Questions or Comments: BioTool@tceq.texas.gov

Sewage Sludge (Biosolids) Reporting: NETBIO

Beginning Summer 2021, sludge DMRs will not be available in NetDMR. All sludge reporting must be submitted electronically using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) NPDES eReporting Tool for Biosolids (“NETBIO”) for reports with monitoring periods ending in FY21.

NEWIf your Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) permit requires you to submit a Sewage Sludge/Biosolids Annual Program Report under 30 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Chapter 312 – including sludge discharge monitoring reports (DMRs) and a supplemental paper report – the reporting tool you use to report this information has changed.

What is NETBIO?

NETBIO is an internet-based system for submitting NPDES program reports, such as the Biosolids Annual Report and Biosolids/Sludge DMRs.

How do I access NETBIO?

NETBIO is part of the EPA’s Central Data Exchange (CDX). Go to cdx.epa.govExit the TCEQ to log into CDX or to create an accountExit the TCEQ. If you already have a CDX account, you can add the NETBIO toolExit the TCEQ (aka, program service) to your account.

Is there training available for NETBIO?

Yes. Visit the EPA’s website to view recordings of previous biosolids training webinarsExit the TCEQ or to access the Biosolids User GuideExit the TCEQ.

How do I know if my sludge report was successfully submitted and received by TCEQ?

Reports that were successfully submitted in NETBIO are available on EPA’s ECHO website. To view your report, follow the steps provided below.

  • Go to EPA’s ECHO Facility SearchExit the TCEQ page.
  • Select "Water" from the “Choose a Search Type” drop-down box.
  • Select "Biosolids Annual Report" from the "Choose a Water Program Area” drop-down box.
  • Enter your TPDES permit number in the "Facility ID Number" box.
  • Select "2021" from the "Biosolids Annual Reporter" drop-down box.
  • Click the "Search" button.

Which role should I choose when registering in NETBIO?

  • Signatory: Can sign/submit, manage, prepare, and edit all forms.
  • Preparer: Can prepare all forms on behalf of the Signatory at the facility. However, Preparers cannot sign or submit the report. All annual reports prepared by a Preparer must be routed to a Signatory to sign and submit the report.

What is the monitoring/reporting period?

Effective April 23, 2020, 30 TAC 312.48Exit the TCEQ was updated to include a new reporting period – from Sept. 1 of the previous year to Aug. 31 of the current year.

Since the reporting period changed, do we need to report Aug. 1, 2020 to Aug. 31, 2020 data?

The reporting period in Chapter 312 was revised in April 2020. You should report for Sept. 1, 2020 to Aug. 31, 2021. You do not need to report August 2020 data.

When is the report due?

The deadline to submit for the Sept. 1, 2020 to Aug. 31, 2021 reporting period is Sept. 30, 2021 (30 TAC 312.48Exit the TCEQ).

Will an extension be granted for reports due Sept. 30, 2021?

Neither the rule nor permit allow for extension requests.

Do I need to send my reports to the TCEQ via mail?

Texas requires that you submit your annual report electronically. If you submit the report electronically, you no longer need to submit a paper annual report. Both the TCEQ central office and regional office staff will have access to the electronic report.

If you are unable to report electronically, you can submit a Request for Electronic Reporting Waiver form (TCEQ-20754).

I have signatory authority in NetDMR. Can I just add NETBIO or do I need additional approvals?

You can add the NETBIO: NeT Biosolids program service to your CDX account and select the “Signatory” role.

Can signatory authority be delegated for this report?

The signature for this annual report can be delegated to an individual or a position having responsibility for the overall operation of the regulated facility or an individual or position having overall responsibility for environmental matters. This is similar to the delegation approach used for Discharge Monitoring Report (DMR) submissions. Texas uses a paper form (TCEQ-20431) to document the signature delegation.

Am I a Class I sludge management facility?

Class I sludge management facility means any Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) identified under 40 CFR 403.8(a)Exit the TCEQ as being required to have an approved pretreatment program (including such POTWs located in a State that has elected to assume local program responsibilities pursuant to 40 CFR 403.10(e)Exit the TCEQ and any other treatment works treating domestic sewage classified as a Class I sludge management facility by the Regional Administrator, or, in the case of approved State programs, the Regional Administrator in conjunction with the State Director, because of the potential for its sludge use or disposal practices to adversely affect public health and the environment.

What is the formula for converting metric tons into dry metric tons?

See page 45 of the Biosolids User GuideExit the TCEQ for formulas for making this conversion.

Our facility did not produce any sludge/biosolids during the current monitoring period. How do I report in NETBIO?

When prompted, complete the following fields according to the answers outlined below.

Program Information

If your facility is a POTW, please provide the estimated total amount of sewage sludge produced at your facility for the reporting period (in dry metric tons). If your facility is not a POTW, please provide the estimated total amount of biosolids produced at your facility for the reporting period (in dry metric tons).

Enter 0.

Treatment Processes

Physical Treatment Operations

Leave all available options blank.

Other Processes to Manage Sewage Sludge

Select the “Other Treatment Process” option and enter “no sludge production this monitoring period” in the text box provided.

Analytical Methods

Did you or your facility collect sewage sludge or biosolids samples for laboratory analysis?

            Select “No Analytical Methods Used.”

Biosolids/Sewage Sludge Management

SSUID Section

Management Practice Type

            Select “Other Management Practice.”

Management Practice Detail

            Select "Other."

Handler, Preparer, or Applier Type

            Select "On-Site Owner or Operator."

Pathogen Class

            Select "Not Applicable."

Do you have any deficiencies to report for this SSUID?

            Select an appropriate option.

Amount (dry metric tons)

            Enter 0.

Other Management Practice Detail Description

            Enter “no sludge production this monitoring period.” 

Click the “Done” button and then click “Submit.”

If I send my sludge to a municipal landfill, do I need to include Pathogen Class when reporting in NETBIO?

No. You may select "Not Applicable" from the Pathogen Class drop-down menu.

On the truck hauling template, what information is expected in the “Certification Statement” column?

The certification statement you enter depends on your method of disposal and the requirements outlined in your permit. For example: 

  • If you are land applying bulk sewage sludge to the land meeting class A, Class AB or B pathogen reduction and the cumulative loading rates in Table 2, or class B pathogen reduction and the pollutant concentrations in Table 3 (Section II), you will report the certification statement listed in either 30 TAC 312.47 (a)(4)(A)(ii) or 30 TAC 312.47(a)(5)(A)(ii) as applicable.
  • If you are disposing all in a municipal solid waste landfill (Section III), you need to provide a certification statement that the sewage sludge meets the requirements of 30 TAC 330 concerning the quality of the sludge disposed a municipal solid waste landfill.
  • If the sludge is taken to another facility for further processing (section IV), a certification statement is not required, and the “Certification Statement” column can be left blank.

On the truck hauling template, does every load hauled need to be listed on the spreadsheet?

Yes. Every load that was hauled should be documented in the provided spreadsheet.

What TCEQ registration number is the form referencing?

The referenced TCEQ registration number is the TCEQ transporter registration number. For help locating the number, visit the TCEQ’s Sludge Transporter Query webpage. Sludge transporters have a five-digit registration number that starts with a 2.

I have completed the “Biosolids/Sewage Sludge Management”/Management Practice Type: Other Management Practice and selected “Disposal in a Municipal Landfill.” Now the form is asking for more compliance monitoring events than are required in my permit. What do I enter for the compliance events that are not required?

  • If the “Compliance Monitoring Periods” section of the form is not already open, click the red error marker that appears under the “Monitoring Data Info” column.
  • If you do not have data for a Compliance Monitoring Event, select “No” under “Do you have analytical results to report for this monitoring period?”
  • Select an applicable option from the “Please indicate the reason for reporting no data for this compliance monitoring period” drop-down box.

How do I change information after I have submitted the 2021 report?

You can amend the report by following the steps below.

  • Sign into NETBIO.
  • Navigate to your facility.
  • Click the “Annual Reports” tab.
  • Click the “Actions” drop-down box.
  • Select the “Change” option. (You may need to wait one hour after the initial report was submitted before this option is activated.)
  • Confirm that you would like to edit your report by selecting the “Continue” button.
  • Edit your report as needed.
  • Continue the necessary steps to certify your revised report.

I've encountered an error when I attempt to certify my report. How can I resolve the issue?

  • Follow the guidance below to certify your report.
    • Sign into NETBIO.
    • Navigate to your facility.
    • Click the “Annual Reports” tab.
    • Click the “Actions” drop-down box and select "back to draft."
    • Click the “Actions” drop-down box again and select "edit."
    • Scroll down the annual report until you see the "next" button.
    • Select the applicable certification option.
  • If that doesn't resolve the error, clear your internet browser’s cache and cookies. Instructions for Chrome are available onlineExit the TCEQ.
  • If you continue to receive the error message, please take a screenshot of the error and report the issue to NPDESeReporting@epa.gov.

What do I do if I encounter the following error message in NETBIO (“Object reference not set to an instance of an object.”)?

Where can I get help?

For questions, please contact BioTool@tceq.texas.gov. Guidance on use of the tool can be found on EPA’s Biosolids Training MaterialExit the TCEQ website.