Question: Are there any exemptions under the NPDES?

stevie is asking a question about stormwater
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by stevie | February 09, 2017 22:32 | #13918

What I want to do or know

I've heard the oil and gas industry has exemptions under some permitting. I'm looking for more information on them.

Background story


Yes! You can read about NPDES permit exemptions on this page

"There are highly consequential exemptions listed in Section 402(l) of the Clean Water Act for point source pollution that is not subject to regulation. These include agricultural “return flows” and stormwater runoff from oil, gas, and mining operations.

Agricultural return flows are essentially runoff from irrigation, and could reasonably considered point source pollution, but they explicitly are not. Agricultural runoff is often a primary contributor of excess nitrogen and phosphorus, also called “nutrient pollution,” which can be devastating for ecosystems. Nutrient pollution stimulates algal blooms, which can rapidly decrease dissolved oxygen in the water as oxygen is consumed by decaying algae, resulting in oxygen-starved eutrophic waters that cannot support a lot of aquatic life. Fish kills are generally the result of nutrient pollution.

Stormwater runoff from oil, gas, and mining operations is poignantly exempted from NPDES regulation as well. These sites can contribute significant amounts of colloidal and suspended solids (TSS), and also can be a source of oil, heavy metals, sulfates, and synthetic pollutants used in operation."

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Just to clarify, #NPDES is the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System

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Some other things -- certain types of industries can ask for an exemption from this permit if they claim they have zero stormwater pollution exposure. See

Wondered about that. The main plant Had a storm sewer. One of the small satellite plants had something labelled a storm sewer. But, when the sample was pulled, nasty things like toilet paper had to be pulled off the probe. The environmental engineer always said it was legit when asked.

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