How to Apply for an NPDES permit


The DEQ's Water Resources Division (WRD), has launched a new information system called MiWaters.  MiWaters is a state-of-the-art, comprehensive, Web-based permitting and compliance database.  The system will replace over 25 applications and databases currently used by the WRD, some of which are over 30 years old.

MiWaters establishs a streamlined electronic permitting process, allowing Michigan to fulfill federal electronic reporting requirements and providing an online component for access to public information.  The focus of MiWaters is permitting and compliance, including National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permits (including storm water permits) and Groundwater Discharge Permits.   It will also include electronic reporting of untreated or partially treated sanitary wastewater.

One of our focuses in developing MiWaters is to create a system that makes it easier for the WRD to communicate with, and provide services electronically to, our regulated community.  Below is a list of some of the functions and features that MiWaters provides:

  • Permit applications will be submitted electronically.
  • The Electronic Environmental Discharge Monitoring Reporting (e-DMR) system is replaced with a more sophisticated system that will provide additional validation and feedback to permittees, and help detect and prevent errors prior to submittal.
  • All permit-required submittals will be submitted electronically. 
  • Those with a MiWaters account will be able to manage permissions, deciding who can view, edit, and submit applications or submittals. 
  • Wastewater treatment plants will manage biosolids application sites online.  Requests may be submitted through MiWaters with notification sent upon approval.
  • MiWaters will provide near real-time notifications, to the permittee, of any violations determined by the system or by staff, providing permittees with an early "heads up" and opportunity to correct problems.

Paper applications for NPDES permits are no longer be accepted now that MiWaters is implemented.

* * * * *

Permit applications for discharges to surface water must be submitted to the Permits Section in Lansing at least 180 days before the permit is needed. The application then proceeds through the standard permit review and development process. 

Antidegradation applies to any NPDES action that is anticipated to result in a new or increased loading of pollutants to the surface waters of the state.  Information regarding Department requirements for antidegradation can be found in the following downloadable procedure.

General information regarding the NPDES permit process can be found in the following downloadable PowerPoint presentation.

The issuance of an NPDES permit or certificate of coverage does not authorize violation of any federal, state or local laws or regulations, nor does it obviate the necessity of obtaining such permits, including any other DEQ permits, or approvals from other units of government as may be required by law.

Downloadable Information

If you have questions regarding NPDES permits, please contact Mr. Tarek Buckmaster at 517-284-5584.