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DMR FAQs on Miscellaneous Topics

Why can't I average pH?
pH is defined as the logarithm of the reciprocal of the hydrogen ion activity, or the negative logarithm of the hydrogen activity. Since pH is logarithmic value, it cannot be arithmetically averaged.

How should I correct an error I made while I was completing the original DMR form?
Cross out the improper information, enter the corrected information, and initial each change.

Do we still use NODI B?
No, the only acceptable NODI code is NODI 9.

Do you mean NODI codes cannot be used (other than NODI 9) from today on, or from the time of the new regulations on?
The other NODI codes cannot be used with the July 2002 DMR on.

How do I request a DMR mailing address change?
If your mailing address has changed, send a letter detailing the change to the NYSDEC Central Office (see Addresses in Appendix A of manual or on website).

What are the numbers that appear in the "Parameter" box of the preprinted DMR?
These are code numbers used by EPA's PCS (Permit Compliance System) to enter data to the computer. The first (a 5-digit code), is specific to the printed parameter name in that box. The next single digit, is a code specific to the printed monitoring location. The next digit is a code number used by the computer to specify seasonal spans for parameters (if seasonal limits are involved), and the last digit is a sequential modification number used to specify any limit changes that may have occurred during the 5-year permit renewal period. These codes are of no concern to the permittee, but are necessary for data entry.

How do I request changes to Facility Information or Permit Requirements?
These changes must be made through a permit modification. Please contact your Regional Office (see Addresses in Appendix A of manual or on website).

How do I report average flow at a facility which has days of no flow?
Several questions have arisen regarding how to calculate and report average flow when facilities have days of no flow during a monitoring period. With the wide variety in types of facilities, types of flow monitoring equipment, flow limits, frequency of analysis, and sample types it is difficult to provide guidance that will cover all variations found in the permits. This guidance has been written for facilities whose permits do not have site-specific requirements.

Have the regional staff received DMR Manual training?
We gave extensive training to DEC staff prior to distribution of the DMR Manuals.

If we have an estimated flow, do we still use "E"?
Yes, please see page 11 of the DMR Manual.

Is the submission date the day it gets to DEC or the day it gets mailed?
The submission date is the day the DMR is date stamped at the DEC office.

How do you do averages for temperature continuous monitoring?
Temperature is an instantaneous maximum - see 6NYCRR 704.2 "No discharge at a temperature... at any time...". So no averaging is allowed.

Can we submit our computer generated forms?
Computer generated DMR forms may be submitted as long as they have been approved by the Department following the guidance on page 21 of the DMR Manual.

If we had our permit modified and the limit for quarterly reporting is effective on July 15, what is the quarterly period?
When this information is coded for entry into PCS (the national database), it will be coded for August 1, since that is the first of the next month. The first quarterly period will then become August, September and October.

Are there any computerized programs that assist in filling out the DMR?
Yes, there are many software packages available to help wastewater treatment plant operators and others who fill out DMRs. DEC is not in the business of recommending software, but if you ask other operators, contact professional organizations (such as WEF or NYWEA) or perform an online search, you should be able to find the names of some good packages.

Question about the discharge designator - what if we have "Q" not "V"?
The discharge designator can vary, depending on the permit writer. Usually, "Q" stands for quarterly and "V" stands for Action Level, but sometimes other codes are used. This is not something to be concerned about.

If your quarter starts in a non-calendar quarter (Jan - Mar, April - June, etc), is that OK?
Yes. For SPDES reporting, the quarter will be defined in the SPDES Permit. This is the quarter that you must follow.

Instantaneous Max/Min - Is this identified in the permit? If we have continuous monitoring, how do we determine our daily maximum or minimum?
Yes, Instantaneous Maximum/Minimum is identified in the SPDES permit. With continuous monitoring, break the time period down into 15 minute intervals or something (see the region).

For what parameters might we have net value limits?
You might see Net Value Limits with TSS, iron, or phosphorus where the waterbody has significant levels.

If we are leaving the DMR blank do we need to attach an explanation?
Yes, as stated on page 20 of the DMR Manual, "the permittee is required to report all instances of non-compliance with permit effluent limitations or monitoring requirements."

We have a lot of instances of "NODI 9", do we need to put attachments on each of those? (The NODI 9s in this case are due to a lot of chemical additives)
In this case, please attach an explanation for each outfall and specify all instances of NODI on it.

Will we be able to submit the DMR electronically soon?
DEC would like to have the capability to handle electronic DMR filing and we have worked on some pilot projects over the last few years concerning this. Right now there is no available funding to further pursue this project, so electronic filing will not be possible in the foreseeable future.

If there is something wrong with our DMR, how do you get a hold of us? Do you call, write, etc?
Yes, someone from DEC would call or write to the permittee to straighten out the problem.

If we use the most sensitive method and get < MDL, but do not want to use zero (for less than MDL), what would we enter? Would we enter the detection level?
If you are choosing to not enter the zero in this instance, you would enter < "the detection level".

If a unit code is not available what should be done?
In this case, the permittee should call the DEC Regional Office to ask for the correct code.

If we have two items which require comments, how do we code them to differentiate them on the DMR?
Differentiate between the two items in the comments section. DO NOT write on the sample measurement box.

If we have an instance where all data is reported as < MDL but 1 day there is interference and the MDL goes up, what do we do?
You cannot use zero on the day the MDL went up. The lab should not report non-detect for this instance, but rather, a number.

If a fire destroyed our old records, can we get copies from DEC?
Yes, by law we must keep each facility's Discharge Monitoring Report for 5 years.

Do we still use flow weighted average?
Unless your permit specifically requires flow weighted averages, permittees should not be using flow weighted average.

If we use < MDL, do we need to attach a comment?
No, just write < "the MDL value"(with "the MDL value" being the actual numeric value).

What if we exceed an action level during the 3 day high intensity monitoring? Can action levels go up sometimes?
Action levels may be increased. It all depends on how close the level is to the water quality based effluent limit, which is the level identified as being protective of the water body. No discharge may exceed that level.

How can I find out who the permit writer is?
Call the DEC Regional Office and ask who wrote your facility's SPDES Permit.

Can we ask to have a parameter removed?
Parameters may only be removed from the permit if they are not detected in the effluent for 3 years. Even low levels of pollutants must be included in the SPDES permit in some form (action levels or monitoring).

We have one parameter in degrees Fahrenheit and one in degrees Celsius - can we have the permit modified to make them consistent?
Yes, ask your regional office.

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