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 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

Proposed Renewal of NPDES General Permit Nos. 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9:

The NPDES Section is proposing a rule change to Chapter 64 of the Iowa Administrative Code that will renew five of Iowa’s general permits for wastewater discharges. These general permits cover certain wastewater discharges from mining and processing facilities (GP5), well construction activities (GP6), pesticide applications (GP7), hydrostatic testing, tank ballasting, and water lines (GP8), and dewatering activities and household geothermal systems (GP9). GP8 and GP9 are proposed to be renewed because these permits will expire on June 30, 2023. Proposed changes to these two general permits will clarify existing permit requirements and address needs identified during the initial permit term. GP5, GP6, and GP7 are proposed to be renewed at the same time in order to align the effective dates for all five general permits so that future renewal rule makings for these five permits can be combined. Minimal changes are proposed for these three general permits.

A public hearing on the proposed rule will be held via Zoom on July 6, 2022, from 1:00 to 2:00 pm. Persons who wish to attend the public hearing must register in advance using the following link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUlceqprD4sHtZLkUCobkVA3GjuRrhATdcx.

Persons who wish to make oral comments at the public hearing must submit a request to David Schelling at David.Schelling@dnr.iowa.gov prior to the hearing in order to facilitate an orderly hearing. Written comments may also be sent to this email address and must be received no later than 4:30 pm on July 8, 2022.

Please use the following links to view the draft permit changes:

Questions about the hearing or the proposed rulemaking can be directed by phone or email to David Schelling at 515-217-0875 or David.Schelling@dnr.iowa.gov.

Past NPDES Rulemaking Actions

Wastewater Cleanup Rule Changes (Chapters 60-64): Updates to several portions of the wastewater rules became effective on March 16, 2022. The Chapters included in the rulemaking were 60, 61, 62, 63, and 64. The changes are summarized below by Chapter.

  • Chapter 60 - add and update definitions, remove old forms, and add language on electronic form submittal.
  • Chapter 62 - update date reference for Federal effluent and pretreatment standards in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and add a reference to new federal dental effluent limitation guidelines.
  • Chapter 63 - add CFR references for analytical testing methods; clarify requirements for alternative test procedures and method modifications; update the rule-referenced Supporting Document for Permit Monitoring Frequency Determination; update WET testing guidelines; add new language on electronic reporting requirements and waivers; rescind the monitoring table for land application systems; rescind the table for preservation techniques, containers and holding times and replace it with a reference to the same table in the CFR, and move the language regarding monitoring well sampling procedures to a new rule in Chapter 63.
  • Chapter 64 - simplify and clarify the general permit language; modify language on the operation permit period; update public notice and public hearing language; update and revise the disadvantaged community eligibility requirements; add specific fee amounts from Iowa Code 455B.197; and add new language about the Nutrient Reduction Exchange (NRE).

Please use the links at the top of the page to view the updated wastewater rules.

Sludge Rule Changes (Chapter 67): Updates to the sludge/biosolids rules in Chapter 67 became effective on March 16, 2022. The rule making cleaned up and modified the sludge rules for readability and to align with governing federal law. Use this link to view the updated Chapter 67 rules.

Summary of Rulemaking Procedures:

When the NPDES Section is considering a change to the wastewater rules, a draft rule package is developed and a public meeting is scheduled to gather initial stakeholder input on the draft rules. After the initial stakeholder comments are incorporated into the draft rules, the NPDES Section prepares an internal rulemaking package for review by DNR Legal staff and the Governor's Office. Once DNR Legal staff and the Governor's office have reviewed and approved the proposed rule, the rulemaking package 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. Please see the summary steps below:

Draft rule package prepared - Public meeting on draft rule - Comments incorporated into draft rule - DNR Legal review - Governor's Office review - NOIA presented to the EPC - NOIA publication in the IAB - ARRC review of NOIA - Public comment period - Responsiveness summary prepared - Final Rule presented to EPC - Final Rule publication in the IAB - ARRC review of Final Rule - Final Rule becomes effective

For more information regarding the rulemaking procedure and the wastewater rules, please contact Eric Wiklund at 515-630-9970 or eric.wiklund@dnr.iowa.gov or Courtney Cswercko at 515-322-2157 or courtney.cswercko@dnr.iowa.gov.