Federal & State Regulations


In 1972, Congress amended the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (otherwise known as the Clean Water Act (CWA)) to prohibit the discharge of any pollutant to waters of the United States from a point source unless the discharge is authorized by a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The NPDES program is a national permit program designed to regulate point source discharges. Since its introduction, the NPDES permit program is responsible for significant improvements to our nation's water quality. The NPDES permit program is currently administered by the State of Nevada through the Division of Environmental Protection.

State of Nevada NPDES Permits

As authorized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Water Act, the NPDES permit program controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States. Point sources are discrete conveyances such as pipes or man-made ditches. Individual homes that are connected to a municipal system, use a septic system, or do not have a surface discharge do not need an NPDES permit; however, industrial, municipal, and other facilities must obtain permits if their discharges go directly to surface waters.

Stormwater discharge permits are required for certain activities by US EPA regulations at 40 CFR § 122.26(b)(14). In compliance with this regulation, the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP)  issues three different types of permits.

1. National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Permit

The Clean Water Act of 1987 established requirements for storm water discharges for each state in the US under the NPDES program. In response to those requirements, the NDEP issued a permit to the local municipalities (Henderson, Las Vegas, and North Las Vegas) and Clark County (collectively called the Permittees) for municipal storm water discharges, commonly referred to as the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System or "MS4."

This permit allows stormwater discharges to storm water conveyances (including roads with drainage systems, municipal streets, catch basins, curbs, gutters, ditches, manmade channels, or storm drains) owned and operated by one of the Permittees.

Las Vegas Valley NPDES MS4 Permit

2. Multi-Sector General Permits (Industrial)

Activities that take place at industrial facilities, such as material handling and storage, are often exposed to stormwater. The runoff from these activities discharges industrial pollutants into nearby storm sewer systems and water bodies. This may adversely impact water quality.

The NDEP requires industrial facilities to obtain a Multi-sector General Permit if they are defined as “stormwater discharges associated with industrial activity” under the 11 categories listed in 40 CFR §122.26 (b)(14)(i)-(xi). See the following link
Who's Covered  for the NDEP website that discusses the 11 categories.

Operators of industrial facilities or sites with activities included in one of these 11 categories must obtain coverage under an NDEP Multi-sector General Permit unless conditionally excluded. Exclusions include any Mineral Industry Facilities defined within SIC code 10 under Category III of 40 CFR §122.26(b)(14); or Construction activity defined under Category X of 40 CFR §122.26(b)(14). If an industrial facility discharges wastewater associated with industrial activities, then that facility will need an individual discharge permit in addition to their ISW Permit. For more information on Nevada’s Industrial Stormwater Permit requirements.

3. NPDES Construction Stormwater General Permits

Stormwater runoff from construction activities can have a significant impact on water quality, contributing sediment and other pollutants exposed at construction sites. The NDEP requires operators of both large and small construction sites to obtain authorization to discharge stormwater under an NPDES Construction Stormwater General  permit.

The submittal of a Notice of Intent for inclusion under the State of Nevada's Construction Stormwater General permit and a stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) is required for all soil disturbing activities (including grading, trenching, demolition), where one (1) or more acres will be disturbed, and have a discharge of stormwater to a receiving water (e.g., wetlands, creeks, unnamed creeks, rivers, marine waters, ditches, estuaries), and/or storm drains that discharge to a receiving water. Even if you plan on retaining all stormwater on site, but detention facilities need to be constructed to retain the stormwater, permit coverage is required. For more information about construction permits, see the link below: