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Industrial Wastewater Discharges: The Permit Process

This page contains a brief description of the industrial wastewater permitting process for Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) permits and Texas Land Application Permits (TLAP).

If you must obtain an individual permit to discharge industrial wastewater into or adjacent to "waters in the state," take these steps to begin the permitting process:

  1. Contact TCEQ staff well before you apply for the permit. This is not a requirement, but is highly recommended. Our staff will help you determine if and what type of permit is needed as well as what information needs to go into a permit application package.

  2. Find out whether the water body receiving the discharge is on the Texas Clean Water Act Section 303(d) listAdobe Acrobat PDF Document. (Help with PDF.) The 303(d) list identifies water bodies which are identified as impaired or threatened in accordance with the Federal Clean Water Act. New discharges into water bodies on the 303(d) listAdobe Acrobat PDF Document may not be allowed or may come with stringent requirements.

  3. Complete and submit a permit application package (one original and three copies) at least 330 days before the proposed discharge begins or as soon as possible. This package includes (instructions)Adobe Acrobat PDF Document:

After the TCEQ receives the application, it will go through a two-step review:

  1. Administrative Review. Staff will check to make sure the application is complete. If not, you will be sent a Notice of Deficiency letter describing what information is needed by a certain date. If deficiencies are not addressed within a specified time period, the application may be returned.

  2. Templates for Publishing First Notices into Spanish. After being notified by the Water Quality Division that it is time to issue a public notice, you may need to translate the Notice of Receipt and Intent to Obtain a Permit into Spanish. The applicant is responsible for getting notices translated. However, because Spanish is the most common alternate language, we have provided some commonly needed translated templates.

  3. Technical Review. The technical aspects of the application will be reviewed and evaluated. You may be contacted for additional information. If information is not received by the date requested, the application may be returned. This review will include public notices, and may include public meetings and hearings.

After the TCEQ review process, the applicant is given the opportunity to review and provide comments on the draft permit.

Once the TCEQ and applicant have resolved differences over requirements in the draft permit, the applicant must publish notice in a local and widely distributed newspaper. This Public Notice informs the public that a draft permit has been prepared for disposal of wastewater. The public may provide comments or request a public meeting or request a public hearing on the draft permit.

Depending on the outcome of any public meetings or hearing requests, the permit will be denied or issued.

If a permit is issued, you will need to do the following:

  • Comply with the provisions of the permit. (This includes any monitoring and reporting requirements.)

  • Notify TCEQ if you wish to discontinue permit coverage.

  • Pay an Annual Water Quality Fee. As long as the permit is active on September 1st of the year, you will receive an invoice for this fee.

See our Industrial Permit Rules web page.

Contact us if you have questions.