On March 31, David A. Hindin, the director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, issued a Temporary Advisory for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Reporting in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic. Referring to the EPA's prior memo on March 26 and as described in the Holland & Knight alert on March 30, this temporary reporting advisory provides further direction to EPA regional offices on how to implement the EPA policy as it relates to National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) reporting requirements that are tracked in the EPA's Integrated Compliance Information System for the NPDES program (ICIS-NPDES). To avoid the automatic generation of non-receipt violations where a permittee is unable to perform required sampling or other conditions exist precluding compliance with permit requirements due to coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, EPA has established a new no data indicator (NODI) code Z. The corresponding frequently asked questions provides detailed instructions on how to submit netDMR forms in these circumstances. The advisory also describes other potential scenarios, including when a permittee cannot access netDMR for electronic submission, when lab data is not available or an authorized official is not available to sign a required report.
We encourage permittees to follow this process to avoid potential noncompliance listings on EPA's Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) portal, which is monitored by the public and environmental organizations when considering potential violations enforceable under the Clean Water Act citizen suits provisions. Please reach out if you have questions about this or any other environmental compliance matter during the COVID-19 pandemic.