Skip to main content

The Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act (H.R. 1497) approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on October 29 would allow states to extend the term of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits issued to municipal dischargers from five to as long as ten years, in some circumstances.

The NPEDS provision in H.R. 1497 is based upon H.R. 1764, which was introduced earlier this year. AMWA withheld its support for that legislation over concerns that longer terms could impede the ability of drinking water systems to review permit applications for discharges into their watersheds. But the version of the bill advanced as part of H.R. 1497 includes new language intended to push states to review expiring NPDES permits in a timely manner, as well as requiring states or EPA to revisit permits within 60 days of a “triggering event” that could lead to the contamination of a public water supply with a pollutant in the permitted discharge. These new provisions would ensure that extended permits can be modified before the conclusion of their ten-year term – addressing AMWA’s key concern.

The NPDES reforms will go before the full House along with the rest of H.R. 1497 and will be in the discussion for inclusion in the Water Resources Development Act reauthorization anticipated for 2020.