Massachusetts Wastewater Variances: What you need to know

Governing Law and Regulations

Massachusetts Clean Waters Act: Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 21, Sections 26 to 53

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Massachusetts surface water discharge permit rules: 314 Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR) 3.01 to 3.19

Variance requests: 314 CMR 3.10

Thermal discharge variances: 314 CMR 3.12

Regulatory Agencies

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Bureau of Resource Protection Watershed Management Division

DEP Bureau of Waste Prevention

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 1

See ADDRESSES & CONTACTS for addresses and telephone numbers.

See national section for basic information and federal regulations.

Comparison: State vs. Federal

Rules. Wastewater discharges in Massachusetts are subject to both federal and state permit requirements. Applications for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits are submitted to and approved by both EPA and DEP. See the state section NPDES PERMIT for more information.

Any NPDES permit applicant may request a variance from an effluent limitation or a thermal component of any discharge under certain circumstances. Massachusetts has adopted the federal requirements for the fundamental different factors (FDF) variance. However, Massachusetts has additional rules for thermal discharge variances, including screening and consultation requirements. See the national section WASTEWATER VARIANCES for more information on wastewater variances.

Administration and enforcement. EPA and DEP share responsibility for the administration and enforcement of the state's NPDES permit program and any variances processed under the program.

State Requirements


314 CMR 3.10

DEP accepts variance requests from publicly owned ...

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State Requirements

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Massachusetts Wastewater Variances Resources

Wastewater Variances Products

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