Special Orders by Consent (SOCs)

Special Orders by Consent

SOCs may be an appropriate course of action if a facility is unable to consistently comply with the terms, conditions, or limitations in an NPDES Permit. However, SOCs can only be issued if the reasons causing the non-compliance are not operational in nature (i.e., they must be tangible problems with plant design or infrastructure). Should you and the Environmental Management Commission enter into an SOC, limits set for particular parameters under the NPDES Permit may be relaxed, but only for a time determined to be reasonable for making necessary improvements to the facility. Applications for SOC and SOC amendments can be found on the Compliance Forms page.

A complete application must contain but not be limited to the following:

  • A brief cover letter summarizing the facility’s situation and justifying the need for the SOC.
  • A complete SOC application form.
  • A non refundable $400.00 check for processing fees.
  • A complete discussion of the factors leading to non-compliance. This should include a detailed report of operation and maintenance activities and steps taken to enhance treatment by the permittee prior to the request.
  • A realistic and justified schedule for making improvements to the system which will bring it into compliance.
  • If from a unit of government, a resolution regarding pursuing the SOC.


One (1) completed, signed, and dated original SOC Application and supporting information along with two (2) copies of the same should be sent to:

Division of Water Resources
NPDES Compliance & Expedited Permit Unit
1617 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1617

A draft SOC will be sent to the permittee for review and signature. Once the Central Office receives the signed SOC, it will go through the Public Notice process. The SOC will be open to public comment for thirty (30) days, and fifteen (15) days after the public notice period ends, the SOC may be issued. However, if significant public comments are received, the Director may hold a Public Hearing.

For a list of current active SOCs, please see our home page.