On October 31, 2009, that Pennsylvania Bulletin published information regarding proposed changes to how the State addresses the Clean Streams Law and the Federal Clean Water Act.
The notice is targeted to those individuals who have applied for a new, amended, or renewed National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits.
Changes to NPDES renewal applications include a tentative determination to reissue these permits for 5 years, subject to effluent limitations and monitoring requirements.
For applications for new NPDES permits (and renewal applications that include major changes) the PADEP has tentatively decided to include effluent limitations, along with other terms and conditions.
If finalized, major changes to the permitting process will include:
- The codification of the Department’s current requirement that a Post-Construction Stormwater Management (“PCSM”) Plan be submitted with an NPDES permit application for stormwater discharges during construction activities.
- The inclusion of a mandatory riparian forest buffer zone in areas located within 150 feet from any side of a body of surface water indicated to be an “Exceptional Value” (EV) zone. With limited exception, development within riparian forest buffer zones will be prohibited.
- The development of a new option for low impact projects that are located outside of an identified EV watershed zone; and which meet other eligibility requirements.
- The installation of additional erosion and sedimentation control requirements in conjunction with agricultural activities.
In addition to these, and other changes to the rule, individuals applying for permits can expect application fees to increase significantly. The cost of a general NPDES permit will increase from $250 to $2,250; while the cost for individual NPDES permits will increase from $500 to $5,000.
For more information, please visit the PADEP’s Watershed Management webpage.