The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of a pollutant from a point source into a “water of the United States” without a permit.

The federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program was created in 1972 to issue discharge permits. The permits detail discharge limits for specific pollutants, monitoring and reporting requirements, as well as other provisions to protect water quality and human health. NPDES permits are issued by the EPA or authorized states.

Aerial view of the Merrimack River with a bridge crossing it.
Aerial view of the Merrimack River, Tyngsboro, Massachusetts

NEIWPCC monitors NPDES policy issues on behalf of our member states and writes comment letters to the EPA and Congress as needed. NEIWPCC also facilitates communication and information exchange between state employees who are responsible for the permit system and the EPA.

NPDES Workgroup

NEIWPCC’s NPDES Workgroup fosters interstate communication on issues about discharge permits for wastewater treatment facilities. Additional topics of interest include electronic reporting, climate adaptation planning, environmental justice, and per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Workgroup members include NEIWPCC and EPA staff and the NPDES coordinators from each of our member states’ environmental agencies.

For more information, please contact James Plummer, NPDES workgroup coordinator, at 978-349-2520 or