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Agency Activities: Water Quality (FY2013-2014)

The following summarizes the agency’s activities regarding development of surface water quality and drinking water standards, water quality monitoring, assessing surface water data, restoring water quality, bay and estuary programs, stormwater permitting, utility services, and the Clean Rivers Program. (Part of Chapter 2—Biennial Report to the 84th Legislature, FY2013-FY2014)

Water Quality

Developing Surface Water Quality Standards

Texas Surface Water Quality Standards

Under the federal Clean Water Act, every three years the TCEQ is required to review and, if appropriate, revise the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards. These standards are the basis for establishing discharge limits in wastewater permits, setting instream water quality goals for total maximum daily loads and providing criteria to assess instream attainment of water quality.

Water quality standards are set for major streams and rivers, reservoirs, and estuaries based on their specific uses: aquatic life, recreation, drinking water, fish consumption, and general. The standards establish water quality criteria such as temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, salts, bacterial indicators for recreational suitability, and a number of toxic substances.

The commission adopted revised water quality standards in fiscal 2014. Major revisions included:

  • Addition of Primary Contact Recreation 2 as a category of contact recreational use to more appropriately assign site-specific contact recreation uses and criteria.
  • Addition of industrial cooling areas and revisions to mixing zone provisions to aid implementation of thermal water quality standards in wastewater permitting.
  • Revisions to toxicity criteria to incorporate new data on toxicity effects and local water quality characteristics that affect toxicity.
  • Numerous revisions and additions to the uses and criteria of individual water bodies to incorporate new data and the results of recent use-attainability analyses.

The revised standards must be approved by the EPA before being applied to activities related to the Clean Water Act. The EPA acted on most of the 2010 revisions by July 2013. Although portions of the 2010 standards have yet to finish federal review, the TCEQ proceeded with its triennial review of the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards. None of the 2014 revisions had been acted upon by the EPA as of August 2014.

Use-Attainability Analyses

Management Strategies for Restoring Water Quality pie chart

The Surface Water Quality Standards Program also coordinates and conducts use-attainability analyses (UAAs) to develop site-specific uses for aquatic life and recreation. The UAA assessment is often used to reevaluate designated or presumed uses when the existing standards might be inappropriate for water bodies. As a result of aquatic-life UAAs, site-specific aquatic life uses or dissolved-oxygen criteria were adopted in the 2014 revision of water quality standards for more than 16 individual water bodies.

A use-attainability analysis (UAA) is a scientific assessment of the physical, chemical, biological, or recreational characteristics of a water body.

In 2009, the TCEQ developed recreational UAA procedures to evaluate and more accurately assign levels of protection for water recreation activities such as swimming and fishing. Since then, the agency has initiated more than 100 recreational UAAs to evaluate recreational uses of water bodies that have not attained their existing criteria.

Using results from recreation UAAs, the TCEQ adopted site-specific contact recreation criteria for 11 individual water bodies in the 2014 Texas Surface Water Quality Standards revision. Additional site-specific contact-recreation criteria will be included in future revisions to the standards.

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Clean Rivers Program

The Texas Clean Rivers Program is a unique state-fee-funded water quality monitoring, assessment, and public outreach program. Fifteen regional water agencies (primarily river authorities) perform monitoring, assessment, and outreach. The program affords the opportunity to approach water quality issues within a watershed or river basin at the local and regional levels through coordinated efforts among diverse organizations.

Accomplishments include doubling the water quality data available for TCEQ decision making and increasing public awareness of water quality issues at the local level.

Water Quality Monitoring

Surface water quality is monitored across the state in relation to human-health concerns, ecological conditions, and designated uses. The resulting data form a basis for policies that promote the protection and restoration of surface water in Texas.

Coordinated Routine Monitoring

Each spring, TCEQ employees meet with various water quality organizations to coordinate their monitoring efforts for the upcoming fiscal year. The TCEQ prepares the guidance and reference materials, and the Texas Clean Rivers Program partners assist with the local meetings. The available information is used by participants to select stations and parameters that will enhance the overall coverage of water quality monitoring, eliminate duplication of effort, and address basin priorities.

The coordinated monitoring network, which is made up of about 1,800 active stations, is one of the most extensive in the country. Coordinating the monitoring among the various participants ensures that available resources are used as efficiently as possible.

Continuous Water Quality Monitoring

The TCEQ has developed—and continues to refine—a network of continuous water quality monitoring sites on priority water bodies. The agency maintains 50 to 60 sites in its Continuous Water Quality Monitoring Network. At these sites, instruments measure basic water quality conditions every 15 minutes.

TCEQ Continuous Water Quality Monitoring Stations-July 2014 map

CWQMN monitoring data may be used by the TCEQ or other organizations to make water-resource management decisions, target field investigations, evaluate the effectiveness of water quality management programs such as TMDL implementation plans and watershed-protection plans, characterize existing conditions, and evaluate spatial and temporal trends. The data are posted at www.texaswaterdata.org.

The CWQMN is used daily to guide decisions on how to better protect certain segments of rivers or lakes. For example, from 2004 to 2014 the TCEQ developed a network of 14 CWQMN sites on the Rio Grande and the Pecos Rivers. The primary purpose of these CWQMN sites is to monitor levels of dissolved salts to protect the water supply in the Amistad Reservoir. The Pecos River CWQMN stations also supply information on the effectiveness of the Pecos River Watershed Protection Plan. These stations are operated and maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey through cooperative agreements with the TCEQ and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board. Other uses of such data include developing of water quality models.

Assessing Surface Water Data

Every even-numbered year, the TCEQ assesses water quality to determine which water bodies meet the surface water quality standards for their designated uses, such as contact recreation, support of aquatic life, or drinking water supply. Data associated with 200 different water quality parameters are reviewed to conduct the assessment. These parameters include physical and chemical constituents, as well as biological communities.

The assessment is published on the TCEQ website and submitted as a draft to the EPA as the Texas Integrated Report for Clean Water Act Sections 305(b) and 303(d) (found at www.tceq.texas.gov/waterquality/assessment/waterquality/assessment/12twqi/twqi12).

The report evaluates conditions during the assessment period and identifies the status of the state’s surface waters in relation to the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards. Waters that do not regularly attain one or more of the standards may require action by the TCEQ and are placed on the 303(d) List of Impaired Water Bodies for Texas (part of the Integrated Report). The EPA must approve this list before its implementation by the TCEQ’s water quality management programs.

Because of its large number of river miles, Texas can assess only a portion of its surface water bodies. The most important river segments and those considered at highest risk for pollution are assessed regularly. The 2012 Integrated Report was approved by the EPA in May 2013. In developing the report, water quality data was evaluated from 5,518 sites on 1,360 water bodies. The draft 2014 Integrated Report is under development and expected to be completed by spring 2015.

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Restoring Water Quality

Watershed Action Planning

Water quality planning programs in Texas have responded to the challenges of maintaining and improving water quality by developing new approaches to addressing water quality issues in the state. Watershed action planning is a process for coordinating, documenting, and tracking the actions necessary to protect and improve the quality of the state’s streams, lakes, and estuaries. The major objectives are:

  • To fully engage stakeholders in determining the most appropriate action to protect or restore water quality.
  • To improve access to state agencies’ water quality management decisions and increase the transparency of that decision making.
  • To improve the accountability of state agencies responsible for protecting and improving water quality.

Leading the watershed action planning process are the TCEQ, the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, and the Texas Clean Rivers Program. Involving stakeholders, especially at the watershed level, is key to the success of the watershed action planning process.

Total Maximum Daily Load Program

The Total Maximum Daily Load Program is one of the agency’s mechanisms for improving the quality of impaired surface waters. A TMDL is like a budget for pollution in that the TMDL determines the extent to which pollutant concentrations must be reduced to meet quality standards. A scientifically rigorous process is used to arrive at practicable targets for the pollutant reductions in TMDLs.

This program works with the agency’s water quality programs, other governmental agencies, and watershed stakeholders during the development of TMDLs and related implementation plans.

Bacteria TMDLs

Bacteria from human and animal wastes can indicate the presence of disease-causing microorganisms that pose a threat to public health. People who swim or wade in waterways with high concentrations of bacteria have an increased risk of contracting gastrointestinal illnesses. High bacteria concentrations can also affect the safety of oyster harvesting and consumption.

Of the 568 impairments listed for surface water segments in Texas, about half are for bacterial impairments to recreational water uses.

In the last two years, the TCEQ adopted 13 TMDLs for bacteria, and 35 more are under way. Stakeholders developed implementation plans, called I-Plans, for 159 contact recreation impairments, which the commission approved. The TCEQ is coordinating with stakeholders on development of I-Plans for an additional 43 recreation impairments. The timeframes for completing I-Plans are affected by stakeholder resources and reaching consensus. These additional I-Plans are expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

The TMDL Program has developed an effective strategy for developing TMDLs that protects recreational safety. The strategy, which relies on the engagement and consensus of the communities in the affected watersheds, has been initiated for 25 water bodies in three different river basins. Other actions are also taken to address bacteria impairments, such as recreational use–attainability analyses that ensure that the appropriate contact-recreation use is in place, as well as watershed-protection plans developed by stakeholders and primarily directed at nonpoint sources.

Implementation Plans

While a TMDL analysis is being completed, stakeholders are engaged in the development of an I-Plan, which identifies the steps necessary to improve water quality. I-Plans outline a three- to five-year plan of activities indicating who will carry out the activities, when they will be done, and how improvement will be gauged. Each plan contains a commitment by the stakeholders to meet periodically to review progress. Then they revise the plan to adjust to changing conditions.

Community Engagement

An example of successful community engagement is the Bacteria Implementation Group for the Houston-Galveston area. The BIG has 31 members and alternates who represent government, private industry, agricultural interests, conservation organizations, watershed groups, and the public. The BIG convened in 2009 to develop a single implementation plan for 72 bacterial impairments in the Houston-Galveston area. The commission approved the BIG I-Plan in 2013. The watersheds covered by the plan cover 2,200 square miles, including all or part of 10 counties and more than 55 municipalities. The BIG is still engaged in improving water quality throughout the area and will remain active during implementation of the plan. The BIG is also collaborating with other regional groups to bring implementation of similar bacteria TMDLs under the umbrella of BIG’s strategy.

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Programmatic and Environmental Success

Since 1998, the TCEQ has been developing TMDLs to improve the quality of impaired water bodies on the federal 303(d) List, which identifies surface waters that do not meet one or more quality standards. In all, the agency has adopted 239 TMDLs for 151 water bodies in the state.
Based on the 2012 Integrated Report, the TMDL Program has restored water quality to attain standards for 28 impairments to surface waters. These actions have:

  • restored fishing uses, conditions for aquatic life, and proper salinity in assessment units corresponding to 558 stream miles;
  • made water suitable as a source of drinking water for 3,004 acres of reservoir; and
  • restored conditions for aquatic life in 11 square miles of estuary.

From August 2012 to August 2014, the commission adopted one TMDL report (13 impairments) for the Lower West Fork Trinity River Watershed in the Dallas area, where bacteria had impaired the contact-recreation use. During that time, the commission also approved four I-Plans (159 impairments): three for the Houston-Galveston area and one for the Dallas–Fort Worth area.

Nonpoint Source Program

The Nonpoint Source Program administers the provisions of Section 319 of the federal Clean Water Act. Section 319 authorizes grant funding for states to develop projects and implement NPS management strategies.

The TCEQ, with the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, manages NPS grants to implement the goals identified in the Texas NPS Management Program, which must be approved by the TCEQ, the TSSWCB, the governor, and the EPA. The governor submitted an updated NPS Management Program to the EPA in June 2012, and approval was granted in August. The NPS Program annual report documents progress in meeting the long- and short-term goals of the management program.

The NPS Program annually applies for funding from the EPA. The award is split between the following: the TCEQ to address urban and non-agricultural NPS pollution, and the TSSWCB to address agricultural and silvicultural NPS pollution. The TCEQ receives $3 million to $4 million annually, with approximately $1 million dedicated to the TCEQ performance partnership grant. About 60 percent of overall project costs are federally reimbursable; the remaining 40 percent comes from state or local match. In fiscal 2014, $3.5 million was matched with $2.3 million, for a total of $5.8 million.

The TCEQ solicits applications to develop projects that contribute to the NPS Program management plan. Typically, 10 to 20 applications are received, reviewed, and ranked each year. Because the number of projects funded depends on the amount of each contract, the number fluctuates. Nine projects were selected in fiscal 2013, and 11 in fiscal 2014. Half of the federal funds awarded must be used for the implementation of watershed-based plans.

The NPS Program also administers provisions of Section 604(b) of the federal Clean Water Act. These funds are derived from State Revolving Fund appropriations under Title VI of the act. Using a legislatively mandated formula, money is passed through to councils of governments for planning purposes. In fiscal 2013, the program received $666,919 in funding from the EPA; in fiscal 2014, $616,000.

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Bay and Estuary Programs

The estuary programs are non-regulatory, community-based programs focused on conserving the sustainable use of bays and estuaries in the Houston-Galveston and Coastal Bend Bays regions through implementation of locally developed comprehensive conservation management plans. Plans for Galveston Bay and the Coastal Bend bays were established in the 1990s by a broad-based group of stakeholders and bay user groups. These plans strive to balance the economic and human needs of the regions.

The plans are implemented by two different organizations: the Galveston Bay Estuary Program, which is a program of the TCEQ, and the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, which is managed by a nonprofit authority established for that purpose. The TCEQ partially funds the CBBEP.

Additional coastal activities at the TCEQ include:

  • Participating in the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, a partnership linking Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. The TCEQ contributes staff time to implement the Governors’ Action Plan, focusing on several water quality concerns (pathogens, nutrients, and mercury, and improved comparability of data collection among the states), as well as education and outreach.
  • Serving on the Coastal Coordination Advisory Committee and participating in the implementation of the state’s Coastal Management Program to improve the management of coastal natural resource areas and to ensure long-term ecological and economic productivity of the coast.
  • Directing, along with the General Land Office and the Railroad Commission of Texas, the allocation of funds from the Coastal Impact Assistance Program.
  • Working with the General Land Office to gain full approval of the Coastal Nonpoint Source Program, which is required under the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments.

Galveston Bay Estuary Program

The GBEP provides ecosystem-based management that strives to balance economic and human needs with available natural resources in Galveston Bay and its watershed. Toward this goal, the program fosters cross-jurisdictional coordination among federal, state, and local agencies and groups, and cultivates diverse, public-private partnerships to implement projects and build public stewardship.

GBEP priorities include:

  • coastal habitat conservation
  • public awareness and stewardship
  • water conservation
  • stormwater quality improvement
  • monitoring and research

During fiscal 2013 and 2014, the GBEP worked to preserve wetlands and important coastal habitats that will protect the long-term health and productivity of Galveston Bay. To inform resources managers, the program provided ecosystem-based monitoring and research, and worked with partners to fill data gaps. The GBEP collaborated with local stakeholders to create watershed-protection plans and to implement water quality projects. Its staff also continued to develop the Back to the Bay campaign, which strives to increase public awareness and stakeholder involvement and to reinforce the priorities of the Galveston Bay Plan.

In fiscal 2013 and 2014, about 2,878 acres of coastal wetlands and other important habitats were protected, restored, and enhanced. Since 2000, the GBEP and its partners have protected, restored, and enhanced a total of 24,268 acres of important coastal habitats.

Through collaborative partnerships established by the program, $7.26 in private, local, and federal contributions was leveraged for every $1 the program dedicated to these projects.

Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program

During fiscal 2013 and 2014, the CBBEP implemented 65 projects, including habitat restoration and protection in areas totaling 6,675 acres. Based in the Corpus Christi area, the CBBEP is a voluntary partnership that works with industry, environmental groups, bay users, local governments, and resource managers to improve the health of the bay system. In addition to receiving program funds from local governments, private industry, the TCEQ, and the EPA, the CBBEP seeks funding from private grants and other governmental agencies. In the last two years, the CBBEP secured more than $8.5 million in additional funds to leverage TCEQ funding.

CBBEP priority issues focus on human uses, freshwater inflows, maritime commerce, habitat loss, water and sediment quality, and education and outreach. The CBBEP has also become active in water and sediment quality issues. CBBEP’s goal is to address 303(d) listed segments so they meet state water quality standards.

Other areas of focus:

  • Restoring the Nueces River Delta for the benefit of fisheries and wildlife habitat.
  • Environmental education and awareness for more than 8,000 students and teachers annually at the CBBEP Nueces Delta Preserve, delivering educational experiences and learning through discovery, as well as scientific activities.
  • Enhancement of colonial-waterbird rookery islands by implementing predator control, habitat management, and other actions to help stem the declining populations of nesting coastal birds.
  • The San Antonio Bay Partnership in which CBBEP assists local stakeholders to better characterize the San Antonio Bay system and develop plans to protect and restore wetlands and wildlife habitats.

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Drinking Water Standards

Of the 6,729 public water systems in Texas, about 4,640 are community water systems, mostly operated by cities. These systems serve about 96 percent of Texans. The rest are non-community water systems—such as those at schools, churches, factories, businesses, and state parks.

The TCEQ makes data tools available online so the public can find information on the quality of locally produced drinking water. The Texas Drinking Water Watch provides analytical results from the compliance sampling of public water systems. In addition, the Source Water Assessment Viewer (www.tceq.texas.gov/gis/swaview) shows the location of the sources of drinking water. The viewer also allows the public to see any potential sources of contamination, such as an underground storage tank.

All public water systems are required to monitor the levels of contaminants present in treated water and to verify that each contaminant does not exceed its maximum contaminant level, action level, or maximum residual disinfection level—the highest level at which a contaminant is considered acceptable in drinking water for the protection of public health.

In all, the EPA has set standards for 102 contaminants in the major categories of microorganisms, disinfection by-products, disinfectants, organic and inorganic chemicals, and radionuclides. The most significant microorganism is coliform bacteria, particularly fecal coliform. The most common chemicals of concern in Texas are disinfection by-products, arsenic, fluoride, and nitrate.

More than 47,000 water samples are analyzed each year just for chemical compliance. Most of the chemical samples are collected by contractors and then submitted to a certified laboratory. The analytical results are sent to the TCEQ and the public water systems.

Each year, the TCEQ holds a free symposium on public drinking water, which typically draws about 800 participants. The agency also provides technical assistance to public water systems to ensure that consumer confidence reports are developed correctly.

Any public system that fails to have its water tested or reports test results incorrectly faces a monitoring or reporting violation. When a public water system has significant or repeated violations of state regulations, the case is referred to the TCEQ’s enforcement program.

Violations of
Drinking-Water Regulations

  FY2013 FY2014
Enforcement Orders
Assessed Penalties
Offsets by SEPs

Note: The numbers of public water supply orders reflect enforcement actions from all sources in the agency.

The EPA developed the Enforcement Response Policy and the Enforcement Targeting Tool for enforcement targeting under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The TCEQ uses the Enforcement Targeting Tool to identify public water systems with the most serious health-based or repeated violations and those that show a history of violations across multiple rules. This strategy brings the systems with the most significant violations to the top of the list for enforcement action, with the goal of returning those systems to compliance as quickly as possible.

More than 95 percent of the state’s population is served by public water systems producing water that meets or exceeds the National Primary Drinking Water Standards.

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Engineering Plan and Specification Reviews

Public water systems are required to submit engineering plans and specifications for new water systems or for improvements to existing systems. The plans must be reviewed by the TCEQ before construction can begin. In fiscal 2013, the TCEQ completed compliance reviews of 2,003 engineering plans for public water systems. In fiscal 2014, the agency performed 1,696 such reviews.

Investor-owned utilities and water supply corporations are required to obtain certificates of convenience and necessity (CCNs) before providing service. A CCN is a state-issued TCEQ authorization that allows a retail public utility to furnish retail water or sewer utility service to a specified geographic area. Investor-owned utilities must also have an approved tariff that includes a rate schedule, service rules, an extension policy, and a drought contingency plan.

Until August 31, 2014, the TCEQ had original jurisdiction over the rates and services of investor-owned utilities; had appellate jurisdiction over the rates of water-supply corporations, water districts, and out-of-city customers of municipally owned retail public utilities; and had jurisdiction to issue, amend, or cancel a CCN.

On September 1, 2014, the TCEQ transferred responsibility for the water utility rate; the sale, transfer, and merger program; and the CCN programs to the Public Utility Commission of Texas. This transfer was required by the PUC’s 2013 Sunset legislation (House Bill 1600, as summarized in Chapter Three). Rulemaking at the TCEQ will be required to delete most of Title 30, Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 291, with most of the water and wastewater utility jurisdiction being transferred to the PUC.

After the transfer, the TCEQ’s remaining utility regulation is limited primarily to temporary management and receiverships of public water systems and water-availability determinations.

In fiscal 2013, the agency completed 162 CCN-related application reviews and 98 rate-related application reviews. In fiscal 2014, it completed 186 CCN-related application reviews and 181 rate-related application reviews.

The agency strives to ensure that all water and sewer systems have the capability to operate successfully. The TCEQ contracts with the Texas Rural Water Association to assist utilities with financial, managerial, and technical expertise. About 570 assignments for assistance to utilities were made through this contract in fiscal 2013, as were 591 assignments in fiscal 2014.

In addition to contractor assistance, the TCEQ certifies utilities as regional providers. With this certification, utilities are eligible for tax-exempt status for system construction and improvements. More than 400 utilities had been certified as regional providers, as of August 2014.

After September 1, 2014, the TCEQ retained its jurisdiction over the creation of, and bond reviews for, water districts such as municipal utility districts, water control and improvement districts, and freshwater supply districts.

The agency reviews the creation of applications for general-law water districts and bond applications for water districts to fund water, sewer, and drainage projects. In fiscal 2013, the agency reviewed 417 water-district applications; in fiscal 2014, 415 water-district applications.

Stormwater Permitting

The Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) was created in 1998 when the EPA transferred authority of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System for water quality permits in the state to Texas. This included stormwater permits.

As the permitting authority, the TCEQ has renewed the federal permits as they expired and developed new stormwater permits to conform to updated federal and state requirements. A permittee can obtain authorization for stormwater discharges through an individual or general permit.

The TCEQ receives thousands of applications a year for coverage under TPDES stormwater general permits. To handle the growing workload, the agency has incrementally introduced online applications for some of these permitting and reporting functions. The agency has also outsourced the management of incoming paper notices of intent (NOIs), notices of termination (NOTs), and no-exposure certifications (NECs) for some of these general permits.

Stormwater permits are issued under the categories of industrial, construction, and municipal.

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The multi-sector general permit regulates stormwater discharges from industrial facilities. The permit groups similar industrial activities into sectors, with requirements specific to each of 29 sectors.

Facilities must develop and implement a stormwater pollution prevention plan, conduct regular monitoring, and use best management practices to reduce the discharge of pollutants in stormwater. The permit also contains limitations for certain discharges—specific pollutants and concentrations that cannot be exceeded. The TCEQ receives about 160 NOIs, NECs, and NOTs a month for industrial facilities. This general permit was renewed and amended in August 2011.


The construction general permit was developed for stormwater runoff associated with construction activities, which includes clearing, grading, or excavating land at building projects such as homes, schools, roads, and businesses. The size of a construction project determines the level of regulation. Construction disturbing five or more acres is labeled a “large” activity, while construction disturbing one to five acres is termed “small.”

Smaller projects are also regulated if they are a part of a larger common plan of development or sale covering more than one acre. Construction operators at large sites are required to apply for coverage under the general permit by filing an NOI. Operators at small sites must meet permit requirements, but are not required to submit an NOI. The TCEQ receives about 864 NOIs and 300 NOTs a month for large construction activities. This general permit was reissued in March 2013. After reissuance, the TCEQ received about 4,300 NOIs for renewal and 3,200 NOIs for new authorizations.

Stormwater Permits

  Number Affected
Applications Received
(mo. ave.)
Applications Received
Fiscal 2013
Fiscal 2014
Fiscal 2013
Fiscal 2014
Fiscal 2013
Fiscal 2014
Industrial (facilities)a
Construction (large sites)b
MS4s (public entities)c

a Includes No Exposure Certifications (NECs).
b The Construction General Permit numbers reflect the permit renewal that was conducted in fiscal 2013.
c The Phase II Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) General Permit was renewed in December 2013. The renewal period ended on June 11, 2014. Applications received from January—August 2014 and will be issued in fiscal 2015. This includes waivers that were submitted.


The TCEQ also regulates discharges from municipal separate storm-sewer systems (MS4s). This category applies to a citywide system of ditches, curbs, gutters, and storm sewers that collect runoff. It also includes other publicly owned systems, such as controls for drainage from state roadways.

The TCEQ is responsible for renewing previously issued individual federal permits for discharges from medium and large MS4s. These systems are operated by cities and other public authorities, such as the Texas Department of Transportation, in areas in which the 1990 U.S. Census showed a count of 100,000 people or more. Thirty-three municipalities and other public authorities fall into this category. The TCEQ has issued 26 individual MS4 permits to medium and large MS4s. Some of these entities are permitted together under one permit.

The general permit regulating small MS4s located in urbanized areas was reissued in December 2013. The permit requires a regulated MS4 operator to develop and implement a stormwater management plan than includes minimum requirements for public education, outreach and involvement; minimum control measures for illicit-discharge detection and elimination; control of construction stormwater runoff; post-construction stormwater management; and pollution prevention and good housekeeping. In addition, MS4s serving a population of more than 100,000 need to address industrial sources. After reissuance of the permit, about 680 NOIs (new authorizations and renewals) and 60 applications for waivers were received.

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