The New York State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) program aims to protect the public interest, preserve community health and protect the state’s wildlife and the environment as a whole — while still supporting industrial development.
In simple terms, its goal is to reduce pollution that might otherwise end up in the state’s water supply. The SPDES program was established under the state’s Environmental Conservation Law. The SPDES is in compliance with the Clean Water Act and has the approval of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
It’s not uncommon to need a SPDES permit during construction projects
Many construction projects end up needing an SPDES permit, which can be acquired upon application and approval of the project by New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
Under state law, you need an SPDES permit for your project when:
- Your project requires the construction of a discharge pipe, outlet or point source that is designed to discharge wastewater into either groundwater or surface waters within the state.
- Your project involves operating or constructing a waste disposal system, and you need authorization to process the waste, use a landfill or incinerate.
- You want to renew or modify an existing SPDES permit or transfer it to another business or entity.
Permits are not needed when your total discharge into the ground water is less than 1,000 gallons per day and it is either non-sewage waste or the sewage-wastewater does not include industrial waste and contaminants. (You may need other permits through the DEC and other agencies, so don’t presume that you don’t need any permits at all.)
Working through the permit application and approval process with the DEC and the SPDES isn’t easy. It’s often easier to get through in a timely manner when you have experienced, personalized guidance.