Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System

Mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program (TPDES) was developed to mitigate the effects of storm water runoff and other surface water pollutants. The TPDES program ensures that businesses meet the requirements necessary to reduce and control their storm water runoff.

The EPA lays out requirements and standards for storm water mitigation under the Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP). The permit specifies what businesses must do to obtain coverage. The EPA issued the first MSGP in 1995, and has reissued updated permits throughout the years. The current MSGP was issued in August 14, 2011 and will expire on August 14, 2016.

Businesses and Industries Required to Obtain Coverage

The TCEQ determines which businesses are required to obtain coverage based on Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes, which are established by the federal government.

SIC codes are self-reported by the business when they register with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts and typically are defined as the activity that generates the most revenue for that business. If you do not know it you can look up your SIC code on the NAICS Association website.

When you registered your business with the comptroller's office you may have used a North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) code rather than an SIC code. If this is the case you can look up your SIC code on the OSHA website.

Once you've determined your business' SIC, use TCEQ's list of SIC codes requiring permit coverage (pdf) to see if your business is included.

Exceptions

Not all businesses that are regulated by the TPDES must develop a storm water plan. If your business operates completely indoors, or is otherwise protected from storm water runoff, you may be eligible for No Exposure Certification (NEC).

Other businesses, typically those that discharge process water directly into the storm sewer system, may obtain coverage through an Individual Wastewater Discharge Permit.