- Benefits of Electronic Reporting
- Electronic Reporting Tools
- Electronic Reporting Schedule
- Phase 2 Implementation Plan
- Final Rule Documents
- eRule National Webinar
- Phase 2 Extension
EPA published the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Electronic Reporting Rule on October 22, 2015. This rule is modernizing Clean Water Act (CWA) reporting for municipalities, industries and other facilities. The rule replaces most paper-based NPDES reporting requirements with electronic reporting.
Specifically, the rule requires regulated entities to report information electronically, instead of filing written paper reports. These reports include:
- Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs)
- Notices of Intent to discharge in compliance with a general permit
- Other specified program reports.
The rule also requires states and other regulatory authorities to share data electronically with EPA. The data that these regulatory authorities will share with EPA includes permit, compliance monitoring (e.g., inspection), violation determination, and enforcement action data.
The rule also requires the U.S. EPA to assess the progress each authorized state is making in implementing NPDES electronic reporting and to repeat these assessments annually. EPA is using the following two dashboards to conduct these assessments:
UPDATE: On September 23, 2020, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed the NPDES eRule Phase 2 Extension final rule which would provide states and EPA additional time to implement electronic reporting for certain Clean Water Act discharge permitting requirements. In this final rule, EPA extended the compliance deadline for implementation of Phase 2 of the eRule by five years, from December 21, 2020 to December 21, 2025.
Benefits of Electronic Reporting
The NPDES Electronic Reporting Rule moves EPA and states into the 21st Century by:
- providing EPA and states the ability to strategically address the most serious water pollution problems while using limited resources efficiently
- supporting the goal of providing better protection of the nation’s waters
- enhancing transparency by providing a timelier, complete, more accurate, and nationally-consistent set of data about the NPDES program
- saving time and resources for permittees, states, tribes, territories, and the U.S. Government
- expanding EPA's efforts to provide more data to the public
- taking advantage of advances in information technology
- supporting the EPA-wide effort to move from paper to electronic reporting
- increasing data accuracy
- improving compliance
Data reported electronically will be made available to the public via the Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) system. ECHO enables public searches for facilities in local communities to assess their compliance with environmental regulations. It can also help investigate pollution sources, examine and create enforcement-related maps, or explore states' performance.
Electronic Reporting Tools
Regulated entities and state and federal regulators will use existing, available information technology to submit, share, and manage the required data. EPA is working with states, tribes, territories, and software vendors to develop and have in place all of the necessary electronic reporting tools. Recognizing that many states, tribes, and territories have their own electronic data systems and reporting tools for managing NPDES data, the electronic reporting rule provides flexibility on the specific data systems and reporting tools to be used.
EPA has developed electronic reporting tools for NPDES data and is making them available to states. EPA’s tools are web-based and require only a computer, an Internet browser (e.g., Microsoft Internet Explorer), and access to the Internet (i.e., DSL, fiber optic). These tools communicate securely, requiring passwords and known responses to security questions. They are designed to provide electronic submittals with the same level of legal dependability as paper submittals. States have the option of using EPA’s tools directly, installing and hosting their own version of EPA’s tools, or developing their own tools. Information on EPA’s electronic reporting tools is provided below:
- Network Discharge Monitoring Report (NetDMR): A nationally-available electronic reporting tool, initially designed by states and later adapted for national use by EPA in 2009, which can be used by NPDES-regulated facilities to submit DMRs electronically to EPA through a secure Internet application over the National Environmental Information Exchange Network.
- NPDES eReporting Tool (NeT): NeT is a tool developed by EPA in 2012 to facilitate electronic submittal of data by the regulated community directly to EPA and its partners. It uses "open-source" software and can support diverse form and data submission formats.
Electronic Reporting Schedule
EPA is phasing in the reporting requirements of the rule. The two phases of the rule, and their key milestones, are:
- Phase 1 – Starting on December 21, 2016:
- regulated entities that currently submit DMRs must begin to submit these reports electronically, instead of on paper.
- regulated entities in the 42 states where EPA implements the Federal Biosolids Program must begin submitting these reports electronically
- states and other regulatory authorities will begin sharing their compliance monitoring (e.g., inspection), violation determination, and enforcement action data electronically
- regulatory authorities will submit an implementation plan for meeting the Phase 2 data requirements for EPA to review.
- Phase 2 – Starting on December 21, 2020, regulated entities that currently submit certain other NPDES reports will begin submitting these reports electronically, instead of on paper. Reports covered in the second phase include Notices of Intent to discharge in compliance with an NPDES general permit, Biosolids/Sewage Sludge Annual Program Reports submitted to state governments, and a number of other NPDES program reports.
UPDATE: On January 31, 2020, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed the "NPDES eRule Phase 2 Extension" proposed rule which would provide states and EPA additional time to implement electronic reporting for certain Clean Water Act discharge permitting requirements. In this notice, EPA proposes extending the compliance deadline for implementation of Phase 2 of the eRule by three years, from December 21, 2020 to December 21, 2023.
Phase 2 Implementation Plan
On October 22, 2015, EPA published the final National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Electronic Reporting Rule. This regulation requires the electronic reporting and sharing of Clean Water Act NPDES program information instead of the current paper-based reporting of this information.
The NPDES Electronic Reporting Rule allows states to determine what electronic reporting tools and systems work best for them and whether they would like to be the initial recipient of NPDES compliance monitoring data. EPA does not dictate the electronic reporting tools that a state may use. Rather, EPA sets performance requirements for states that wish to build their own electronic reporting tools. States also have the option of using and, if desired, customizing electronic reporting tools developed and maintained by EPA. A state, tribe, or territory that is designated by EPA as the initial recipient for an NPDES data group must submit an implementation plan to EPA for review to ensure that the authorized NPDES program will meet the Phase 2 electronic reporting deadline. This plan must provide enough details (e.g., tasks, milestones, roles and responsibilities, necessary resources) to clearly describe how the program will successfully implement electronic reporting of Phase 2 data. This plan does not include electronic reporting of Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs).
Final Rule Documents
- Press Release
- Fact Sheet
- Federal Register Notice of Final Rule
- Economic Analysis for the NPDES Electronic Reporting Rule
- Docket of public comments and supporting documents at regulations.gov
- User Guide to the Docket for the NPDES Electronic Reporting Rule
eRule National Webinar
The following links exit the site Exit
- November 2, 2016:
- November 9, 2016:
- March 26, 2019:
Phase 2 Extension
On September 23, 2020, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed the final "Phase 2 Extension Rule," which provides states and EPA additional time to implement electronic reporting for certain Clean Water Act discharge permitting requirements. In this final rule, EPA is extending the compliance deadline for implementation of Phase 2 of the eRule by five years from December 21, 2020, to December 21, 2025. This final rule also provides states with additional flexibility to request additional time as needed. Further, this final rule promulgates clarifying changes to the NPDES eRule and eliminates some duplicative or outdated reporting requirements. Taken together, these changes are designed to save the NPDES authorized programs considerable resources, make reporting easier for NPDES-regulated entities, streamline permit renewals, ensure full exchange of NPDES program data between states and EPA, enhance public transparency, improve environmental decision-making, and protect human health and the environment.
On January 31, 2020, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed the proposed "Phase 2 Extension Rule," which would provide states and EPA additional time to implement electronic reporting for certain Clean Water Act discharge permitting requirements. In this notice, EPA proposes extending the compliance deadline for implementation of Phase 2 of the eRule by three years from December 21, 2020, to December 21, 2023.
- Proposal Fact Sheet
- Federal Register Notice of Extension Rule
- User Guide to the Online Docket for the NPDES Electronic Reporting Rule – Phase 2 Extension (Proposed Rule)