Skip to Content
Questions or Comments:

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 (TLAPs).

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:

  • 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 a permit is needed, the type of permit needed, as well as the information to provide in a permit application package.

  • Find out whether the water body receiving the discharge is listed as impaired in the Texas Integrated Report of Surface Water Quality. New discharges into impaired water bodies may not be allowed or may come with stringent requirements.

  • Core Data Form ( Instructions) (More information can be found on the TCEQ Central Registry Core Data Form - Instructions and Guidance web page.) Complete and submit the Core Data Form as part of your application. It requests basic information about the owner, the operator, and the site.

  • A Public Involvement Plan Form (TCEQ-20960) – Public Involvement Plan Instructions (TCEQ-20960-inst). Complete and submit as part of your application. Note: only required for new applicants or major amendment applications received on or after November 1, 2022

  • Application Fees. As part of the application package, you will need to pay an application fee. For more information on fees, see the "How Much Is the Application Fee?" section in the instructions for completing the Industrial Wastewater Permit Application.

  • Complete and submit a permit application package at least 330 days before the proposed discharge begins or as soon as possible:

    • Applicants are encouraged to submit an industrial application through the State of Texas Environmental Electronic Reporting System (STEERS). Please visit this help page for guides on creating an account and electronically submitting an application for the ePermits Water Quality Individual Permit program (EPR_WQIP).
    • Alternatively, applicants may submit a completed physical application (i.e., paper copy) and submit an electronic copy of the application via TCEQ’s file transfer protocol (FTP) server. If a completed physical application is submitted, an electronic copy of the application must be uploaded via TCEQ’s FTP server for the application to be considered complete.
  • Industrial wastewater permits (excluding oil & gas exploration and production wastewater permits -  see the applications for oil and gas exploration and production wastewater permits further down on this same page.)

  • Oil & gas exploration and production wastewater permits:

After 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 the initial notice into Spanish. After being notified by the Water Quality Division that it is time to issue the initial public notice, you may need to translate it (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 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. The process the technical review is a part of includes public notices and may include a public meeting and a contested case hearing.

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

Once TCEQ and applicant have resolved differences over requirements in the draft permit, the applicant must publish a second 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, request a public meeting, or request a contested case hearing on the draft permit.

Depending on the outcome of any 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, based on the version of the permit that is active on September 1st.

See our Industrial Permit Rules for links to the regulatory law upon which the applications and permits are based.

Contact us if you have questions.