Permit programs are among the basic tools the Agency uses to regulate wastewater discharges to Illinois streams and lakes. They provide facility owners and the public with a discharge specific interpretation of the law and regulations. They provide a specific set of effluent limits, a monitoring schedule and a reporting schedule. Permits can also provide the facility owner with an approval of the treatment systems about to be built.
The Bureau of Water operates several permit programs. The NPDES permit program, the state construction/operating permit program, agrichemical facility permit program in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Agriculture, and the Section 404 permits/Section 401 water quality certification program in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) has its origin in the Federal Clean Water Act. The program requires permits for the discharge of treated municipal effluent, treated industrial effluent, coal and non-coal mining discharges, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO's), public water supply treatment plant discharges, pesticide discharges, and stormwater. The permits establish the conditions under which the discharge may occur and establish monitoring and reporting requirements. This federal program is delegated to the states, with Illinois receiving delegation on October 23, 1977.
The state construction / operating permit program is based in the state Environmental Protection Act and the regulations developed by the Illinois Pollution Control Board. Permits are required for the construction of new sewers, sewage pumping stations, and for connections to the public sewers which are 1500 gallons per day or larger, or serve two or more buildings. Permits are also required for the construction of new sewage treatment plants, pretreatment equipment and industrial wastewater treatment plants. Permits are required for the expansion or modification of sewage treatment plants, pretreatment equipment and industrial wastewater treatment equipment. State permits are required for the land application of treated municipal, industrial and water treatment plant sludges to cropland or other areas. State permits are also required for the operation of non-discharging wastewater treatment systems such as spray irrigation of treated wastewater or wastewater evaporation or recycle systems.
New and existing public water supplies which intend to construct new water supply facilities, modify existing treatment facilities or equipment, or extend water mains are required to obtain a construction permit from the Division of Public Water Supplies. Public water suppliers are also required to obtain an operating permit before putting newly constructed equipment, facilities or mains into operation. Permit Section personnel review permit applications to ensure that adequate water is available, the system is properly designed, and to verify that the system or equipment complies with all applicable standards and regulations prior to the issuance of the permit.
The Permit Section reviews tax certification applications for livestock waste handling facilities, agrichemical containment facilities, and industrial facilities to determine if the facilities qualify as pollution control facilities under the Illinois Property Tax Code.