Water Quality Division – Wastewater Permitting Section 3
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
Water Quality Division – Wastewater Permitting Section
Domestic Wastewater Permit Application
The purpose of this application is to allow public and private owners of domestic wastewater treatment plants and surface water treatment plants to apply for a permit to discharge and dispose of domestic wastewater.
These instructions will answer the following questions.
Who shall complete and submit an application?
When must the completed application be submitted?
How do I complete the application?
How do I get more information and assistance in completing the application?
Texas Water Code Chapters 5 and 26
Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations
Primary Regulatory Citations
The TCEQ rules are found in Title 30 of the Texas Administrative Code (TAC). The TAC can be viewed through the Texas Secretary of State and the TCEQ web sites; the internet address for the TCEQ rules is http://www.tceq.texas.gov/rules/current.html.
In addition, printed copies of TCEQ rules are available through TCEQ Publications. The mailing address is TCEQ Publications, MC 195, PO Box 13087, Austin, Texas 78711-3087.The telephone number is (512) 239-0028. The fax number is (512) 239-4488. The initial copy of the rules is free.
Chapter 21 - Water Quality Fees
Chapter 39 - Public Notice
Chapter 40 - Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedure
Chapter 50 - Action on Applications and Other Resolutions
Chapter 55 - Requests for Reconsideration and Contested Hearings; Public Comment
Chapter 60 - Compliance History.
Chapter 80 - Contested Case Hearings
Chapter 213 - Edward Aquifer
Chapter 217 - Design Criteria for Sewerage Systems
Chapter 222 - Subsurface Area Drip Dispersal Systems
Chapter 281 - Applications Processing
Chapter 305 - Consolidated Permits
Chapter 307 - Texas Surface Water Quality Standards
Chapter 308 - Criteria and Standards for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
Chapter 309 - Domestic Wastewater Effluent Limitation and Plant Siting
Chapter 311 - Watershed Protection
Chapter 312 - Sludge Use, Disposal, and Transportation
TPDES - Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
TSS - Total Suspended Solids
USDA - United States Department of Agriculture
USGS - United States Geological Survey
WWTP - Wastewater Treatment Plant
2-Hour Peak Flow – The maximum flow sustained for a two-hour period during the period of daily discharge.
303(d)-List - A list of water bodies identified as impaired or threatened in accordance with the Federal Clean Water Act Section 303(d).
Act of God - If a person can establish that an event that would otherwise be a violation of a permit, an order, the rules adopted by the Commission, or the Texas Water Code was caused solely by an act of God, war, strike, riot, or other catastrophe, the event is not a violation of that permit, order, rule, or statute.
Annual Average Flow - The arithmetic average of all daily flow determinations taken within the preceding 12 consecutive calendar months.
Biochemical Oxygen Demand (5-day) - The amount of dissolved oxygen consumed in five days by biological processes breaking down organic matter.
Categorical Industrial User (CIU) - An industrial user that is subject to Categorical Pretreatment Standards according to 40 CFR §403.6 and 40 CFR Chapter I, Subchapter N, §405 - 471, which are technology-based standards developed by EPA setting industry-specific effluent limits. (A list of industrial categories subject to Categorical Pretreatment Standards is included in Worksheet 1.0.)
Classified Waters - Water bodies classified as segments with specific uses and criteria in Appendix A or D of 30 TAC §307.10 or the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards.
Class I Sludge Management Facility - Any publicly owned treatment works (POTW) identified under 40 CFR §403.10(a) as being required to have an approved pretreatment program and any other treatment works treating domestic sewage classified as a Class I sludge management facility by the regional administrator in conjunction with the executive director because of the potential for its sludge use or disposal practices to adversely affect public health and the environment.
Commercial User - Industrial Users who are not considered to be a significant single source of toxics because of their small size, generally low flow and insignificant pollutant levels or loadings, including but not limited to, radiator shops, car washes, small laundries, gasoline stations, dry cleaners and restaurants.
Commission - The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
Composite Sample - A sample made up of a minimum of three effluent portions or as specified in 30 TAC §319.9 collected in a continuous 24-hour period or during the period of daily discharge if less than 24 hours, and combined in volumes proportional to flow, and collected no closer than two hours apart. For purposes of the TPDES Pretreatment Program, a composite sample is defined in 40 CFR §403, Appendix E.
Continuous Discharge - A “discharge” which occurs without interruption throughout the operating hours of the facility, except for infrequent shutdowns for maintenance, process changes, or other similar activities.
Crop - Proposed permanent plant cover on the application site
Daily Average Concentration - The arithmetic average of all effluent samples, composite or grab as required by a permit, within a period of one calendar month, consisting of at least four separate representative measurements.
Daily Average Flow - The arithmetic average of all determinations of the daily discharge within a period of one calendar month. The daily average flow determination shall consist of determinations made on at least four separate days. If instantaneous measurements are used to determine the daily discharge, the determination shall be the average of all instantaneous measurements taken during a 24-hour period or during the period of daily discharge if less than 24 hours. Daily average flow determination for intermittent discharges shall consist of a minimum of three flow determinations on days of discharge.
Design Flow - The wet weather maximum 30-day average flow of wastewater.
Disinfection - A chemical or physical process that kills pathogenic organisms in water.
Discharge Monitoring Report - The EPA uniform national form, including any subsequent additions, revisions, or modifications for the reporting of self-monitoring results by permittees. Permittees with TPDES permits are required to submit this form. Monitoring results must be reported on an approved TPDES self-report form, DMR Form EPA No. 3320-1, signed and certified.
Disposal - The disposal, deposit, injection, dumping, spilling, leaking, or placing of any solid, liquid, or hazardous waste into or on any land or water so that such waste or any constituent thereof may enter the environment or be emitted into the air or discharged into any waters, including groundwater.
Domestic sewage - Waste and wastewater from humans or household operations that is discharged to a wastewater collection system or otherwise enters a treatment works.
Effluent - Wastewater, treated or untreated, that flows out of a treatment plant sewer.
Effluent Limitations - Restrictions established by the TCEQ or EPA on quantities, rates, and concentrations in wastewater discharges.
Executive Director - The Executive Director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality or his/her designee.
Existing Facility - Any facility used for the storage, processing, or disposal of domestic wastewater and which has obtained approval of construction plans and specifications as of March 1, 1990.
Facility - All contiguous land and fixtures, structures, or appurtenances used for storing, processing, or disposing of waste. (See also the definition relating to sewage sludge.)
Fixture of the Land - An item that has become so annexed to the realty that it is regarded as part of the land (i.e., ponds, lagoons).
Glide - Portion of the water column that resembles flow that would be found in a shallow canal. Water surface gradient over a glide is nearly zero, so velocity is slow, but flow is shore to shore without eddy development.
Grab Sample - An individual sample collected in less than 15 minutes.
Industrial User - Any industrial or commercial facility that discharges wastewater to the treatment works that is not domestic wastewater. Domestic wastewater includes wastewater from connections to houses, hotels, non-industrial office buildings, institutions, or sanitary waste from industrial facilities. A non-regulated IU does not meet the definition of SIU or CIU.
Industrial wastewater - Wastewater generated in a commercial or industrial process.
Interference - A discharge that, alone or in conjunction with a discharge or discharges from other sources, both: (1) Inhibits or disrupts the treatment system, its treatment processes or operations, or its sludge processes, use or disposal; and (2) Therefore is a cause of a violation of any requirement of the facility’s NPDES permit (including an increase in the magnitude or duration of a violation) or of the prevention of sewage sludge use or disposal in compliance with the following statutory provisions and regulations or permits issued thereunder (or more stringent State or local regulations): Section 405 of the Clean Water Act, the Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA) (including title II, more commonly referred to as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and including State regulations contained in any State sludge management plan prepared pursuant to subtitle D of the SWDA), the Clean Air Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, and the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act.
Intermittent Stream - A stream which has a period of zero flow for at least one week during most years. Where flow records are available, a stream with a two-year, seven-day flow of less than 0.1 cubic feet per second is considered intermittent.
Major Amendment of Permit - Any change that is not listed in 40 CFR §122.63 is considered a major amendment. A major amendment changes a substantive term, provision, requirement, or a limiting parameter of a permit.
Minimum Analytical Level - The lowest concentration at which a particular substance can be quantitatively measured with a defined precision level, using approved analytical methods. The minimum analytical level is not the published method detection limit for an EPA-approved analytical method, which is based on laboratory analysis of the substance in reagent (distilled) water. The minimum analytical level is based on analyses of the analyte in the matrix of concern (i.e., wastewater effluents). The commission will establish general minimum analytical levels that will be applicable when information on matrix-specific minimum analytical levels is unavailable.
Minor Amendment of Permit - An amendment to improve or maintain the permitted quality or method of disposal of waste or injection of fluid if there is neither a significant increase of the quantity of waste or fluid to be discharged or injected nor a material change in the pattern or place of discharge or injection. A minor amendment includes any other change to a permit issued under 30 TAC §305, Subchapter D that will not cause, or relax a standard or criterion which may result in a potential deterioration of quality of water in the state. A Minor amendment may also include, but is not limited to: except for TPDES permits, changing an interim compliance date in a schedule of compliance; provided the new date is not more than 120 days after the date specified in the existing permit and does not interfere with attainment of the final compliance date; and except for TPDES permits, requiring more frequent monitoring or reporting by the permittee.
Minor Modification of Permit - Under 40 CFR §122.63 and 30 TAC §305.62(c)(3), minor modification may only:
correct typographical errors
require more frequent monitoring or reporting by the permittee
change an interim compliance date in a schedule of compliance (not to exceed 120 days of date specified in existing permit and will not interfere with final compliance date)
change the construction schedule for a discharger which is a new source
delete a point source outfall when the discharge from that outfall is terminated
incorporate conditions of a POTW pretreatment program as enforceable conditions of the POTW’s permits
allow for a change in ownership or operational control of a facility where the Director determines that no other change in the permit is necessary
Monthly Effluent Report - Facilities with Texas Land Application Permits or Sludge Permits are required to complete this form or equivalent.
New Discharger - Any building, structure, facility or installation from which there is or may be a discharge of pollutants that did not commence the discharge of pollutants at a particular site prior to August 13, 1979, which is not a new source, and which has never received a finally effective NPDES permit for discharges at that site.
New Facility - Any domestic wastewater treatment facility which is not an existing facility.
Non-Process Wastewater – Wastewater, including sanitary and other non-regulated wastestreams, as referenced in 40 CFR §403.6(e)(1).
Nonsubstantial Modification - A modification initiated by a POTW with a TCEQ-approved pretreatment program that is not considered to be a significant modification as defined in 40 CFR §403.18(b).
Non-Stormwater Wastestreams - Wastewater that is listed in TXR050000, the TPDES Industrial Stormwater Multi-Sector General Permit, Part II, Section A, Item 6, as follows:
discharges from emergency firefighting activities and uncontaminated fire hydrant flushings (excluding discharges of hyperchlorinated water, unless the water is first dechlorinated and discharges are not expected to adversely affect aquatic life);
potable water sources (excluding discharges of hyperchlorinated water, unless the water is first dechlorinated and discharges are not expected to adversely affect aquatic life);
lawn watering and similar irrigation drainage, provided that all pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizer have been applied in accordance with the approved labeling;
water from the routine external washing of buildings, conducted without the use of detergents or other chemicals;
water from the routine washing of pavement conducted without the use of detergents or other chemicals and where spills or leaks of toxic or hazardous materials have not occurred (unless all spilled material has been removed);
uncontaminated air conditioner condensate, compressor condensate, and steam condensate, and condensate from the outside storage of refrigerated gases or liquids;
water from foundation or footing drains where flows are not contaminated with pollutants (e.g., process materials, solvents, and other pollutants);
uncontaminated water used for dust suppression;
springs and other uncontaminated groundwater;
incidental windblown mist from cooling towers that collects on rooftops or adjacent portions of the facility, but excluding intentional discharges from the cooling tower (e.g., “piped” cooling tower blowdown or drains); and other discharges described in Part V of TXR050000 that are subject to effluent guidelines and effluent limitations.
Nuisance Odor Prevention - The reduction, treatment, and dispersal of potential odor conditions that interfere with another’s use and enjoyment of property that are caused by or generated from a wastewater treatment plant unit, which conditions cannot be prevented by normal operation and maintenance procedures of the wastewater treatment unit.
Operator - The person responsible for the overall operation of a facility or beneficial use site.
Other Industrial User - IU that does not meet the definition of an SIU or CIU, but may discharge industrial wastewater which results in a pollutant loading that may have reasonable potential to adversely affect the operation and maintenance of a POTW.
Outfall - The point or location where waterborne waste discharges from a sewer system, treatment facility, or disposal system into or adjacent to water in the state.
Owner - The person who owns a facility or part of a facility.
Pass Through - A discharge which exits the publicly owned treatment works (POTW) into waters of the United States in quantities or concentrations that, alone or in conjunction with a discharge or discharges from other sources, is a cause of a violation of any requirement of the POTW’s NPDES permit (including an increase in the magnitude or duration of a violation).
Peak Flow - The highest two hour average flow rate expected to be delivered to the treatment units under any operational conditions, including periods of high rainfall (generally the two-year, 24 hour storm is assumed) and prolonged periods of wet weather.
Permit - A written document issued by the Commission which, by its conditions, may authorize the permittee to construct, install, modify, or operate, in accordance with stated limitations a specified facility for waste discharge, for solid waste storage, processing or disposal, or for underground injection.
Perennial Stream - Normally flowing stream.
Persistent Pools - Enduring pools containing sufficient habitat to maintain significant aquatic life uses.
Person - An individual, corporation, organization, government, governmental subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, partnership, or any other legal entity or association.
Pool - An area of the water column that has slow velocity and is deeper that a riffle, run, or glide. The water surface gradient of pools is very close to zero and their channel profile is usually concave. Pools often have eddies with varying directions of flow.
Process Wastewater- Any water which, during manufacturing or processing, comes into direct contact with or results from the production or use of any raw material, intermediate product, finished product, byproduct or waste product.
Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) - Any devices and systems used in the storage, treatment, recycling, and reclamation of municipal sewage or industrial wastes of a liquid nature which is owned by the State or a municipality (and including certain political subdivisions created by the State of Texas that provide regional municipal and industrial wastewater treatment). This definition includes sewers, pipes, and other conveyances only if they convey wastewater to a POTW treatment plant. For a complete legal definition of POTW, see 40 CFR §403.3(q).
Renewal of Permit - An extension of the effective date of a permit that authorizes the continued discharge or disposal of wastewater without substantive changes in term, provision, requirement, or limiting parameters of a permit.
Renewal of Permit With Changes (or Minor Amendment with Renewal)- An extension of the effective date of a permit that authorizes the continued discharge or disposal of wastewater without substantive changes in term, provision, requirement, or limiting parameters of a permit but with a change that would be considered a minor amendment if the applicant was not seeking to extend the expiration date of the permit.
Riffle - Portion of water column that is usually constricted where water velocity is fast due to a change in surface gradient. Stream depth is generally shallow and the channel profile is usually straight to convex. Surface flow through riffles usually ripples due to constriction, shallowness, and presence of irregular bottom substrates.
Riparian Zone - Area that includes the stream bank and flood plain.
Run - Portion of the water column that has rapid non-turbulent shore to shore flow. A run is too deep to be a riffle and flow is too fast to be a pool. The channel profile under a run is usually a uniform flat plane.
Significant Industrial User (SIU) - An industrial user defined in 40 CFR §403.3(v) as follows:
Subject to Categorical Pretreatment Standards according to 40 CFR §403.6 and 40 CFR Chapter I, Subchapter N; and
Any other industrial user that:
Discharges an average of 25,000 gallons per day or more of process wastewater to the treatment works (excluding sanitary, noncontact cooling, and boiler blowdown wastewater);
Contributes a process waste stream that makes up 5 percent or more of the average dry weather hydraulic or organic capacity of the treatment works; or
Is designated as such by the Control Authority as defined in 40 CFR §403.3(f) on the basis that the industrial user has a reasonable potential for adversely affecting the treatment works operation or for violating any pretreatment standard or requirement (according to 40 CFR §403.8(f)(6)).
Significant Industrial User - Non-Categorical - An industrial user defined in 40 CFR §403.3(v) but not subject to Categorical Pretreatment Standards according to 40 CFR §403.6 and 40 CFR Chapter I, Subchapter N.
Site - The land or water area where any facility or activity is physically located or conducted, including adjacent land used in connection with the facility or activity.
Stream Bend - Curved part of a stream. A well-defined bend has a deep outside area and shallow inside area accentuated by point bar development. Due to sharp bending, stream flow is forced to the outside and eddies develop on the inside of the bend. A moderately developed bend forces some flow to the outside and has only a slight change in depth across the channel. A poorly defined bend has no noticeable change in water depth across the channel, and stream flow is generally not forced to one side.
Stream Depth - The vertical height of the water column from the existing water surface level to the channel bottom.
Stream Width - The horizontal distance along the transect line from shore to shore along the existing water surface.
Substantial Modification - A modification as defined in 40 CFR §403.18(b) initiated by a POTW with a TCEQ-approved pretreatment program or a POTW developing a new pretreatment program.
Substrate - The mineral or organic material that forms the bottom of the stream.
Classification of substrate materials by particle size
Particle Size, inches
Particle size, cm
9.8 – 17.1 in
25 – 45 cm
2.4 – 9.8 in
6 – 25 cm
0.2 – 2.4 in
6 – 60 cm
0.002 – 0.2 in
0.06 – 6 mm
Subsurface Area Drip Dispersal System - a waste dispersal system that 1) uniformly injects processed wastewater effluent into the ground at a depth of not more than 48 inches; and 2) spreads the waste over the entire disposal area so that the soil hydrologic absorption rate and crop/plant root absorption rate are not exceeded. The following systems are not subsurface area drip dispersal systems: 1) wastewater disposal systems authorized under Chapter 285 of this title [30 TAC] (On-Site Sewage Facilities) and Texas Health and Safety Code 366; 2) disposal systems for oil and gas waste, tar sands, sulfur, brine from desalination plants and hazardous waste as defined by The Texas Health and Safety Code, Section 361.003; and/or 3) drainfields, leaching chambers, or other gravity trench systems.
Technically Based Local Limits - Specific discharge limits developed and enforced by POTWs upon industrial or commercial users to prevent interference and pass through and address the general and specific prohibitions, needs and concerns of a POTW. This will include consideration of its receiving waters, sludge contamination and/or worker health and safety problems.
Texas Land Application Permit - An authorization issued by the Commission for the discharge of waste adjacent to water in the state in compliance with the Texas Water Code.
Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System - The state program for issuing, amending, terminating, monitoring, and enforcing permits, and imposing and enforcing pretreatment requirements, under CWA, Sections 307, 402, 318, and 405, the Texas Water Code, and Texas Administrative Code regulations.
Total Dissolved Solids – A measure of the dissolved solids in wastewater or effluent.
Total Maximum Daily Load - The maximum amount of a pollutant that a lake, river, stream, or estuary can receive without seriously harming its beneficial uses. A detailed water quality assessment that provides the scientific foundation for a watershed action plan. A watershed action plan outlines the steps necessary to reduce pollutant loads in a certain body of water to restore and maintain uses or aquatic life.
Total Suspended Solids - A measure of the suspended solids in wastewater or effluent.
TPDES Wastewater Permit - An authorization issued by the Commission for the discharge of waste into water in the state in compliance with the Clean Water Act and the Texas Water Code.
Transect Line - A straight line, perpendicular to stream flow, between two points on opposite stream banks.
Tree Canopy - The uppermost spreading branchy layer of streamside trees that shades the water surface.
Unclassified Water - Smaller water bodies which are not designated as segments with specific uses and criteria in Appendix A or D of 30 TAC §307.10 or the Texas Surface Quality Standards.
Wastewater Treatment Facility (facility) - Wastewater facilities used in the conveyance, storage, treatment, recycling, reclamation and/or disposal of domestic sewage, industrial wastes, agriculture wastes, recreational wastes, or other wastes including sludge handling or disposal facilities under the jurisdiction of the Commission.
Wastewater Treatment Plant Unit - Any apparatus necessary for the purpose of providing treatment of wastewater (i.e., aeration basins, splitter boxes, bar screens, sludge drying beds, clarifiers, overland flow sites, treatment ponds or basins that contain wastewater, etc.). For purposes of compliance with the requirements of 30 TAC §309.13(e) (relating to Unsuitable Characteristics), this definition does not include off-site bar screens, off-site lift stations, flow metering equipment, or post-aeration structures needed to meet permitted effluent minimum dissolved oxygen limitations.
Wetlands - Those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater at a frequency and duration to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas.