Water Dashboard Help

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Overview

The State Water Dashboard provides an overview of Clean Water Act (CWA) regulatory oversight activities of authorized agencies and EPA. The dashboards provide an easy-to-use summary of key activities to answer questions like: which facilities are regulated, how many have been inspected, how many have alleged violations, and how many enforcement actions have been taken.


Data Sources

The data source for the State Water Dashboard is EPA's Clean Water Act data program system, Integrated Compliance Information System National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (ICIS-NPDES), which contains permit information, limits related to discharges and operations, and discharge monitoring data for facilities managed under the CWA NPDES program. Data are refreshed weekly and subject to change as the data system is updated.

Data for the current federal fiscal year and nine previous federal fiscal years are presented to show multi-year trends. The federal fiscal year is from October 1 to September 30.

About the Data and Assessing State Performance

State performance is a complex and difficult matter to analyze and explain. Data alone cannot provide a complete picture of performance. Many states have issues with data completeness and accuracy, and without investigation and program knowledge, data can be misleading or misinterpreted. Often, there is important context around data that must be taken into account to provide an accurate picture. For example, not all activities and violations may be reported, some states are not authorized to run programs, current year data may still be in the process of being reported, and states may have alternative inspection plans. EPA uses data, like the information here, as a starting point for assessing state performance, but not as the sole measure of performance. More in-depth program reviews (see State Review Framework Reports) are used to identify needed state program improvements. While file reviews and management discussions can add to our understanding, the many layers of context and information make it difficult to portray performance in a consistent and transparent way.

Caveats

Activities and Violations
Data shown in the State Dashboards are based on data reported to EPA and may not reflect all compliance monitoring/inspections, enforcement, or the full extent of noncompliance within a state. State environmental agencies may have more information on activities and noncompliance within their state on their agency websites. Links to state agency websites can be found on the Health and Environmental Agencies of U.S. States and Territories page. Activities for terminated permits are not included in the dashboard.
Data from 2011 and 2012 in the following states may be incomplete: Arizona, Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Jersey, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Permits from these years were incomplete or missing and were not brought into ICIS from the legacy data system, Permit Compliance System (PCS).
New Jersey CWA
Please note that New Jersey was not supplying EPA with data about its Clean Water Act discharge program, as it did not convert to the current program data system (ICIS-NPDES) until March 2018. EPA copied New Jersey's data from the old data system on November 29, 2012. This allowed users to see the list of regulated facilities and associated historical activities; however, subsequent state activities were not being reported until recently.
Authorization
Some states/territories do not have authorization/delegation to enforce any or all regulations implemented under the Clean Water Act. In these instances, when State is selected as the Lead Agency, it may appear that no activity was conducted. Activity in these states/territories may be displayed when EPA is selected as the permitting or lead Agency.
States, tribes, and territories may be authorized by EPA to administer the NPDES program. A state may receive authorization for one or more of the NPDES Program components (e.g., NPDES Base Program for municipal and industrial facilities, Federal Facilities, General Permitting, Pretreatment Program, and Biosolids.) For example, if the state had not received authorization for federal facilities, EPA would continue to issue permits to federal facilities (e.g., military bases, national parks, federal lands, etc.). For more information about state authorization, please visit the NPDES State Program Information page.
Current Year
The most recent federal fiscal year may not show a complete dataset because the year is not completed.

Additional data caveats are explained on the ECHO Known Data Problems page.


Using the Dashboard

Chart Functionality

The dashboard is organized in a structure logical for the scope and activities of federal compliance and enforcement programs. To learn more about these programs, visit EPA's Basic Information on Enforcement page. 

There are six chart types, described in the chart types section below. Select the pulldown menu at the top of each chart to see a list of available chart metric views. 

For the best user experience with the dashboard, we recommend setting the browser zoom level between 80 and 90%. If you are having trouble viewing parts of the dashboard, you can try experimenting with this zoom level.
Expand any chart to full screen by clicking the crossed arrows iconExpand iconat the top right of the chart. 

Download the underlying data from each chart view in Excel format by selecting the download arrow iconDownload iconat the top right of the chart. 

View underlying data for any chart by selecting "Details" from the pulldown menu to display a preview table of the selected data. Note that this table preview is interactive; each data field can be sorted and filtered. We suggest expanding this view to full screen to best view the data table. Also note that the table can be slower to load than the charts.

Filters

The dashboard defaults to show nationwide activity and performance metrics for the most recent ten federal fiscal years. Six filters are available at the top of the dashboard, which allow users to create many possible customizations of the charts.

Click on any of the filters to see the list of values. Note that after selecting a filter, a search bar will appear that allows users to search for their value of interest. Multiple values may be selected by clicking on multiple selection options. Current selections will be highlighted in green. The charts dynamically update as the user selects value(s) from the dropdown list.

Confirm selection iconFilter selection changes will be saved either by clicking away from the filter dropdown or by clicking the green Confirm Selection button.

Cancel iconIf a user selects or de-selects filter options but does not want to save the changes, they can be canceled by clicking the red Cancel Selection button.

Note that the Cancel Selections button does not clear filter selections. An individual filter can be cleared of all selections by clicking the Clear Selections Clear selections iconbutton to the left in the filter dropdown. There is also a Clear All Selections button at the top left of the dashboard page. 

Additionally, the dashboard charts are interactive; users can click directly on a portion of the chart (e.g., the bars on the chart or items in the chart legend) to change/add filters.

Current filter selections will appear as tabs at the top of the screen, above the page title. Clicking on the "x" button on the filter tab will remove the filter.

Filters available on the State Water Dashboard include:

Permitting State
Filter the dashboard data by the state the facility is permitted in. This corresponds to the first two characters of the NPDES ID.
EPA Region
Filter the dashboard data by EPA Region corresponding to the permitting state.
Facility Type
Filter the dashboard by Major or Non-Major facilities.
Permit Type
Filter the dashboard data by Permit Type (General or Individual).
Permitting Agency
Filter the dashboard data by permitting agency, i.e., EPA, State or Unpermitted. Selecting "State" includes states, tribes, and territories authorized to administer the NPDES program
The option of choosing "Permitting Agency" is provided because EPA may be responsible for NPDES permitting at some facilities located within a state, territory, or tribe. Selections here will filter results to all facilities permitted by the selected agency, regardless of whether a different agency has taken any compliance or enforcement action against that facility.
Lead Agency
Filter the dashboard data by lead agency, i.e., EPA or State. Note that the lead agency refers to the agency that led the compliance or enforcement action, which is not necessarily the permitting agency.
  • For Compliance Monitoring Activities, this refers to the agency that inspected the facility.
  • For Significant or Category I Noncompliance (SNC), this refers to the agency that detected SNC.
  • For Enforcement Actions and Penalties, this refers to the agency that issued the enforcement action.
Selections here will filter results to facilities which have been subject to any compliance or enforcement action from the agency selected, regardless of which agency permitted the facility. Selecting "State" includes actions by authorized states, tribes, and territories. 
Federal Facility
Filter the dashboard data by Federal Facilities (Yes/No). A “Yes” indicates that the facility is owned or operated by the U.S. Federal Government, based on data available in ICIS-NPDES.
Tribe Name
Filter the dashboard data by a specific tribe name. The association of a facility to a tribe is based on comparing the best available spatial location of the facility to the U.S. Census Bureau’s tribal boundary layer. Some tribal areas may overlap, so a facility may be associated with more than one tribe. This is a geographic distinction and is not based on the permitting agency for the facility. To select all tribe names, use the three dot selection option and choose "Select all" from the dropdown menu.

Dashboard Chart Types

The following describes the charts available within each of the six sections of the Water Dashboard.

Facilities

This section displays information about facilities regulated under the Clean Water Act. Under the Clean Water Act (CWA) all facilities that discharge pollutants from any point source (e.g., pipe, ditch, and channel) into waters of the United States are required to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. EPA administers the NPDES program in conjunction with authorized states and other agencies.

Most states currently have authorized NPDES programs and perform many of the permitting, administrative, and enforcement aspects of the NPDES Program. To be authorized, a state must have statutes that are as stringent as Federal laws. In these authorized states, EPA still retains oversight responsibilities. EPA works closely with states and other agencies that have been authorized to carry out Federal compliance enforcement programs. EPA and the states plan and set priorities together and pursue joint enforcement activities when appropriate. In most cases, EPA administers the NPDES program in Indian Country. Navajo Nation has an authorized NPDES program.

Note: the Facilities pie chart reflects the most recent year of all selected data. 

NPDES Facility and Permit Type

In administration and oversight of the CWA NPDES wastewater discharge permit program, EPA classifies permit holders as either "major" or "non-major" dischargers. NPDES permitting authorities classify "major" facilities based on considerations such as toxic pollutant potential, ratio of discharge flow/stream flow volume, conventional pollutant loading, public health impact, water quality factors, and proximity to coastal waters. For example, EPA identifies municipal wastewater treatment plants that discharge 1 million gallons per day or more as major dischargers. All dischargers that do not meet the definition of "major" are referred to as "non-majors."

A National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) individual permit is written to reflect site-specific conditions of a single discharger (or in rare instances to multiple co-permittees) based on information submitted by that discharger in a permit application and is unique to that discharger. Individual permits are issued directly to an individual discharger.

Additionally, EPA and authorized agencies issue general permits to cover multiple facilities in specific categories of discharges. General permits can be a cost-effective option for agencies because of the large number of facilities that can be covered under a single permit. Where a large number of similar facilities require permits, a general permit allows the permitting authority to allocate resources in a more efficient manner and to provide timelier permit coverage than issuing an individual permit to each facility. In addition, using a general permit ensures consistent permit conditions for comparable facilities. Most general permits are classified by EPA and authorized agencies as "non-majors."

Facilities with a permits that have a NPDES data group number of G2C (No Exposure Certification (NOE)) or G2D (Low Erosivity Waiver or Other Waiver from Stormwater Controls (LEW)) are excluded from the dashboard as these facilities have waivers rather than NPDES permits. Facilities without a NPDES data group and an Electronic Submission Type of ES1 (NPDES regulated entity submits NPDES program data using an EPA electronic reporting system) are also excluded. 

Facilities by Classification
Description of Metrics
Definition
Count of facilities by classification in the selected federal fiscal year.
Classification
EPA classifies permit holders as:
  • Major Facilities with Individual NPDES Permits
  • Major Facilities covered by General Permits
  • Non-Major Facilities with Individual NPDES Permits
  • Non-Major Facilities covered by General Permits
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Facilities by Permitting Agency
Description of Metrics
Definition
Count of facilities by permitting agency in the selected federal fiscal year.
Permitting Agency
The agency, either EPA or State, which initially issued a NPDES permit. “State” includes states, tribes, and territories authorized to administer the NPDES program.
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Notes: The Permitting Agency is involved in issuing and renewing NPDES permits. Lead Agency refers to the entity leading a particular activity (e.g., inspection or enforcement action) at a facility.
Facilities by Classification (Single Year %)
Description of Metrics
Definition
Percent of facilities by classification in the selected federal fiscal year. 
Classification
EPA classifies permit holders as: 
  • Major Facilities with Individual NPDES Permits
  • Major Facilities covered by General Permits
  • Non-Major Facilities with Individual NPDES Permits
  • Non-Major Facilities covered by General Permits
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:

Compliance Monitoring Activities

EPA sets national goals for how frequently facilities should be evaluated by the authorized enforcement agency. EPA develops Compliance Monitoring Strategies (CMSs) to ensure that the regulated facilities across the country are evaluated for compliance on a regular basis. The CWA Compliance Monitoring Strategy (CMS) sets the national inspection frequency goals for all categories of dischargers in the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program.

The national inspection frequency goal for NPDES major facilities is for each to be inspected at least once every two years. The inspection frequency goal for traditional non-major facilities is at least one inspection of each facility every five years. States may choose to spread these inspections evenly over the two and five year time periods (i.e., 50% and 20% inspection coverage of major facilities and traditional non-major facilities each year, respectively), or may decide to unevenly plan their inspections over the two and five year time periods. Inspection frequency goals for other non-major facilities vary depending on the type of facility. In addition, states are afforded flexibility under the CWA CMS that may accommodate alternative frequencies. For more information on NPDES inspection goals, including facility categories within the NPDES program that are not currently shown on the dashboards, please refer to CWA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Compliance Monitoring Strategy.

Facilities with Compliance Monitoring Activities by Classification
Description of Metrics
Definition
Count of facilities with compliance monitoring activities by classification in the selected federal fiscal year. 
Classification
EPA classifies permit holders as:
  • Major Facilities with Individual NPDES Permits
  • Major Facilities covered by General Permits
  • Non-Major Facilities with Individual NPDES Permits
  • Non-Major Facilities covered by General Permits
Compliance Monitoring (Inspections)
Compliance monitoring activities that involve evaluation of compliance of a facility or permittee with the provisions of the Clean Water Act and related permit requirements.
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Facilities with Compliance Monitoring Activities by Lead Agency
Description of Metrics
Definition
Facilities with Compliance Monitoring Activities by Lead Agency in the selected federal fiscal year.
Compliance Monitoring (Inspections)
Compliance monitoring activities that involve evaluation of compliance of a facility or permittee with the provisions of the Clean Water Act and related permit requirements. 
Lead Agency
Describes the regulatory agency undertaking the inspection, either EPA or State, which includes Tribal, local, and other agencies with delegated authority for NPDES enforcement actions.
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Notes: The Permitting Agency is involved in issuing and renewing NPDES permits. Lead Agency refers to the entity leading a particular activity (e.g., inspection or enforcement action) at a facility. 
DMR Submission Rate by Classification
Description of Metrics
Definition
Discharge Monitoring Report (DMR) submission rate compared to the national average in the selected federal fiscal year.
DMR Submission Rate:
  • Numerator: The total number of Discharge Monitoring Report submissions received in the selected state(s) in the selected federal fiscal year.
  • Denominator: The number of Discharge Monitoring Report submissions expected in the selected state(s) in the selected federal fiscal year.
Metric Replication
 
DMRs Expected (Facilities)
Count of expected Discharge Monitoring Reports.
DMRs Received (Facilities)
The count of DMRs submitted in ICIS-NPDES. The count of DMRs received will be equal to or less than the DMRs expected.
Classification
EPA classifies permit holders as:
  • Major Facilities with Individual NPDES Permits
  • Major Facilities covered by General Permits
  • Non-Major Facilities with Individual NPDES Permits
  • Non-Major Facilities covered by General Permits
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Notes: Percentages are used in this metric.
Replication of metric for DMR Submission Rate by Classification using Details Table downloads
Source Data for DownloadMetric ComponentNumeratorDenominator 
Facilities DetailClassificationSum of "DMRs Received"Sum of "DMRs Expected"
DMR Submission Rate vs. National Average
Description of Metrics
Definition
Discharge Monitoring Report (DMR) submission rate compared to the national average in the selected federal fiscal year.
DMR Submission Rate:
  • Numerator: The total number of Discharge Monitoring Report submissions received in the selected state(s) in the selected federal fiscal year.
  • Denominator: The number of Discharge Monitoring Report submissions expected in the selected state(s) in the selected federal fiscal year.
National Average:
  • Numerator: The total number of Discharge Monitoring Report submissions received nationally in the selected federal fiscal year.
  • Denominator: The number of Discharge Monitoring Report submissions expected nationally in the selected federal fiscal year.
Metric Replication
 
DMRs Expected (Facilities)
Count of expected Discharge Monitoring Reports.
DMRs Received (Facilities)
The count of DMRs submitted in ICIS-NPDES. The count of DMRs received will be equal to or less than the DMRs expected.
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Notes
  • Percentages are used in this metric.
  • If no specific states are selected, the state average and national averages will be the same.
Replication of metric for DMR Submission Rate vs. National Average using Details Table downloads
Source Data for DownloadMetric ComponentNumerator (Count of records where...)Denominator (Count of records where...)
Facilities DetailSelected State(s)Sum of "DMRs Received" where "Permitting State" is {Selected State(s)}Sum of "DMRs Expected" where "Permitting State" is {Selected State(s)}
Facilities DetailNational AverageSum of "DMRs Received"Sum of "DMRs Expected"
% Facilities with Compliance Monitoring Activities vs. National Average
Description of Metrics
Definition
Percent of facilities with compliance monitoring activities compared to the national average.
Bar Chart:

Facilities with Compliance Monitoring Activities in Selected State(s) / Facilities in Selected State(s)

  • Numerator: The number of facilities with compliance monitoring activities in the selected state(s) in the selected federal fiscal year.
  • Denominator: The total number of active facilities and facilities with the identified activity that are closed or inactive in the selected state(s) in the selected federal fiscal year.
National Average (Line Chart):

Facilities with Compliance Monitoring Activities / Facilities

  • Numerator: The number of facilities with compliance monitoring activities nationally in the selected federal fiscal year.
  • Denominator: The total number of active facilities and facilities with the identified activity that are closed or inactive nationally in the selected federal fiscal year.
Metric Replication
 
Active 
Facilities with a permit status of Effective, Administratively Continued, or Expired.
Compliance Monitoring (Inspections)
Compliance monitoring activities that involve evaluation of compliance of a facility or permittee with the provisions of the Clean Water Act and related permit requirements. 
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Notes
  • Percentages are used in this metric.
  • If no specific states are selected, the state average and national averages will be the same.
Replication of metric for % Facilities with Compliance Monitoring Activities vs. National Average using Details Table downloads
Source Data for DownloadMetric ComponentNumerator (Count of records where...)Denominator (Count of records where...)
Facilities DetailSelected State(s)"Compliance Monitoring Flag" is "Yes" and "Permitting State" is {Selected State(s)}("Compliance Monitoring Flag" is "Yes" or "Active Flag" is "Active") and "Permitting State" is {Selected State(s)}
Facilities DetailNational Average("Compliance Monitoring Flag" is "Yes""Compliance Monitoring Flag" is "Yes" or "Active Flag" is "Active"

Violations

This section displays information about CWA violations noted at regulated facilities. The violation data includes system-generated records. ICIS automatically generates three basic types of violations: schedule violations, effluent violations, and DMR non-receipt violations. For each of these three types of violations, there are one or two automatic processes that serve to generate the violations. For each type, there is a process that runs when certain data related to requirements or permittee performance are entered or edited.

Facilities with Violations by Classification
Description of Metrics
Definition
Count of facilities with violations by classification in the selected federal fiscal year.
Facility Classifications Are:
  • Major (Individual)
  • Major (General)
  • Non-Major (Individual)
  • Non-Major (General)
Violation
An act of noncompliance with CWA regulatory requirements.
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Facilities with Violations by Permitting Agency
Description of Metrics
Definition
Count of facilities with violations by permitting agency in the selected federal fiscal year.
Permitting Agency
The agency, either EPA or State, which initially issued a NPDES permit. “State” includes states, tribes, and territories authorized to administer the NPDES program.
Violation
An act of noncompliance with CWA regulatory requirements.
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Notes: The Permitting Agency is involved in issuing and renewing NDPES permits. Lead Agency refers to the entity leading a particular activity (e.g., inspection or enforcement action) at a facility.
% Facilities with Violations vs. National Average
Description of Metrics
Definition
Percent of facilities with violations compared to the national average in the selected federal fiscal year.
Bar Chart:

Facilities with Violations in Selected State(s) / Facilities in Selected State(s)

  • Numerator: The number of facilities with violations in the selected state(s) in the selected federal fiscal year.
  • Denominator: The total number of facilities in the selected state(s) in the selected federal fiscal year.
National Average (Line Chart):

Facilities with Violations / Facilities

  • Numerator: The number of facilities with violations nationally in the selected federal fiscal year.
  • Denominator: The total number of facilities nationally in the selected federal fiscal year.
Metric Replication
 
Violation
An act of noncompliance with CWA regulatory requirements.
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Notes
  • Percentages are used in this metric. 
  • If no specific states are selected, the state average and national averages will be the same.
Replication of metric for % Facilities with Violations vs. National Average using Details Table downloads
Source Data for DownloadMetric ComponentNumerator (Count of records where...) Denominator (Count of records where...)
Facilities DetailSelected State(s)"SNC Flag" is "Yes" and "Permitting State" is {Selected State(s)}("SNC Flag" is "Yes" or "Active Flag" is "Active") and "Permitting State" is {Selected State(s)}
Facilities DetailNational Average"SNC Flag" is "Yes""SNC Flag" is "Yes" or "Active Flag" is "Active"

 


Significant (SNC) or Category I Noncompliance

This section displays information about serious violations of environmental regulations determined at CWA regulated facilities. The national program database calculates the severity of violations, which have specific criteria specifying the duration, severity, and type of violations that rise to the level of Significant/Category I Noncompliance (SNC). SNC can occur at major facilities. The calculation of "Category I" violations is equivalent to the SNC calculations, but because the violations occur at smaller dischargers (non-major) EPA does not classify the violations as "SNC". Whether a violation is SNC or Category I has some bearing on the government response used to address the violation(s). Repeat SNC occurrences are typically addressed through formal enforcement actions, while Category I violations are often addressed via informal enforcement processes.

The compliance status for NPDES dischargers is typically determined by the comparison of discharge monitoring reports (DMRs) submitted by facilities to their permitted discharge limits. Both permit limits and discharge data must be present for the system to generate an accurate compliance status. EPA's data system uses a sophisticated algorithm that considers severity and duration of violations when determining whether a facility is considered to be in Significant/Category I Noncompliance (SNC), including state or EPA manually-entered compliance data, if present.

Facilities in Significant or Category I Noncompliance by Classification
Description of Metrics
Definition
Count of facilities in Significant or Category I Noncompliance by classification in the selected federal fiscal year.
Classification
EPA classifies permit holders as:
  • Major (Individual)
  • Major (General)
  • Non-Major (Individual)
  • Non-Major (General)
Significant or Category I Noncompliance (SNC)
The national program database calculates the severity of violations, which have specific criteria specifying the duration, severity, and type of violations that rise to the level of Significant/Category I Noncompliance (SNC).
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Facilities in Significant or Category I Noncompliance by Permitting Agency
Description of Metrics
Definition
Count of facilities in Significant or Category I Noncompliance by permitting agency in the selected federal fiscal year.
Significant or Category I Noncompliance (SNC)
The national program database calculates the severity of violations, which have specific criteria specifying the duration, severity, and type of violations that rise to the level of Significant/Category I Noncompliance (SNC).
Permitting Agency
The agency, either EPA or State, which initially issued a NPDES permit. “State” includes states, tribes, and territories authorized to administer the NPDES program.
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Notes: The Permitting Agency is involved in issuing and renewing NDPES permits. Lead Agency refers to the entity leading a particular activity (e.g., inspection or enforcement action) at a facility.
% Facilities in Significant or Category I Noncompliance vs. National Average
Description of Metrics
Definition
Percent of facilities in Count of facilities in Significant or Category I Noncompliance compared to the national average in the selected federal fiscal year.
Bar Chart:

Facilities in Significant or Category I Noncompliance in Selected State(s) / Facilities in Selected State(s)

  • Numerator: The number of facilities with Significant or Category I Noncompliance in the selected state(s) in the selected federal fiscal year.
  • Denominator: The total number of facilities in the selected state(s) in the selected federal fiscal year.
National Average (Line Chart):

Facilities with Significant or Category I Noncompliance / Facilities

  • Numerator: The number of facilities with Significant or Category I Noncompliance nationally in the selected federal fiscal year.
  • Denominator: The total number of facilities nationally in the selected federal fiscal year.
Metric Replication
 
Significant or Category I Noncompliance (SNC)
The national program database calculates the severity of violations, which have specific criteria specifying the duration, severity, and type of violations that rise to the level of Significant/Category I Noncompliance (SNC).
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Notes
  • Percentages are used in this metric.
  • If no specific states are selected, the state average and national averages will be the same.
Replication of metric for % Facilities in Significant or Category I Noncompliance vs. National Average using Details Table downloads
Source Data for DownloadMetric ComponentNumerator (Count of records where...) Denominator (Count of records where...)
Facilities DetailSelected State(s)"SNC Flag" is "Yes" and "Permitting State" is {Selected State(s)}("SNC Flag" is "Yes" or "Active Flag" is "Active") and "Permitting State" is {Selected State(s)}
Facilities DetailNational Average"SNC Flag" is "Yes""SNC Flag" is "Yes" or "Active Flag" is "Active"
% Major Facilities in Significant or Category I Noncompliance with Enforcement Actions vs. National Average
Description of Metrics
Definition
Percent of major facilities in Significant or Category I Noncompliance with enforcement actions compared to the national average in the selected federal fiscal year.
Bar Chart:

Facilities in SNC or Category I Noncompliance with Enforcement Actions in Selected State(s) / Facilities in Selected State(s)

  • Numerator: The number of facilities in significant or category I noncompliance with enforcement actions in the selected state(s) in the selected federal fiscal year.
  • Denominator: The total number of facilities in the selected state(s) in the selected federal fiscal year.
National Average (Line Chart):

 Facilities with SNC or Category I Noncompliance with Enforcement Actions / Facilities

  • Numerator: The total number of facilities in significant or category I noncompliance with enforcement actions nationally in the selected federal fiscal year.
  • Denominator: The total number of facilities nationally in the selected federal fiscal year.
Metric Replication
 
Significant or Category I Noncompliance (SNC)
The national program database calculates the severity of violations, which have specific criteria specifying the duration, severity, and type of violations that rise to the level of Significant/Category I Noncompliance (SNC).
Enforcement Action
Under the authority of the Clean Water Act, several types of enforcement actions may be taken: informal actions (e.g., notices of violation and warning letters) and formal enforcement actions (e.g., civil judicial actions and administrative orders).
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Notes
  • Percentages are used in this metric.
  • If no specific states are selected, the state average and national averages will be the same.
Replication of metric for % Major Facilities in Significant or Category I Noncompliance with Enforcement Actions vs. National Average using Details Table downloads
Source Data for DownloadMetric ComponentNumerator (Count of records where...) Denominator (Count of records where...)
Facilities DetailSelected State(s)"Classification" contains "Major" and "SNC Flag" is "Yes" and ("Formal Enforcement Flag" is "Yes" or Informal Enforcement Flag" is "Yes") and "Permitting State" is {Selected State(s)}"Classification" contains "Major" and "SNC Flag" is "Yes" and "Permitting State" is {Selected State(s)}
Facilities DetailNational Average"Classification" contains "Major" and "SNC Flag" is "Yes" and ("Formal Enforcement Flag" is "Yes" or Informal Enforcement Flag" is "Yes")"Classification" contains "Major" and "SNC Flag" is "Yes"
% Major Facilities in Significant or Category I Noncompliance with Formal Enforcement Actions vs. National Average
Description of Metrics
Definition
Percent of major facilities in Significant or Category I Noncompliance with formal enforcement actions compared to the national average in the selected federal fiscal year.
Bar Chart:

Facilities in SNC or Category I Noncompliance with Enforcement Actions in Selected State(s) / Facilities in Selected State(s)

  • Numerator: The number of facilities in significant or category I noncompliance with formal enforcement actions in the selected state(s) in the selected federal fiscal year.
  • Denominator: The number of facilities in the selected state(s) in the selected federal fiscal year.
National Average (Line Chart):

 Facilities with SNC or Category I Noncompliance with Enforcement Actions / Facilities

  • Numerator: The number of facilities in significant or category I noncompliance with formal enforcement actions nationally in the selected federal fiscal year.
  • Denominator: The number of facilities nationally in the selected federal fiscal year.
Metric Replication
 
Significant or Category I Noncompliance (SNC)
The national program database calculates the severity of violations, which have specific criteria specifying the duration, severity, and type of violations that rise to the level of Significant/Category I Noncompliance (SNC).
Enforcement Action
Under the authority of the Clean Water Act, several types of enforcement actions may be taken: informal actions (e.g., notices of violation and warning letters) and formal enforcement actions (e.g., civil judicial actions and administrative orders).
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Notes
  • Percentages are used in this metric.
  • If no specific states are selected, the state average and national averages will be the same.
Replication of metric for % Major Facilities in Significant or Category I Noncompliance with Formal Enforcement Actions vs. National Average using Details Table downloads
Source Data for DownloadMetric ComponentNumerator (Count of records where...) Denominator (Count of records where...)
Facilities DetailSelected State(s)"Classification" contains "Major" and "SNC Flag" is "Yes" and "Formal Enforcement Flag" is "Yes" and "Permitting State" is {Selected State(s)}"Classification" contains "Major" and "SNC Flag" is "Yes" and "Permitting State" is {Selected State(s)}
Facilities DetailNational Average"Classification" contains "Major" and "SNC Flag" is "Yes" and "Formal Enforcement Flag" is "Yes""Classification" contains "Major" and "SNC Flag" is "Yes"

Enforcement Actions

This section displays information about EPA and state enforcement activity at regulated facilities. For EPA, formal enforcement action is (1) a referral to the U.S. Department of Justice for the commencement of a civil action in the appropriate U.S. District Court, or (2) the filing of an administrative complaint, or the issuance of an order, requiring compliance and a sanction.

For states, formal enforcement action is (1) a referral to the State’s Attorney General for the commencement of a civil or administrative action in the appropriate forum, or (2) the filing of an administrative complaint, or the issuance of an order, requiring compliance and a sanction.

This dashboard may indicate lower timely enforcement action performance than actually occurred.

Facilities with Enforcement Actions by Action Type
Description of Metrics
Definition
Count of facilities with enforcement actions by action type (Formal, Informal) in the selected federal fiscal year.
Enforcement Action
Under the authority of the Clean Water Act, several types of enforcement actions may be taken: informal actions (e.g., notices of violation and warning letters) and formal enforcement actions (e.g., civil judicial actions and administrative orders).
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Facilities with Formal Actions by Classification
Description of Metrics
Definition
Count of facilities with formal enforcement actions by classification in the selected federal fiscal year.
Enforcement Action
Under the authority of the Clean Water Act, several types of enforcement actions may be taken: informal actions (e.g., notices of violation and warning letters) and formal enforcement actions (e.g., civil judicial actions and administrative orders).
Classification
EPA classifies permit holders as:
  • Major (Individual)
  • Major (General)
  • Non-Major (Individual)
  • Non-Major (General)
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Facilities with Enforcement Actions by Lead Agency
Description of Metrics
Definition
Count of enforcement actions, by lead agency in the selected federal fiscal year.
Enforcement Action
Under the authority of the Clean Water Act, several types of enforcement actions may be taken: informal actions (e.g., notices of violation and warning letters) and formal enforcement actions (e.g., civil judicial actions and administrative orders).
Lead Agency
Describes the regulatory agency undertaking the inspection, either EPA or State, which includes Tribal, local, and other agencies with delegated authority for NPDES enforcement actions.
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Notes: The Permitting Agency is involved in issuing and renewing NDPES permits. Lead Agency refers to the entity leading a particular activity (e.g., inspection or enforcement action) at a facility.
% Facilities with Violations with Formal Enforcement Actions
Description of Metrics
Definition
Percent of facilities with violations with formal enforcement actions in the selected federal fiscal year.
Bar Chart:

Facilities with Formal Enforcement Actions / Facilities with Violations

  • Numerator: The number of facilities with violations that were subsequently issued enforcement actions in the selected federal fiscal year.
  • Denominator: The total number of active facilities and facilities with the identified activity that are closed or inactive with violations in the selected federal fiscal year.
Metric Replication
 
Enforcement Action
Under the authority of the Clean Water Act, several types of enforcement actions may be taken: informal actions (e.g., notices of violation and warning letters) and formal enforcement actions (e.g., civil judicial actions and administrative orders).
Violation
An act of noncompliance with CWA regulatory requirements.
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Notes: Percentages are used in this metric.
Replication of metric for % Facilities with Violations with Formal Enforcement Actions using Details Table downloads
Source Data for DownloadMetric ComponentNumerator (Count of records where...) Denominator (Count of records where...)
Facilities DetailClassification"Violation Flag" is "Yes" and "Formal Enforcement Flag" is "Yes""Violation Flag" is "Yes"
% Facilities with Violations with Formal Enforcement Actions vs. National Average
Description of Metrics
Definition
Percent of facilities with violations with formal enforcement actions in the selected federal fiscal year.
Bar Chart:

Facilities with Formal Enforcement Actions / Facilities with Violations

  • Numerator: The number of facilities with violations that were subsequently issued enforcement actions in the selected federal fiscal year.
  • Denominator: The total number of active facilities and facilities with the identified activity that are closed or inactive with violations in the selected federal fiscal year.
National Average (Line Chart):

Facilities with Formal Enforcement Actions / Facilities with Violations

  • Numerator: The number of facilities with formal enforcement actions nationally in the selected federal fiscal year.
  • Denominator: The number of active facilities and facilities with the identified activity that are closed or inactive nationally with violations in the selected federal fiscal year.
Metric Replication
 
Enforcement Action
Under the authority of the Clean Water Act, several types of enforcement actions may be taken: informal actions (e.g., notices of violation and warning letters) and formal enforcement actions (e.g., civil judicial actions and administrative orders).
Violation
An act of noncompliance with CWA regulatory requirements.
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Notes: Percentages are used in this metric.
Replication of metric for % Facilities with Violations with Formal Enforcement Actions vs. National Average using Details Table downloads
Source Data for DownloadMetric ComponentNumerator (Count of records where...) Denominator (Count of records where...)
Facilities DetailClassification"Violation Flag" is "Yes" and "Formal Enforcement Flag" is "Yes""Violation Flag" is "Yes"
% Facilities with Violations with Informal Enforcement Actions
Description of Metrics
Definition
Percent of facilities with violations with informal enforcement actions in the selected federal fiscal year.
Bar Chart:

Facilities with Informal Enforcement Actions / Facilities with Violations

  • Numerator: The number of facilities with violations that were subsequently issued informal enforcement actions in the selected federal fiscal year.
  • Denominator: The total number of active facilities and facilities with the identified activity that are closed or inactive with violations in the selected federal fiscal year.
Metric Replication
 
Enforcement Action
Under the authority of the Clean Water Act, several types of enforcement actions may be taken: informal actions (e.g., notices of violation and warning letters) and formal enforcement actions (e.g., civil judicial actions and administrative orders).
Violation
An act of noncompliance with CWA regulatory requirements.
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Notes: Percentages are used in this metric.
Replication of metric for % Facilities with Violations with Informal Enforcement Actions using Details Table downloads
Source Data for DownloadMetric ComponentNumerator (Count of records where...) Denominator (Count of records where...)
Facilities DetailClassification"Violation Flag" is "Yes" and "Informal Enforcement Flag" is "Yes""Violation Flag" is "Yes"
% Facilities with Violations with Informal Enforcement Actions vs. National Average
Description of Metrics
Definition
Percent of facilities with violations with informal enforcement actions in the selected federal fiscal year.
Bar Chart:

Facilities with Informal Enforcement Actions / Facilities with Violations

  • Numerator: The number of facilities with violations that were subsequently issued informal enforcement actions in the selected federal fiscal year.
  • Denominator: The total number of active facilities and facilities with the identified activity that are closed or inactive with violations in the selected federal fiscal year.
National Average (Line Chart):

Facilities with Informal Enforcement Actions / Facilities with Violations

  • Numerator: The number of facilities with informal enforcement actions nationally in the selected federal fiscal year.
  • Denominator: The number of active facilities and facilities with the identified activity that are closed or inactive nationally with violations in the selected federal fiscal year.
Metric Replication
 
Enforcement Action
Under the authority of the Clean Water Act, several types of enforcement actions may be taken: informal actions (e.g., notices of violation and warning letters) and formal enforcement actions (e.g., civil judicial actions and administrative orders).
Violation
An act of noncompliance with CWA regulatory requirements.
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Notes: Percentages are used in this metric.
Replication of metric for % Facilities with Violations with Informal Enforcement Actions vs. National Average using Details Table downloads
Source Data for DownloadMetric ComponentNumerator (Count of records where...) Denominator (Count of records where...)
Facilities DetailClassification"Violation Flag" is "Yes" and "Informal Enforcement Flag" is "Yes""Violation Flag" is "Yes"

Penalties

This section displays information about penalties at regulated facilities that had alleged violations.

Civil administrative and judicial actions often end with a settlement, an agreed upon resolution to an enforcement case. Settlements in civil administrative actions are often in the form of Consent Agreements/Final Orders. Settlements in civil judicial actions are generally embodied in Consent Decrees, signed by all parties to the action and filed in the appropriate court.

In the settlements, EPA or the state often requires injunctive relief (actions needed to return to compliance and correct environmental damage) and the payment of penalties. Settlements also may include Supplemental Environmental Projects, environmentally beneficial projects that a defendant/respondent agrees to undertake in settlement of an enforcement action, but which the defendant/respondent is not otherwise legally required to perform.

Formal Enforcement Actions with Penalties Assessed
Description of Metrics
Definition
Count of Formal Enforcement Actions with Penalties in the selected federal fiscal year.
Enforcement Action
Under the authority of the Clean Water Act, several types of enforcement actions may be taken: informal actions (e.g., notices of violation and warning letters) and formal enforcement actions (e.g., civil judicial actions and administrative orders).
Penalties
A monetary sanction, if deemed appropriate by the lead agency, incorporated into a settlement of civil administrative (Consent Agreements/Final Orders) or judicial actions (Consent Decrees) that might recover the economic benefit of noncompliance plus some appreciable amount reflecting the gravity of the violation. 
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Notes: The Permitting Agency is involved in issuing and renewing NDPES permits. Lead Agency refers to the entity leading a particular activity (e.g., inspection or enforcement action) at a facility.
Penalties Assessed by Classification
Description of Metrics
Definition
Value of penalties assessed by classification in the selected federal fiscal year.
Penalties
A monetary sanction, if deemed appropriate by the lead agency, incorporated into a settlement of civil administrative (Consent Agreements/Final Orders) or judicial actions (Consent Decrees) that might recover the economic benefit of noncompliance plus some appreciable amount reflecting the gravity of the violation.
Classification
EPA classifies permit holders as:
  • Major (Individual)
  • Major (General)
  • Non-Major (Individual)
  • Non-Major (General)
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Notes: The Permitting Agency is involved in issuing and renewing NDPES permits. Lead Agency refers to the entity leading a particular activity (e.g., inspection or enforcement action) at a facility.
Penalties Assessed by Lead Agency
Description of Metrics
Definition
Total value of penalties assessed by lead agency in the selected federal fiscal year.
Lead Agency
Describes the regulatory agency undertaking the inspection, either EPA or State, which includes Tribal, local, and other agencies with delegated authority for NPDES enforcement actions.
Penalties
A monetary sanction, if deemed appropriate by the lead agency, incorporated into a settlement of civil administrative (Consent Agreements/Final Orders) or judicial actions (Consent Decrees) that might recover the economic benefit of noncompliance plus some appreciable amount reflecting the gravity of the violation.
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Notes: The Permitting Agency is involved in issuing and renewing NDPES permits. Lead Agency refers to the entity leading a particular activity (e.g., inspection or enforcement action) at a facility.
Median Penalties Assessed by Lead Agency
Description of Metrics
Definition
Median value of penalties assessed by lead agency in the selected federal fiscal year.
Lead Agency
Describes the regulatory agency undertaking the inspection, either EPA or State, which includes Tribal, local, and other agencies with delegated authority for NPDES enforcement actions.
Penalties
A monetary sanction, if deemed appropriate by the lead agency, incorporated into a settlement of civil administrative (Consent Agreements/Final Orders) or judicial actions (Consent Decrees) that might recover the economic benefit of noncompliance plus some appreciable amount reflecting the gravity of the violation.
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Notes
  • The Permitting Agency is involved in issuing and renewing NDPES permits. Lead Agency refers to the entity leading a particular activity (e.g., inspection or enforcement action) at a facility.
  • The median value in a sorted distribution is the middle value: one half of the values are higher than the median and one-half of the values are lower than the median.
Median Penalties Assessed vs. National Average
Description of Metrics
Definition
Median value of penalties assessed, compared to the national average in the selected federal fiscal year. 

Bar Chart (Median Penalties): The median of the value of the penalties accessed to facilities in the selected state(s) in the selected federal fiscal year.

Line Chart (National Average): The median of the value of the penalties accessed to facilities nationally in the selected federal fiscal year.

Penalties
A monetary sanction, if deemed appropriate by the lead agency, incorporated into a settlement of civil administrative (Consent Agreements/Final Orders) or judicial actions (Consent Decrees) that might recover the economic benefit of noncompliance plus some appreciable amount reflecting the gravity of the violation.
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Notes: 
  • The median value in a sorted distribution is the middle value: one half of the values are higher than the median and one-half of the values are lower than the median.
  • If no specific states are selected, the state average and national averages will be the same.
% Formal Enforcement Actions with Penalties Assessed by Lead Agency
Description of Metrics
Definition
Percent of formal enforcement actions with penalties, by lead agency, in the selected federal fiscal year.
Bar Chart (EPA):

Facilities with Formal Enforcement Actions Issed by EPA with Penalties / Facilities with Formal Enforcement Actions Issued by EPA

  • Numerator: The number of facilities with formal enforcement actions issued by EPA that contained penalties in the selected federal fiscal year.
  • Denominator: The total number of facilities with formal enforcement actions issued by EPA in the selected federal fiscal year.
Bar Chart (State):

Facilities with Formal Enforcement Actions Issed by State with Penalties / Facilities with Formal Enforcement Actions Issued by State

  • Numerator: The number of facilities with formal enforcement actions issued by state, local, and tribal regulatory authorities that contained penalties in the selected federal fiscal year.
  • Denominator: The total number of facilities with formal enforcement actions issued by state, local, and tribal regulatory authorities in the selected federal fiscal year.
Metric Replication
 
Enforcement Action
Under the authority of the Clean Water Act, several types of enforcement actions may be taken: informal actions (e.g., notices of violation and warning letters) and formal enforcement actions (e.g., civil judicial actions and administrative orders).
Lead Agency
Describes the regulatory agency undertaking the inspection, either EPA or State, which includes Tribal, local, and other agencies with delegated authority for NPDES enforcement actions.
Penalties
A monetary sanction, if deemed appropriate by the lead agency, incorporated into a settlement of civil administrative (Consent Agreements/Final Orders) or judicial actions (Consent Decrees) that might recover the economic benefit of noncompliance plus some appreciable amount reflecting the gravity of the violation.
Additional details for the following terms can be found in the Data Dictionary:
Notes: The Permitting Agency is involved in issuing and renewing NDPES permits. Lead Agency refers to the entity leading a particular activity (e.g., inspection or enforcement action) at a facility.
Replication of metric for % Formal Enforcement Actions with Penalties Assessed by Lead Agency using Details Table downloads
Source Data for DownloadMetric ComponentNumerator (Count of records where...)Denominator (Count of records where...)
Enforcement Actions DetailLead Agency = EPALead Agency is "EPA" and "Action Type" is "Formal" and ""Action Type" is "Formal" and "Total Penalty" is greater than 0 Lead Agency is "EPA" and "Action Type" is "Formal"
Enforcement Actions DetailLead Agency = StateLead Agency is "State" and "Action Type" is "Formal" and "Total Penalty" is greater than 0Lead Agency is "State" and "Action Type" is "Formal"

Data Dictionary

Active
Facilities with a permit status of Effective, Administratively Continued, or Expired.
Classification
EPA classifies permit holders as:
  • Major Facilities with Individual NPDES Permits.
  • Major Facilities covered by General Permits
  • Non-Major Facilities with Individual NPDES Permits
  • Non-Major Facilities covered by General Permits
DMRs Expected (Facilities)
Count of expected DMRs.
DMRs Received (Facilities)
The count of DMRs submitted in ICIS-NPDES. The count of DMRs received will be equal to or less than the DMRs expected. 
Enforcement Action Types 
Informal CWA enforcement actions consist of the following:
  • LOVWL - Letter of Violation/Warning Letter
  • NOV - Notice of Violation
  • NONC - Notice of Noncompliance Issued
Formal CWA enforcement actions include:
  • CIV - Civil Judicial Action
  • EOGOV - Emergency Order - Governor
  • OSUSREV - Order of Suspension or Revocation
  • SCWAAO - State CWA Non Penalty AO
  • SCWAAPO - State CWA Penalty AO
  • STAOCO - State Administrative Order of Consent
Facility 
Any facility that holds a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. All facilities that discharge pollutants from any point source (e.g., pipe, ditch, and channel) into waters of the United States are required to obtain such a permit.
Facility Type 
  • Major - NPDES permitting authorities classify "major" facilities based on considerations such as toxic pollutant potential, ratio of discharge flow/stream flow volume, conventional pollutant loading, public health impact, water quality factors, and proximity to coastal waters. Major NPDES permits cover discharges from Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) facilities with designed discharge flows of greater than 1 million gallons per day and active major industrial facilities scoring more than 80 for the six factors on the NPDES Permit Rating Work Sheet
  • Non-Major - Traditional non-major NPDES permits cover Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) facilities with designed discharge flows of less than 1 million gallons per day (1 MGD) or serving populations of less than 10,000 persons and active non-major industrial facilities (i.e., facilities scoring less than 80 for the six factors on the NPDES Permit Rating Work Sheet that have not been designated as a discretionary major by the EPA region.
Federal Fiscal Year 
The Federal Fiscal Year runs from October 1 to September 30 of the following year. Because the federal fiscal year differ from the fiscal years of individual states, users should take care when comparing results from the ECHO State Dashboards with stat-specific summaries of similar compliance and enforcement information.
 Permit Type
  • General Permit - A NPDES permit used to cover multiple facilities in specific categories of discharges. General permits can be a cost-effective option for agencies because of the large number of facilities that can be covered under a single permit. Where many similar facilities require permits, a general permit allows the permitting authority to allocate resources in a more efficient manner and to provide timelier permit coverage than issuing an individual permit to each facility. In addition, using a general permit ensures consistent permit conditions for comparable facilities. Most general permits are classified by EPA and authorized agencies as "non-majors."
  • Individual Permit - A NPDES permit written to reflect site-specific conditions of a single discharger (or in rare instances to multiple co-permittees) based on information submitted by that discharger in a permit application and is unique to that discharger. Individual permits are issued directly to an individual discharger.
Inspection (Compliance Monitoring) Types
  • On-Site
    • AFD - Animal Feeding Operation (AFO) Defined
    • AFN - AFO Designation
    • AU1 – Audit
    • AU2 – Audit
    • CBI – Biomonitoring
    • CEI – Evaluation
    • CE2– Evaluation
    • DIA – Diagnostic
    • FLP - Follow-Up
    • OPM - Operation and Maintenance
    • PIU - Non-Sampling
    • PSI - Sampling
    • ROS - Reconnaissance without Sampling
    • RWS - Reconnaissance with Sampling
    • SA1 - Sampling
    • TX1 - Toxics
    • TX2 - Toxics
  • Off-Site
    • ADR - Asbestos Demolition and Renovation
    • AER - Aerial Photography
    • CAI - Compliance Assistance Inspection
    • CCP - Citizen Complaint
    • CDI - Case Development
    • CEF - Full Evaluation
    • CEP - Partial Evaluation
    • OSN -  Noncompliance Rate
    • OSV - On Site Visit
    • PRV - Plan Review
    • RMT - Remote Sensing
    • SCE - Schedule Evaluation
    • WIT - Witness Response Drill
Lead Agency 
Describes the regulatory agency undertaking the inspection, either EPA or State, which includes Tribal, local, and other agencies with delegated authority for NPDES compliance evaluations or enforcement actions.
  • For Compliance Monitoring Activities, this refers to the agency that inspected the facility.
  • For Significant or Category I Noncompliance (SNC), this refers to the agency that detected SNC.
  • For Enforcement Actions and Penalties, this refers to the agency that issued the enforcement action.
NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) 
Under the Clean Water Act all facilities that discharge pollutants from any point source into waters of the United States are required to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The permit provides two levels of control: technology-based limits (based on the ability of dischargers in the same industrial category to treat wastewater) and water quality-based limits (if technology-based limits are not sufficient to provide protection of the water body). The NPDES program also requires controls on industrial discharges to sewage treatment plants ("pretreatment program”) and the management and disposal of biosolids from sewage treatment plants ("biosolids program”).
The CWA allows EPA to authorize the NPDES program to state, territorial, and tribal governments, enabling these agencies to perform many of the permitting, administrative, and enforcement aspects of the NPDES program. Most states have authorized NPDES programs. In these states, EPA still retains oversight responsibilities. EPA works closely with the states, territories, localities, and tribes to implement federal environmental programs. States, territories, and tribes authorized to manage federal programs must have enforcement authorities that are at least as stringent as federal law. EPA works with officials in these environmental, health, and agricultural agencies on strategic planning, priority-setting, and measurement of results.
Finally, separate from the NPDES program, EPA uses its authority under Section 311 of the CWA to implement procedures, methods, equipment, and other requirements to prevent discharges of oil from vessels and facilities and to contain such discharges when they occur.
Penalties
A monetary sanction, if deemed appropriate by the lead agency, incorporated into a settlement of civil administrative (Consent Agreements/Final Orders) or judicial actions (Consent Decrees) that might recover the economic benefit of noncompliance plus some appreciable amount reflecting the gravity of the violation. In the settlements, EPA or the state often require injunctive relief (actions needed to return to compliance and correct environmental damage) and the payment of penalties. Settlements also may include Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs), environmentally beneficial projects that a defendant/respondent agrees to undertake in settlement of an enforcement action, but which the defendant/respondent is not otherwise legally required to perform.
Permitting Agency 
The agency, either EPA or State, which initially issued a NPDES permit. “State” includes states, tribes, and territories authorized to administer the NPDES program.
Significant or Category I Noncompliance (SNC) 
The national program database calculates the severity of violations, which have specific criteria specifying the duration, severity, and type of violations that rise to the level of Significant/Category I Noncompliance (SNC). SNC can occur at major facilities. The calculation of "Category I" violations is equivalent to the SNC calculations, but because the violations occur at smaller dischargers (non-major) EPA does not classify the violations as "SNC". Whether a violation is SNC or Category I has some bearing on the government response used to address the violation(s). Repeat SNC occurrences are typically addressed through formal enforcement actions, while Category I violations are often addressed via informal enforcement processes.The following violations are considered SNC/Category I Noncompliance:
  • Compliance/Permit Schedule - Reporting - Compliance schedule non-receipt.
  • Compliance/Permit Schedule - Violations - An enforcement action has been issued, and the facility is not meeting its compliance schedule.
  • Effluent - Monthly Average Limit - The facility has exceeded the monthly effluent restrictions established by a state or EPA on quantities, rates, and concentrations in wastewater discharges.
  • Effluent - Non-monthly Average Limit - The facility has exceeded the non-monthly effluent restrictions established by a state or EPA on quantities, rates, and concentrations in wastewater discharges.
  • Failure to Report DMR - Not Received - Discharge Monitoring Report (DMR) not received.
Violation
An act of noncompliance with CWA regulatory requirements.
Violation types
ViolationCWA CategoryCWA Description
Compliance/Permit Schedule - ViolationsSNC/Category I NoncomplianceEnforcement action or permit compliance schedule event violation - more than 90 days late.
Effluent - Monthly Average LimitSNC/Category I NoncomplianceEffluent violations of monthly average limits (Technical Review Criteria and chronic) or SNC-level single event violation. 
Effluent - Non-monthly Average LimitSNC/Category I NoncomplianceEffluent violations of non-monthly average limits (Technical Review Criteria and chronic).
Compliance/Permit Schedule - ReportingSNC/Category I NoncomplianceEnforcement action or permit compliance report violation - more than 30 days late.
Failure to Report DMR - Not ReceivedSNC/Category I NoncomplianceReporting violation - non-receipt of DMR. Note: For non-major facilities, the system replaced "D" (non-receipt of DMR) with "W", except for facilities in Arkansas and Louisiana, for monitoring period end dates before July 1, 2017.
Reportable NoncomplianceRNC/Category II NoncomplianceReportable noncompliance.
Other Violationsnon-RNC violationsThe facility has effluent, compliance schedule, permit schedule, or single-event violations in the current quarter; however, is not considered to be in RNC or SNC.
Resolved - PendingN/AAn enforcement action has been issued, and facility compliance with the action is pending final completion.
ResolvedN/AThe facility has returned to compliance with its permit conditions, either with or without issuance of an enforcement action.
UndeterminedN/AEPA's data system is not able to determine the facility-level compliance status because the system has not been set to track it or because the data haven't been entered. This information may be available from a state database.

Common Questions

What is the NPDES Permit Program?
Under the Clean Water Act all facilities that discharge pollutants from any point source into waters of the United States are required to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The permit provides two levels of control: technology-based limits (based on the ability of dischargers in the same industrial category to treat wastewater) and water quality-based limits (if technology-based limits are not sufficient to provide protection of the water body). The NPDES program also requires controls on industrial discharges to sewage treatment plants ("pretreatment program”) and the management and disposal of biosolids from sewage treatment plants ("biosolids program”).
The CWA allows EPA to authorize the NPDES program to state, territorial, and tribal governments, enabling these agencies to perform many of the permitting, administrative, and enforcement aspects of the NPDES program. Most states have authorized NPDES programs. In these states, EPA still retains oversight responsibilities. EPA works closely with the states, territories, localities, and tribes to implement federal environmental programs. States, territories, and tribes authorized to manage federal programs must have enforcement authorities that are at least as stringent as federal law. EPA works with officials in these environmental, health, and agricultural agencies on strategic planning, priority-setting, and measurement of results.
Finally, separate from the NPDES program, EPA uses its authority under Section 311 of the CWA to implement procedures, methods, equipment, and other requirements to prevent discharges of oil from vessels and facilities and to contain such discharges when they occur.
What are expectations related to compliance monitoring within states?
Please see ECHO's Compliance Monitoring Expectations page for more information.
What are the types of facilities regulated by EPA and the states under the CWA NPDES program?
All facilities that discharge pollutants through a point source into waters of the United States are regulated by EPA and authorized agencies under the NPDES program. These include municipal and industrial sources of wastewater pollution. The NPDES program also regulates wastewater from industrial facilities connected to the publicly-owned treatment works (POTWs) sewerage system through the pretreatment program and biosolids from POTWs through the biosolids program. Another main part of the NPDES program is regulating discharges related to wet-weather events. The majority of facilities covered by the NPDES program are stormwater discharging facilities. These wet weather enforcement programs regulate the following discharges:
Where can I search for a particular facility to see if they have violations or find water quality data for the watershed where a NPDES permittee is located?
Please use the ECHO Water Facility Search.
How can I download detailed information about compliance and enforcement activity?
ECHO integrates facility data from different EPA databases, including ICIS-NPDES. In the event that the facility searches available through ECHO do not meet your needs, datasets from the primary enforcement and compliance history databases are available.
EPA also maintains the ECHO Exporter download, which provides a summary of all regulated facilities in one file. There are up to 130 data fields available for each facility, including the frequency of inspections, violations, actions, and penalties. The file includes Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and other data, such Toxics Release Inventory releases, industry codes, and permit types.

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