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Issue No. 24, Article 4/November 4, 2011

National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Permits

The following article was written by Kevin Runkle and Jean Payne of the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to publish it in the Bulletin.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and Illinois EPA (IEPA) issued an NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) General Permit for pesticide point source discharges on October 31, 2011, effective as of that date. An NPDES permit is required for operators who discharge biological or chemical pesticides that leave a residue to waters of the state or at water's edge. An operator is defined as an entity with control over finances or the decision to perform pesticide applications. The NPDES permit also defines an operator as the one performing the application of pesticides with day-to-day operational control of the activities.

Types of activities that will require an NPDES permit include the following, where pesticides that leave a residue are applied to waters of the State or at the water's edge:

  • mosquito and other insect pest control
  • weed and algae control
  • aquatic nuisance animal control
  • forested areas pest control
  • other pesticide uses

To comply with the NPDES requirements, a Notice of Intent (NOI) application must be submitted to IEPA at least 14 days prior to discharge. Unless notified by IEPA to submit additional information, operators who submit a NOI in accordance with the requirements of the permit are authorized to discharge under the terms and conditions of the permit 30 days after the date the NOI is received by IEPA. Operators who exceed an annual threshold treatment area of 6,400 acres, 80 acres over waters of the State, or 20 linear miles of treatment area at water's edge must also submit a Pesticide Discharge Management Plan (PDMP). Operators must retain a copy of the PDMP.

A PDMP is not required for NOI applications made in response to declared pest emergency situations or for permittees who meet the definition of a small entity.

In short, as long as you are not applying pesticides that leave a residue over waters of the State or at the water's edge, then you do not need to comply with the NPDES requirements. If your pesticide applicator license has a Mosquito, Forestry, Rights of Way, or Aquatic category, there is a good chance you may need to submit a NOI per NPDES requirements prior to applying pesticides. Please contact Kevin Runkle or Jean Payne at the Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (309-827-2774) if you have any questions regarding the permit requirements.

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