Water Quality Permits

2300-A Pesticide General Permit

Opportunity to comment a proposed 2300A National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System pesticide general permit closed Monday, July 18, 2016.

This permit is for a discharge to surface waters of the state from the application of  biological pesticides and chemical pesticides that leave a residue. As proposed, the permit renewal contains limits to minimize pesticide use; reporting and recordkeeping requirements; and new requirements for use of acrolein-, copper-, and xylene-based aquatic pesticide use within irrigation system boundaries.

DEQ is considering significant comments received on the permit. Before issuing a renewed 2300A general permit, DEQ will provide a second public notice on modifications made as a result of public comment. DEQ’s next step is to prepare a separate 2000J pesticide general permit for irrigation systems. DEQ intends to have a renewed 2300-A and new 2000-J permit issued in 2019.

Current Pesticide General Permit 2300-A

The pesticide general permit is a NPDES general water quality permit for certain pesticide applications that result in a discharge in, over or near surface water. DEQ believes the permits should result in long-range, beneficial impact on water quality in Oregon.  

This permit affects operators who decide to apply pesticides or have day-to-day control over pesticide application. These operators include weed control districts, vector control districts, golf courses, lake and marina managers, large landholdings, public utilities, and federal, state and municipal agencies whose pesticides applications reach water.


Permit Overview - Permit coverage is available for the following pesticide applications:

  • Mosquito and Other Flying Insect Pest Control
  • Weed and Algae Control
  • Nuisance Animal Control
  • Forest Canopy Pest Control
  • Area-Wide Pest Control

While a wide range of operators are covered under the permit and need to follow its regulations, registration, fees, and reports to DEQ will only be required from government agencies, some districts and large-scale pesticide applications identified in Table 1.

To help operators complete the application for registration and satisfy the permit recordkeeping, notification and reporting requirements, DEQ has mapping tools and GIS layers available.
Use the geographic/facility search on the Facility Profiler to identify water bodies and water suppliers.
A list of water quality limited 303(d) listed water bodies can identified by using DEQ’s Water Quality Assessment Database.

Which permit applies to irrigation systems until DEQ reissues a general permit?

Irrigation districts that currently have individual permits can continue to operate under those permits for acrolein-, copper- and xylene-based aquatic pesticide use and comply with the conditions of the 2300-A pesticide general permit for other pesticide use in, over, or within three feet of water. Irrigation systems that do not have an individual permit also need to comply with the conditions of the 2300-A pesticide general permit. Irrigation systems must register for 2300-A pesticide general permit coverage if pesticide applications in, over, or within three feet of water exceed a total treatment area of 20 acres of surface area or 20 linear miles in a calendar year. Repeated pesticide applications to the same treatment area are not counted.  


Background on water quality permits for pesticide use

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a final rule in November 2006 that clarified two specific circumstances in which a Clean Water Act permit is not required before pesticides are applied. The two situations are when pesticides are:

  • applied directly to water to control pests, including mosquito larvae, aquatic weeds and other pests in the water
  • applied to control pests that are present over or near water where a portion of the pesticide will unavoidably be deposited to the water in order to target the pests effectively.

In effect the rule meant that pesticides legally registered under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act for application to or near aquatic environments, and legally applied to control pests at those sites, were not subject to NPDES permit requirements. The rule became effective Jan. 26, 2007. Challenges to the rule were filed in 11 circuit courts around the country. The challenges were consolidated for hearing in the Sixth Circuit Court. On Jan. 7, 2009, the Sixth Circuit Court ruled that NPDES permits are required for:

  • all biological pesticide applications and
  • chemical pesticide applications that leave a residue or excess pesticide in water

When the applications are made in or over or near U.S. waters. The court ruling affects DEQ because EPA authorizes DEQ to issue NPDES permits and conduct the compliance and monitoring for these permits.

The Sixth Circuit Court gave EPA two years to develop a general permit so that by April 9, 2011, the regulated community was required to be covered under the pesticide general permit. EPA requested and received an extension on the court-ordered date. NPDES permits were required by Oct. 31, 2011. EPA issued the permit on Oct. 31, 2011.

EPA’s pesticide general permit covers discharges in areas where EPA is the NPDES permitting authority, which include four states (Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New Mexico), Washington, D.C., all U.S. territories except the Virgin Islands, most Indian Country lands, and federal facilities in four additional states (Colorado, Delaware, Vermont, and Washington).