Nevada Geothermal Water Quality Assessment(14-NV)
Geothermal developers may be required to obtain several permits related to water quality issues, including permits for nonpoint source pollution, NPDES permitting, underground injection control, 401 water quality certification, and waste discharge.
The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) administers a voluntary regulatory Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Program to control the impacts of nonpoint source pollution. The NDEP program consists of public awareness, cooperation with other agencies and land owners, and the application of Best Management Practices (BMPs). Developers may choose to comply with the program.
Developers must comply with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) requirements if their project will discharge pollutants into the waters of the United States. Nevada has been granted authority by the Environmental Protection Agency to administer the NPDES program within the state. The NDEP issues NPDES permits in accordance with EPA regulations and NAC 445A.031. Generally, industrial, municipal, and other facilities must obtain NPDES permits if their discharges go directly to surface waters. Stormwater discharge permits are required for certain activities by EPA regulations at 40 CFR § 122.26(b)(14).
Developers must notify and obtain permission from the NDEP for any construction, alteration, repair, or abandoning of any class V underground injection control well in Nevada, excluding injection wells within the limits of any Indian reservation or dependent Indian colony under Federal Government jurisdiction. NRS 445A.465-.470.
Developers must obtain a 401 Water Quality Certification from the NDEP if their project implicates any federal license or permit issued to construct or operate a facility which may result in any fill or discharge into navigable waters of the United States. The NDEP must ensure that the project will comply with the Clean Water Act, and NRS 445A.620.
Finally, the NDEP protects groundwater quality through issuing groundwater discharge permits under NAC 445A.228 for activities that impact groundwater quality such as surface disposal, septic systems, unlined ponds, overland flow, reuse and irrigation. If the project will impact groundwater in any of the aforementioned ways, the developer must obtain a groundwater discharge permit.
Determine Which State and Federal Permits Apply
Use this overview flowchart and following steps to learn which federal and state permits apply to your projects.
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