What is NPDES?
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program was created in 1972 by the Clean Water Act which prohibits anybody from discharging pollutants through a point source into a water of the United States unless they are regulated by a permit. Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oversees the program, the State of Maryland obtained approval from the EPA to issue these permits beginning in 1974. The State’s program is implemented as part of the Sediment, Stormwater, and Dam Safety Program through the Maryland Department of the Environment Water and Science Administration. This permit program expanded in 1990 to include discharges from non-point sources for which permitting authority was taken over by MDE in 1993.