Idaho Pollutant Discharge Elimination System: Program Application
On August 31, 2016, DEQ submitted to EPA for review a program application petitioning for the authority to become the discharge permitting authority in Idaho. The application consisted of six main components:
- A letter from the governor requesting approval of the state’s application;
- A program description that describes how the state will issue IPDES permits, ensure compliance with permit conditions, conduct enforcement, as well as fund and manage the program including programmatic information and data.
- A memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the state and EPA which establishes, in part, timeframes for a phased approach for the state to assume authority.
- A statement from the attorney general’s office confirming that the state’s laws and regulations provide sufficient authority to the state to implement the discharge, pretreatment, and biosolids components of the NPDES program.
- Copies of all pertinent statutes and regulations, which the state adopted to ensure the necessary authority for implementing the IPDES program, including HB 406 directing DEQ to pursue permitting authority.
- A document detailing Idaho DEQ’s continuing planning process.
Steps Toward Delegated Permitting Authority
To receive delegated authority in the NPDES permitting program from EPA, DEQ completed the following:
Develop a funding strategy — DEQ developed a funding strategy during the negotiated rulemaking for IDAPA 58.01.25. The IPDES Program Analysis evaluated the staffing and resource needs necessary to implement this program.
Demonstrate the capability of delivering the NPDES program — Hire and train staff so the agency is capable of program delivery. Expertise needed includes program administration, permit preparation, permit enforcement, data management, fiscal office support, and attorney general legal support.
Prepare and develop IPDES rules for Idaho — Rules must not be more stringent than EPA’s, but to receive primacy, Idaho’s rules may not be less stringent either. Rulemaking was conducted from December 2014 through July 2015. The Idaho Board of Environmental Quality reviewed and adopted the rules as presented on November 18, 2015. This rule chapter was approved during the 2016 legislative session and became effective March 24, 2016. Learn more.
Prepare guidance documents — Determine water quality-based effluent limits, reasonable potential-to-exceed determinations, mixing zones, and other program implementation documents not included in the rules. Learn more.
Revise existing Idaho Code as needed — DEQ is planning to seek legislative approval of the DEQ-EPA memorandum of agreement (MOA) during the 2018 legislative session. The potential exists that additional statutory changes may be needed to Idaho Code as the IDPES application package is reviewed.
Implement 4-year sector-specific IPDES program phase-in — DEQ anticipates that IPDES phase-in will start with municipal permits and progress annually through industrial permits, general permits, and conclude with storm water and biosolids components.
Anticipated Application Review Process
Once submitted, EPA has 30 days to review Idaho’s application for completeness. DEQ and EPA will then enter into a statutory review period (length to be determined by negotiation). During the statutory review period EPA will review the contents of Idaho’s application, provide comments regarding any additional clarifying information, enter into consultation with interested tribes, hold a public hearing, provide a public comment period, and finally decide to approve or disapprove DEQ’s application.
Approximate time frames for these steps are:
|Proposed Date||Action Item|
|September 1 – 30, 2016||EPA completeness review|
|September 30, 2016||DEQ submits memorandum requesting an 17-month statutory review period|
|September 2016 - June 2017||Program submittal review by EPA|
|June 2017 - May 2018||EPA process for review, tribal consultation, public process and responsiveness summary|
|January 8, 2018||DEQ submits MOA to Idaho Legislature for approval|
|March - April 2018||Idaho Legislature approves MOA|
|May 2018||EPA and DEQ sign MOA|
|June 2018||EPA provides approval letter to DEQ for IPDES phased implementation|