Texas NPDES regulations & environmental compliance analysis

Texas NPDES: What you need to know

Governing Law and Regulations

Permit issuance: Texas Water Code (TWC) 26.027

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Surface water quality standards: 30 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) 307.1 to 307.10

Toxic pollutant effluent standards: 30 TAC 314.1

Crude oil and gas activities: TWC 26.131

Criteria and standards for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program: 30 TAC 308.1 to 308.141

Permitting procedures and requirements: 30 TAC 305

Applicability: TWC 26.001 and 30 TAC 305.1

Individual permits: 30 TAC 305.127

General permits:

Applications: 30 TAC 305.45 and 30 TAC 305.48

Regulatory Agencies

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Office of Water Water Quality Division

Railroad Commission of Texas (RRCT)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 6

See national section for basic information and federal regulations.

Comparison: State vs. Federal

Rules. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's (TCEQ) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program has federal regulatory authority over discharges of pollutants to Texas surface water, with the exception of discharges associated with oil, gas, and geothermal exploration and development activities, which are regulated by the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRCT). Texas refers to its NPDES program as the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) program.

The state requirements are similar to those for a federal permit. However, Texas also requires maps and a detailed technical report as part of the state's application process. The state also has a fee structure and permit modification rules. A temporary variance for a TPDES permit requires review and approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the permitting process.

Additionally, the TPDES program regulates the discharge of pollutants from any point source to waters in the state, which include both surface water and groundwater. However, because the federal NPDES program only delegates regulatory authority over discharges to surface water pursuant to the Clean Water Act (CWA), Texas requires entities intending to discharge to groundwater to apply for an individual, state-only permit issued under the authority of the Texas Water Code. Some discharges to groundwater may also require an Underground Injection Control (UIC) permit. See the state section


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