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Wastewater and NPDES Rules

General Information about Iowa's Wastewater and NPDES Rules

The Iowa Administrative Code (IAC) contains several chapters regulating the direct discharge of wastewater to waters of the state.  The chapters containing most of the wastewater permit regulations are as follows:

Rules regarding NPDES permits for Animal Feeding Operations (Chapter 65) can be found on the Animal Feeding Operations page. Rules regarding onsite (private) wastewater systems (Chapters 68, 69, and 93) can be found on the Private Septic Systems page.  The Water Quality Standards (Chapter 61) can be found on the Water Quality Standards Rule Reference Documents page.

The chapters above are regularly updated through the state's rulemaking process.  Please refer to the Current NPDES Rulemaking Actions section below for more information on any proposed rule changes.

Current NPDES Rulemaking Actions

Storm Water EO80: An EO80 stakeholder group has been assembled to review rules regarding the topsoil preservation requirements for activities covered by NPDES General Permit #2.  Please refer to the main Regulatory - Water page for more information on the stakeholder group.

Proposed Wastewater Cleanup Rulemaking: An informational meeting regarding potential rule changes to update and clean up Chapters 60, 62, 63, 64 and 67 of the wastewater rules was held on July 16, 2014. The draft rules propose to:

  • update federal code references (including the reference regarding wastewater testing procedures),
  • change rule language to accord with the federal regulation
  • remove obsolete rule language and citations,
  • extend and clarify bypass reporting timelines,
  • remove operational monitoring requirements,
  • remove extraneous public notice requirements for permittees,
  • clarify language on permit reissuance, and
  • add a new subrule to allow DNR to issue fee refunds without variances.

For more information or a copy of the draft rules, please email Courtney Cswercko at

Proposed General Permit #6 for Well Construction and Well Service Discharges: For more information regarding the proposed renewal of General Permit #6, please see the GP#6 webpage.

Past NPDES Rulemaking Actions

Disadvantaged Community Rule: The disadvantaged community rule proposed in 2012 became effective on January 16, 2013.  This rule implements Iowa Code 455B.199B, as modified by Senate File 407 (SF407).  The code section and senate file establish criteria that DNR must use to determine if ratepayers or a community will experience substantial and widespread economic and social impact and qualify as disadvantaged as a result of complying with wastewater regulations.  Please see the Rural Community Sewers page for more information on the disadvantaged community rule.  For more information regarding the disadvantaged community rule and on how to qualify for disadvantaged status, please contact Courtney Cswercko at

Summary of Rulemaking Procedure

When a change to the wastewater rules is proposed, it is presented to the Iowa DNR Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) for approval as a Notice of Intended Action.  If approved by the EPC, it is published in the Iowa Administrative Bulletin (IAB) as a Notice of Intended Action (NOIA).  Once the NOIA is published, the rule is discussed at the next legislative Administrative Rules Review Committee (ARRC) meeting.  After a public comment period in which hearings are held and comments are accepted, the proposed rule is presented to the EPC for approval as a Final Rule.  If a final rule is approved by the EPC, after consideration of public comments, it is published in the Administrative Bulletin as a Final Rule.  The final rule will be presented to the ARRC after it is published and before it becomes effective.

Occasionally, rules can be filed without notice, meaning that there is no public comment period.  When a rule is filed without notice, it is presented to the EPC, published in the IAB, and presented to the ARRC as a final rule.

For more information regarding the wastewater rules, please contact Adam Schnieders at 515-725-8403 or