The Georgia Water Quality Control Act (WQCA) is a set of environmental regulations and permitting requirements that comply with the federal Clean Water Act. The Georgia Water Quality Control Act is enforced by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD). Under the WQCA any person, corporation, or activity that may result in the discharging of any pollutant from a point source into United States water must obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit from the EPD, also known as a General Permit. If the EPD finds a violation of the WQCA a fine of up to $32,500 per day may be enforced. In addition the EPD may also: require immediate actions to correct the violation(s), order facility operators to cease operations until the problems are fully addressed, revoke the discharger's permit and refuse to renew a permit. Each pollutant discharged at one site constitutes a single violation.
A permit is required whenever there are construction activities that disturb a land area of one acre or greater, or tracts of less than one acre that are part of a larger overall development with a combined disturbance of one acre or greater. The applicant must submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to discharge to the EPD and Local Issuing Authority (LIA) 15 days prior to commencement of construction activities. The applicant must also submit an Erosion, Sedimentation and Pollution Control Plan (ESPCP or the Plan) which outlines Best Management Practices (BMP) and sampling locations prior to commencement of construction activities. The permittee will pay $8- per disturbed acre, half to the EPD and half to LIA. All permittees must provide monthly, by the 15th of the month, discharge monitoring reports on their (DMRs) to the EPD.