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NPDES Phases I and II
Even the government has to get a government permit to manage storm water.
In this case, local governments in Charlotte-Mecklenburg have permits to discharge untreated storm water runoff into creeks, rivers and lakes. These permits are part of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES.) The permitting program was established in 1972 under the federal Clean Water Act.

Because it has more than 100,000 residents, the City of Charlotte had to obtain a Phase I NPDES permit to manage storm water anywhere in the city.  Charlotte's first Phase I permit was received in 1993.

Phase II of NPDES applied the same laws to smaller jurisdictions.  In 2005, Mecklenburg County and the six Towns were granted a joint NPDES Phase II Permit to manage storm water outside of the Charlotte City limits.

NPDES Phase I - City of Charlotte

Phase II NPDES Permit (Mecklenburg County and the six Towns)

County/Towns Phase II Storm Water Management Plan

 NPDES is a federally-mandated program that regulates pollutants discharged directly into creeks, rivers and lakes
NPDES is a federally-mandated program that
regulates pollutants discharged directly into creeks,
rivers and lakes
 The goal of NPDES is reducing pollution in lakes, rivers and creeks
The goal of NPDES is reducing pollution in lakes,
rivers and creeks
 NPDES Logo As part of their NPDES permits, the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and the six Towns must follow these Six Minimum Measures:
  • Public Education and Outreach
    Distributing educational materials and performing outreach to inform citizens about the impacts polluted storm water runoff discharges can have on water quality.
  • Public participation/Involvement
    Providing opportunities for citizens to participate in program development and implementation, including effectively publicizing public hearings and/or encouraging citizen representatives on a storm water management panel.
  • Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
    Developing and implementing a plan to detect and eliminate illicit discharges to the storm sewer system (includes developing a system map and informing the community about hazards associated with illegal discharges and improper disposal of waste.)
  • Construction Site Runoff Control
    Developing, implementing, and enforcing an erosion and sediment control program for construction activities that disturb one or more acres of land (controls could include silt fences and temporary storm water detention ponds).
  • Post-Construction Runoff Control
    Developing, implementing, and enforcing a program to address discharges of post-construction storm water runoff from new development and redevelopment areas. Applicable controls could include preventative actions such as protecting sensitive areas (e.g., wetlands) or the use of structural BMPs such as grassed swales or porous pavement.
  • Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping
    Developing and implementing a program with the goal of preventing or reducing pollutant runoff from municipal operations. The program must include municipal staff training on pollution prevention measures and techniques (e.g., regular street sweeping, reduction in the use of pesticides or street salt, or frequent catch-basin cleaning).

Private businesses and industries whose discharges go directly into surface water are also required to have NPDES permits. While NPDES permits are required under federal law, the permits are issued by the State of North Carolina. Local enforcement of NPDES permit requirements are the responsibility of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services' Water Quality programs.

For more information on NPDES, please contact:

City of Charlotte:
Steve Jadlocki

Mecklenburg County and the Towns of Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Matthews, Mint Hill and Pineville:
Rusty Rozzelle