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Questions or Comments: wqap@tceq.texas.gov

What's in Wastewater Permit Application Packages

Details about the documents included in pending application packages for wastewater permits. Also describes the timeframe and who is responsible for each step in the process.

Application Packages

Administratively Complete Package

When TCEQ determines that a wastewater permit application contains complete responses to all required questions in the administrative report and all necessary attachments, we will declare it administratively complete. The admin. package will include:

  • Cover page
  • Application summary (in plain language)
  • First public notice (Notice of Receipt of Application and Intent to Obtain a Permit)
  • Original permit application
  • Supplemental application materials (if applicable)

Technically Complete Package

TCEQ also reviews the technical elements of the admin. package and—using recommendations from those reviews—prepares a draft permit. A tech package will contain:

  • Cover page
  • Application summary (in plain language)
  • Second public notice (Notice of Application and Preliminary Decision)
  • Draft permit
  • Technical summary or fact sheet
  • Original permit application
  • Supplemental application materials (if applicable)

Public Meeting Notice

  • Cover page
  • Notice

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Application Package Documents

Application Summary

Applicants must accurately summarize what they are applying for in plain language.  The application summary must be provided in English, and other languages when required, and include all the following information:

  • The function of the proposed plant or facility.
  • The expected wastewater output or discharge of the proposed plant or facility.
  • The expected pollutants that may be discharged or land applied by the proposed plant or facility.
  • How the applicant will control those pollutants, so that the proposed plant will not have an adverse impact on human health or the environment.

They must submit the activity summary with the application and display copies of the activity summary and application materials—in the public viewing locations provided in the notice.

TCEQ will make the summary and the application materials available for viewing and download online on our webpages for Pending Wastewater Permits within 7 calendar days of the application being declared administratively complete.

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Public Notices

An applicant for a wastewater discharge or land application permit must publish two public notices in the newspaper with the largest general circulation in the county where the facility is or will be located. The notice must be provided in English and—when required—other languages. For detailed information about the notice, public comments, and how TCEQ responds to comments, see our webpage Participating in Environmental Permitting and Title 30, Texas Administrative Code (30 TAC), Chapters 39, 50, 55, and 281.

First Public Notice—NORI

This first notice, the “Notice of Receipt of Application and Intent to Obtain a Water Quality Permit” (NORI) (required by 30 TAC, Section 39.411), includes all the following information:

  • Application or permit number.
  • Agency name and address and the telephone number of an agency contact for more information.
  • Name, address, and telephone number of the applicant.
  • How to contact the applicant for further information.
  • A brief description of the location and nature of the proposed activity.
  • Whether the permit action is consistent with the Coastal Management Program goals and policies, if applicable.
  • The name and address of public viewing locations where a copy of the application is available for review and copying.
  • A brief description of public comment procedures and how the public may participate in the final permit decision and, if applicable, how to request a public meeting, contested case hearing, reconsideration of the executive director's decision, or a notice and comment hearing.
  • A brief explanation about how to get added to a mailing list to receive more information about the application.

The applicant must publish the NORI within 30 calendar days of TCEQ declaring the application administratively complete. The applicant must also place a copy of the notice and the application materials in the public viewing location or locations provided in the notice. TCEQ’s Office of the Chief Clerk will mail a notice as required.  

TCEQ will provide the NORI and application materials on our Pending Wastewater Permits webpages within 7 calendar days of the application being declared administratively complete.

Second Public Notice—NAPD

This second notice, “Notice of Application and Preliminary Decision” (NAPD) (also required by 30 TAC Section 39.411) includes all of the following:

  • Application or permit number.
  • Agency name and address and the telephone number of an agency contact for more information.
  • Name, address, and telephone number of the applicant.
  • How to contact the applicant for more information.
  • A brief description of the location and nature of the proposed activity.
  • A summary of the executive director's preliminary decision and whether the executive director has prepared a draft permit.
  • Whether the permit action is consistent with the Coastal Management Program goals and policies, if applicable.
  • The name and address of public viewing location locations where a copy of the application is available for review and copying.
  • A brief description of public comment procedures and how to participate in the final permit decision and, if applicable, how to request a public meeting, contested case hearing, reconsideration of the executive director's decision, a notice, and comment hearing.
  • The deadline to file comments or request a public meeting.
  • A brief explanation of how to get added to a mailing list to receive more information about the application.

The applicant must publish the NAPD within 45 calendar days of TCEQ declaring the application technically complete. The applicant must also place a copy of the second notice, application materials, draft permit, and technical summary or fact sheet, in the public viewing locations provided in the notice.

TCEQ will also provide these documents on our webpages about Pending Wastewater Permits within 7 calendar days of the application being declared technically complete.

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Original Permit Application

This is the initial application submitted to TCEQ to obtain a water quality permit. For this part of the package, you may find a core data form, administrative and technical reports, and a public involvement plan. TCEQ provides various application forms specific to the applicant’s activity so you may also see associated attachments required by the reports and forms.

Supplemental Application Materials

TCEQ may request additional administrative or technical application materials from the applicant.

Draft Permit

The executive director prepares a draft permit per Texas Water Code (TWC), Chapter 26 which authorizes TCEQ to set permit requirements that comply with state and federal water quality rules and regulations before an entity may discharge treated wastewater into or adjacent to surface water in the State. We will file the draft permit with the Office of the Chief Clerk where it will be available for public review.

A draft permit must contain:

Cover Page Provides information on the facility’s operation, discharge route, permit term, a space for the date the permit is issued, and a space for the commissioner’s signature. This cover page is not signed however and doesn’t have an issued date because it is a tentative decision and has not been approved or finalized.

Effluent Limitations and Monitoring Requirements Provides information for each disposal location or outfall, including a table with proposed treated wastewater or effluent characteristics, discharge limitations and minimum self-reporting requirements like monitoring locations, parameters monitored, and frequency of sampling.

Definitions and Standard Permit Conditions Establishes the characteristics and standards for waste discharge permits, including sewage sludge, and those sections of Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations (40 CFR), Part 122 that TCEQ has adopted by reference.

Other Requirements Establishes additional narrative requirements specifically for that facility’s operation such as: mixing zones, definitions, additional testing requirements, etc. This section is considered a continuation of the Effluent Limitations and Requirements section.

A draft permit may contain:

Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) Testing (also known as Biomonitoring) Establishes testing requirements where the discharge’s effluent has a significant potential for toxicity. WET testing directly measures a discharge’s effects on specific test organisms' ability to survive, grow and reproduce when exposed to the effluent at the critical flow conditions.

Biomonitoring requirements may be included in draft permits for industrial discharges and domestic wastewater based on classification, flow, or potential for toxicity.

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Fact Sheet

The executive director prepares a Fact Sheet and a Preliminary Decision (referred to together as a Fact Sheet) for Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) permits for facilities that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies as major—for industrial discharges—and for major domestic facilities with a design flow of one million gallon per day (MGD) or greater.

The Fact Sheet provides detailed information about the proposed facility, discharge, and receiving waters and describes any principal and significant factual, legal, methodological, and policy questions considered in preparing the draft permit. Specifically, it describes:

  • Type of facility.
  • Proposed discharge route.
  • Designated uses for the receiving body (or bodies) of water.
  • Antidegradation determination (applicable to new and major amendment permit applications).
  • Summary of self-reported analytical data (applicable to renewal and major amendment permit applications).
  • Calculated water quality-based effluent limitations.
  • Calculated technology-based effluent limitations.
  • Comparison of existing effluent limitations with newly calculated water quality-based effluent limitations and technology-based effluent limitations (applicable to renewal and major amendment permit applications).
  • Any amendments requested on an existing permit, regardless of whether the request is proposed to be granted or denied by the Executive Director.
  • Why each requirement or effluent limitation was included in the draft permit.
  • How the draft permit will ensure the protection of water quality, human health, and the environment.

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Technical Summary

The executive director prepares a Technical Summary and Preliminary Decision (also referred to as the Technical Summary or Statement of Basis) for facilities where a Fact Sheet is not required. This includes minor facilities as classified by EPA or domestic facilities with less than one MGD.

The Technical Summary contains similar information as the Fact Sheet, including information about the proposed facility, discharge, and receiving waters and any principal and significant factual, legal, methodological, and policy questions considered in preparing the draft permit; however, the Statement of Basis is less detailed.

Also like the Fact Sheet, The Technical Summary will provide:

  • A brief description of any amendments requested on an existing permit, regardless of whether the request is proposed to be granted or denied by the executive director.
  • The reason each requirement or effluent limitation was included in the draft permit.
  • How the draft permit will ensure the protection of water quality, human health, and the environment.