EPA has published a new technical guidance that will help integrate National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits into watershed management plans. "Watershed-Based NPDES Permitting Technical Guidance" is a follow up to the 2003 implementation guidance and leads permitting interested parties through the analysis of watershed data and developing a framework for implementing an NPDES program.

The guidance supports approaches to permitting that may help target the watershed's most pressing environmental needs. The approaches will help achieve water quality-based effluent limitations based on water quality standards while providing opportunities for cost reductions and improved efficiencies such as water quality trading. The guidance includes case studies describing how watershed approaches involving NPDES permitting have been implemented across the country.

The agency is accepting comments on the guidance on a continuing basis. To read a copy of the guidance document go to: http://www.epa.gov/npdes/watersheds

EPA press release