastewater and stormwater DMRs, as well as how to get registered/started. Some southeastern states have already approved NPDES e-DMR reporting in place for both wastewater and stormwater and are already requiring mandatory electronic reporting, while others have systems in place for wastewater, but are working to integrate stormwater e-DMRs. Still others are working to get systems running to meet the December 2016 deadline. South Carolina is still in the process of procuring software and does not anticipate requiring e-DMRs until mid-2017.
Most states have instructions for registering for access to e-DMR accounts and reporting on their respective environmental regulatory agency websites. Information/instructions for NPDES e-reporting for southeastern states can be accessed from the following links:
Southeastern State NPDES e-Reporting Web Links
- North Carolina
- West Virginia Users can typically be granted differing levels of access to the data, depending on role/need, such as read-only, edit access, signatory authority to certify and submit DMRs, and permit administrator. Some agencies are also offering webinars and/or scheduled class room training at various locations. Agency personnel are also available for telephone and e-mail consultation as needed to get started.An environmental consultant, familiar with NPDES permitting and reporting requirements, can also help get started. At EI, we have over 75 qualified professionals who can provide environmental, health, and safety (EHS) services as well as expertise in NPDES wastewater and stormwater permitting and consulting. Call (800) 717-3472 or contact me at email@example.com to learn more.