What is a water permit?

Anyone wishing to install water, heat pump and monitoring wells in Missouri must be licensed by the department. Permits also must be obtained from the department for constructing non-agricultural and non-federal dams in Missouri that are 35 feet or greater in height. Permits are required for public drinking water systems, wastewater systems and water pollution control. A permit is needed to build, erect, alter, replace, operate, use or maintain existing point sources of water pollution. The majority of issued permits are for the discharge of treated wastewater from domestic and industrial facilities. The department also issues permits for land application of wastes from domestic, industrial and agricultural facilities. These permits usually specify requirements for regular sampling of wastewater at the discharge points. In the case of land application, the permit specifies the methods by which wastes are handled and disposed. Permits also specify water quality standards for any discharges.

What types of water permits are required?

Most of these permits are written to be site-specific to reflect the unique nature of the waste water or the receiving stream. These permits usually have a five-year cycle. As a permit expires, it is re-drafted, modified if needed, then placed on public notice for 30 days. When on public notice, a draft permit is open for comments. When the 30-day notice period expires, comments are reviewed and the permit is issued with needed changes, modified and re-noticed to resolve any concerns.

General Permits (as opposed to site-specific permits) are issued to multiple locations where activities are similar enough to be covered by a single set of requirements. These permits are identified by the prefixes MO-R or MO-G, which appear in the permit numbers. The conditions in General Permits are placed on public notice prior to being issued to applicants. After being finalized, a General Permit cannot be modified. All facilities receiving a General Permit must adhere to the conditions contained in the General Permit until it expires or until the facility obtains a site-specific permit. General Permits for airports, chemical manufacturing, fabricated structured metal, foundries, limestone and rock quarries, lubricant manufacturing, petroleum storage greater than 50,000 gallons and wood treaters are required to be placed on public notice prior to issuance to a new facility.

How do water permits protect public health and the environment?

Permits help protect public health, safety and the environment from the adverse effect of impaired waters and ensure regulated water systems are properly constructed and maintained and emergency action plans are developed.

How you can get involved in the water permitting process?

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