The Groundwater Discharge Permits Division regulates the disposal of treated municipal and industrial wastewater into the State’s groundwater through permit issuance. These discharge permits protect groundwater by requiring compliance with the permit's conditions for operation and maintenance, best management practices, as well as effluent and groundwater quality testing deemed necessary to protect public health and the environment.
This Division issues State Groundwater Discharge Permits and combined State and Federal Underground Injection Control (UIC) Permits. State Groundwater Discharge permits are issued for municipal and industrial discharges to ground water via land application, i.e. spray irrigation of nutrient containing wastewater (such as community municipal wastewater, and vegetable and poultry processing wastewater) to vegetation. Treated wastewater may also be discharged via overland flow and infiltration. Permits that are combined State and Federal UIC permits are issued for municipal and industrial wastewater discharged to the subsurface. Methods of discharge include septic systems, drainfields and other soil infiltration systems such as seepage pits.
Municipal Groundwater Discharge Permits
Municipal groundwater discharge permits are issued for land application systems of treated domestic wastewater and large onsite wastewater disposal systems with a monthly average wastewater flow of greater than 5,000 gallons per day. Municipal wastewater includes domestic wastewater from public and private community wastewater treatment systems.
Before the Department can process a municipal groundwater discharge permit, proposed municipal projects must be included in county water and sewer plans. Locally issued permits for activities such as building and sediment control may be needed for these projects but are not required for the Department to process a ground water discharge permit.
Guidelines for use of highly treated (Class IV) reclaimed water (wastewater reuse) can be found here.
Industrial Groundwater Discharge Permits
Industrial groundwater discharge permits are issued for wastewater from vegetable and animal processing, vehicle washing, service and maintenance related activities, and other industrial process wastewaters. Processing industrial groundwater discharge permits include evaluation of soil and site suitability for a proposed land treatment system and review of plans, specifications and hydrogeologic reports submitted with permit applications.
This Division also implements other federally mandated responsibilities of the UIC Program. These include : (1) Identification and inventory management of UIC wells throughout the State, (2) Inspection of unpermitted UIC wells, issuing Notices of Corrective Action (NOCA) for unregulated injection practices, and compliance follow-up of these NOCA.
Search for individual permit and/or general permit registrations here.
General Vehicle Wash Permit
The Department has issued a new general permit for the discharge of exterior vehicle washwater to groundwater from commercial and business-related vehicle washing operations. The permit, fact sheet, and NOI can be found here.
General Composting Toilet Permit
The Department is proposing to issue a new general permit for the discharge of composting toilet wastewater to groundwater by land application. The draft permit and fact sheet can be found here
Food Processing Wastewater Management Options
Food processing wastewater includes wastewater generated
from beer and wine making, slaughtering/processing operations, and milk product
manufacturing (i.e. cheese, ice cream, yogurt). More information on management options and authorization can be found here
Groundwater Discharge Permit Forms
Below are some helpful publication links pertaining to groundwater discharge of treated wastewater:
If you have additional questions or would like more information, please contact the Department at (410) 537-3778.
Additional Information and Related Links