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Accessing Individual NPDES Permits and Fact Sheets through Envirofacts

Envirofacts is an on-line access point to many EPA data systems, including EPA's Permit Compliance System (PCS). PCS is EPA's national database of information about NPDES permits.

Online Permit Documents

EPA has recently started adding PDF copies of NPDES permits and fact sheets for major facilities to Envirofacts. These permit documents are available for most major facilities with individual permits issued after November 1, 2002. More documents will become available as major permits are issued or reissued. By November 2007, permits and fact sheets should be available for nearly all major facilities. The query descriptions below provide instructions for accessing NPDES permits and fact sheets through Envirofacts.

(PCS includes records for nearly 100,000 permits. You can use Envirofacts to find summary information about any of these permits. As of March 2004, 1200 permits and over 900 fact sheets have been scanned and are available for download. Since the vast majority of records in PCS are for minor facilities, your chances of finding permit documents will be greatly increased if you restrict your search to major facilities. Searching only for permits that have been issued/reissued since November 1, 2002 will further narrow your search. Instructions for specifying these restrictions for both types of queries are included below.)

Several states that are authorized to implement the NPDES program also post permits on their websites. For more information, see the list at the bottom of this page.

Water Discharge Permits Query

Use a Water Discharge Permits Query to search for facilities using simple search criteria. This query will return a table containing basic information about facilities matching the criteria you entered, including the facility name, address, and basic permit information. The table also contains links to additional information about each facility.

To access permit documents through a Water Discharge Permits Query:

  1. Query Form: Enter search criteria for one or more of the following category(ies):
    • Facility name or permit number
    • Address, City, State, Zip Code and/or EPA region
    • Standard Industrial Classification (SIC code)
    • Parameter (chemical) names or codes
    • Permit issuance or expiration dates

    (To restrict your search to facilities with the best chance of having permit documents available, use the Permit Issued Date Search and Major Dischargers Only checkbox, both near the bottom of the page. In the Permit Issued Date Search, enter 11, 01, 2002 in the first set of three boxes and a later date (such as today's date) in the same format in the second set of boxes. Check the box next to Major Dischargers only to exclude minor facilities from your search.)

  2. Query Results: In the Facility Information Table, click on a facility's permit number in the "NPDES ID" column.
  3. Detailed Reports (selection page): Under Facility Information, make sure the box next to "Permit Documents" is checked and click the Search button. (PCS returns all reports by default. Uncheck the box for any report you do not want to see.)
  4. Detailed Reports (results page): If the permit and/or fact sheet is available, you will find a link to the PDF file in the "Permit Documents" section of the detailed report. If you selected the Facility Information report on the previous screen, you will need to scroll down to find the Permit Documents. If no permit documents are found, the report will indicate "No Permit Documents Found."

PCS Customized Query

A PCS customized query allows you to use more specific search criteria based on a wider range of PCS data elements and provides more flexibility in displaying and downloading information. In addition to permit documents, the customized query engine provides access to detailed information including effluent limits for each discharge point, compliance schedules and inspection information, permit violations, and enforcement information. The steps below explain how to use the customized query engine to find scanned copies of NPDES permits and fact sheets. Consult the Customized Query Engine User's Guide for instructions on accessing other types of permit information.

To access permit documents using the PCS Customized Query Engine:

  1. Step 1, Select a Subject: Click on the "Facility Information" subject. On the next screen, click on the button to go to Step 2 (Retrieve Tables for Selected Subjects)..
  2. Step 2, Select Tables: Check the "v_pcs_permit_facility" table and click on the button to go to Step 3 (Select Columns).
  3. Step 3, Selection of Columns: Check the "NPDES Permit Doc" and/or "NPDES Fact Sheet Doc" row (about a third of the way from the top of the table), as well as any other criteria you wish to use for your search. It is useful to select the NPDES permit number (first row in the table) or other identifying information, such as Name 1, to help you narrow your search and to more easily find the information you are interested in. In order to restrict your search to permits issued after November 1, 2002, you will need to include the "Permit Issued Date" row (located directly above "NPDES Permit Doc") in your search. Click on the button to go to Step 4 (Enter Search Criteria).
  4. Step 4, Enter Search Criteria and Organize the Output: Enter your search criteria and click "Search Database." To restrict your search to major facilities, check the box next to "Major Dischargers Only," near the top of the page. To find only permits issued after November 1, 2002, use the "Permit Issued Date" row in the table at the bottom of the page. From the drop-down box under "Operator Definition," choose "Starting From." Then enter Nov-01-2002 in the box under "Search Value."
  5. In the query results table, the "NPDES Permit Doc" and/or "NPDES Fact Sheet Doc" column will contain links to any available PDF files.
  6. If you would like to import your findings into a spreadsheet or database, you can choose "Output to a CSV File." From the "Query Results" page, click on the underlined filename: xxxxxxxxx.CSV to download the file.

States That Also Post Permits

A number of states also post documents for individual permits online, including permits for minor facilities. The following links are to the state or EPA Region web pages where these documents are posted.

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Last updated on February 19, 2014 10:12 AM