The Water Permits Branch is responsible for issuing permits assigned with pollution limits and conditions to protect water quality. Permits are issued as either Discharge or No-Discharge permits.
Discharge permits are also called National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. The NPDES permit program is authorized by the federal Clean Water Act. Other permits are authorized through state and federal laws. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has delegated authority to DEQ to manage the state NPDES permit program. NPDES permits are required for facilities that release treated waste into waters of the state (creeks, streams, rivers or lakes). The NPDES program manages wastewater, construction, stormwater, and pretreatment.
No-discharge permits are authorized under the Arkansas Water and Air Pollution Control Act (Ark. Code Ann. §8-4-101 et. seq.) These permits are issued for activities that are prohibited from resulting in a waste being discharged to waters of the state. This is accomplished by operational controls to prevent a discharge, land application, or sub-surface injection (underground injection control).
Types of Permits
In both the discharge and no-discharge permit programs, permits are developed as either individual or general.
An individual permit is developed for a specific facility and contains unique permit conditions and limits.
Find notices of a specific individual permit:
- Applications for all new individual permits and some modified or renewed permits are declared administratively complete by public notice and are available for review and comment for at least 10 days. During this time anyone, including the permittee, may request a public hearing to present comments to DEQ.
- Additionally, the following agencies are notified: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, the Arkansas Health Department, the Arkansas Department of Heritage, and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
- DEQ’s technical review of an individual permit application takes approximately 90 days, and the EPA’s
mandatory review of some NPDES permits takes 30 days. Following the review, DEQ develops a draft permit
and announces in a public notice that the draft is available for at least a 30-day comment period. Again,
anyone, including the permittee, may offer comments.
- During this time anyone may request a public hearing to allow those in attendance to present comments regarding the draft permit. If a public hearing is requested and approved, a 30-day comment period precedes the public hearing.
- Following the comment period, DEQ will prepare a response to all comments and will issue a final permit decision.
- If permit conditions are changed significantly in response to comments, the permit may be placed on public notice for another 30-day period with the opportunity for a public hearing.
- When DEQ issues a final permit decision, the permittee and anyone who provided comments may appeal the decision within 30 days of issuance.
- If there is no appeal, the permit becomes effective 30 days after the final decision is issued.
A general permit is developed to cover multiple facilities that have similar permit conditions and limits. Coverage under general permits involves less paperwork for the applicant.
Some general permits require public notices or public review. Find notices of a specific general permit:
General Permit NOI Submittals
- • In most cases an applicant seeks coverage under general permits by submitting a permit fee and specific forms to DEQ.
- The Notice of Intent to seek coverage under one general permit, ARG59000, requires formal public notice.
- DEQ provides an opportunity to review NOIs for other general permits on its website.
- List of General Stormwater NPDES Permits
- List of General Non-Stormwater NPDES Permits
- List of General No-Discharge Permits
Most General NPDES Permits and General No-Discharge Permits may be completed and submitted online through the DEQ ePortal site.
Do your permitting online
See which NOIs may be submitted electronically.
- Select Organization. A drop-down menu will appear.
- Scroll to Water and select General NPDES Permits or No-Discharge Permits to find form selections.
- Before using ePortal, register online then download and complete the DEQ Electronic Signature Agreement form and mail it to the Electronic Signature Agreement Committee, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, 5301 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock, AR 72118.
Why use ePortal?
The DEQ ePortal system has all the conveniences of online submission while also allowing you to track your submission’s progress.
The NPDES program relies heavily on self-monitoring and self-reporting by the permittee to determine compliance with effluent limits. Beginning December 21, 2016, Arkansas National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permittees are required to submit discharge monitoring reports (DMRs) electronically using the web-based tool NetDMR. DEQ offers weekly classes to help you get acquainted with NetDMR. The classes are free but, pre-registration is required.
Enforcement analysts work closely with both representatives of permitted facilities and the public on a daily basis to keep the waters of Arkansas clean and safe for everyone to enjoy. Inspectors make unannounced visits to determine compliance at permitted facilities. If a permitted facility is out of compliance with federal or state laws, it may be subject to an enforcement action.