Background Information: Pesticide NPDES Permit


In November 2006, the US EPA issued a final rule summarizing its interpretations of the Clean Water Act as not requiring NPDES permits for applications of pesticides to, over, or near waters of the United States if the applications were consistent with Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) requirements. Petitions for review of the final rule were filed, and in January 2009, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in National Cotton Council, et al. v. EPA that NPDES permits were required for all biological and chemical pesticide applications that leave a residue in water when such applications are made in, over, or near waters of the U.S.

In June 2009, the court granted a request for a two-year stay of the decision — until April 9, 2011 — to provide EPA and states time to develop NPDES permits and provide outreach. EPA has coordinated with the 45 NPDES-authorized states, including Minnesota, to develop permits. 

For the latest information on EPA’s actions and links to the court decisions, visit EPA’s website.

Multi-Agency Approach

In addition to the EPA, the MPCA is working with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), which administers FIFRA, and the Minnesota DNR, which manages aquatic plants in the state, to develop a Minnesota-specific NPDES Permit.

In Minnesota, preliminary research shows a possible impact to 3,000 licensed applicators. The DNR issues around 3,000 permits each year for management of aquatic plants using pesticides under their rules. Several large organizations that perform applications at multiple sites, such as mosquito control districts, are also impacted by this rule.

Resource Links

Minnesota-based resources

Contact Information

For more information about this program, contact Elise Doucette, 651-757-2316.