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Domestic Wastewater Permits: The Permitting Process

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

TPDES and TLAP Domestic Wastewater Permits

If you are required to obtain a domestic wastewater permit to discharge or land apply treated domestic wastewater, you will start the permitting process by doing the following:

  1. ContactTCEQ staff well in advance of applying for a new permit or major amendment to an existing permit.

    This is not a requirement, but is highly recommended for new facilities or major changes to existing permitted facilities. 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. Determine if the water body receiving the discharge is on the Texas Clean Water Act Section 303(d) List.

    The Texas Water Quality Inventory and 303(d) List describe the status of the state's waters on historical surface and groundwater quality data (the Inventory) and identify water bodies that are not meeting standards set for their use (the List). The List must be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before it is considered final. On May 9, 2013,the EPA approved the 2012 Texas Water Quality 303(d) list submitted to the EPA on February 21, 2013.

    Determine if the water body receiving the discharge is on the approved 2010 Texas 303(d) list.

  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 for new or amended discharges. Submit renewal applications 180 days prior to permit expiration.Submit renewal applications 180 days prior to permit expiration. Submit renewal applications 180 days prior to permit expiration.

The following instructions and forms are needed to complete the permit application package. They may be used to submit an application for a new permit, a major amendment or minor amendment to an existing permit, or to submit an application to renew an existing permit. These documents are made available in Portable Document Format ( PDF).

  • Completing the Domestic Wastewater Permit Application Adobe Acrobat PDF Document
    These instructions include information on who needs to apply for a wastewater permit, what should be included in the application for the administrative and technical reports, various worksheet instructions, examples, and fee information.

  • Domestic Administrative Report Adobe Acrobat PDF Document
    Complete applicable sections, the checklist, and include the appropriate signatures. Submit the appropriate fees. If the report is not in the same format and page numbering sequence, the application will not be processed.

  • Domestic Technical Report Adobe Acrobat PDF Document
    Complete applicable sections and worksheets. If the report is not in the same format and page numbering sequence, the application will not be processed.

  • Instructions for Completing Sewage Sludge Technical Reports Adobe Acrobat PDF Document
    Use these instructions to complete the Sewage Sludge Technical Report.

  • Sewage Sludge Technical Report Adobe Acrobat PDF Document
    Use this report to include authorization to land apply sludge, marketing and distribution of sludge, and other sludge disposal options in your domestic wastewater permit.

  • Core Data Form (PDFAdobe Acrobat PDF Document) (Word MS Word Document) (Instructions Adobe Acrobat PDF Document) (More information can be found on the TCEQ Central Registry Core Data Form - Instructions and Guidance page.)
    Complete and submit as part of your application if needed to obtain a customer number or regulated entity number or if this information needs to be updated. This form requests basic information about the owner, the operator and the site.

After TCEQ receives the application, it will go through an administrative and technical review:

  • Administrative Review
    Staff will check to make sure the application is complete and the administrative portion of the application includes appropriate information. 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.

    The Notice of Receipt of Application and Intent to Obtain Permit or NORI is the first notice you must publish. It is published only after the application is declared administratively complete. Do not publish this notice until you have received the issued notice and instructions from us. You may also be required to publish the notice in an alternative language based on the bilingual education programs in the middle school or elementary school nearest to the facility. If you are required to translate the NORI into Spanish, you may use our Spanish templates.

  • 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. If the application is declared technically complete, staff will proceed with preparing a draft permit, technical summary or fact sheet for the application and public notice.

    The Notice of Application and Preliminary Decision or NAPD is the second notice an applicant must publish. It is published only after technical review of the application is complete and we have made a preliminary decision to issue the draft permit. Do not publish this notice until you have received the issued notice and instructions from us. You may also be required to publish the notice in an alternative language based on the bilingual education programs in the middle school or elementary school nearest to the facility. If you are required to translate the NAPD into Spanish, you may use our Spanish templates.

  • Comments from the Applicant
    You will be given the opportunity to review and provide comments on the draft permit. In addition, certain permits are sent to EPA for their review and approval after comments from the applicant are resolved. The draft permit is then filed with the TCEQ Office of the Chief Clerk and instructions on the second public notice are mailed to the applicant.

    You must publish notice in a local and widely distributed newspaper and make a copy of the application and draft permit available in a public place. The public notice informs the public that the TCEQ has prepared a draft wastewater permit and provides instructions for commenting on the application. The public may provide comments or request a public meeting or request a public hearing on the application.

  • Public Comments
    Comments on the application and draft permit are considered by the TCEQ and if requested, the TCEQ may hold a public meeting. The TCEQ staff will prepare a Response to Comments that addresses all of the public comments received during the comment period on the application and draft permit. The application may also be referred by the Commission for a public hearing if requested by affected parties.

  • Final Action on the Application
    The commission or TCEQ may issue the draft permit or revise the draft permit based on public comments or recommendations from the public hearing. If a permit is issued, you will need to comply with the provisions of the permit which include effluent limits and monitoring requirements, standard provisions, sludge provisions, and other requirements. In addition, you will be required to pay an Annual Water Quality Fee.

Additional Application Forms for Domestic Wastewater Permits

The following forms may be used to make changes to an existing permit such as transfer of ownership, emergency or temporary authorization, changes in name or address, notification of completion of the wastewater facility, or request to cancel a permit. These documents are made available in Portable Document Format (PDF).

Rules for Domestic Wastewater Permits

Some of the relevant Rules for Domestic Wastewater Permits are available at our website.

Feel free to contact us if you have questions.