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Discharge Permits for Businesses
Why are NPDES Permits Required?
In 1972, the Federal Clean Water Pollution Control Act (the Clean Water Act) was amended to prohibit the discharge of pollutants to waters of the United States from any point source, unless the discharge is in compliance with a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit.  In 1987, A Clean Water Act amendment prohibited non-stormwater water discharges into storm drains and required that owners and operators of storm drain systems secure an NPDES Permit.  As a result, certain businesses must obtain an NPDES Permit.

Who Permits and Enforces NPDES Permits?
The California Water Resources Control Board and the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board issues and enforces these permits. Failure to obtain a permit could result in penalties of $27,500 per day per violation and jail time.

For more information, please contact the California Water Resources Control Board at (916) 341-5538 or visit: California Water Boards.

What is an NPDES Permit?
An NPDES Permit regulates discharges to receiving waters such as oceans, rivers, lakes, streams, and bays.  The State and Regional Water Board do monitor businesses for compliance.

Who Needs an NPDES Permit?
The following businesses need a discharge permit:
  • Wholesale trade/recycling
  • Auto repair/parking
  • Motor freight
  • Chemical/allied products
  • Auto dealers/gas stations
  • Food service facilities/restaurants
  • Primary metals products
  • Fabricated metal products
  • Hazardous waste treatment
  • Landfills/open dumps
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Transportation
  • Steam electric power generation facilities
  • Facilities subject to a General Industrial Stormwater Permit