PADEP Announces Draft NPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Small Construction Activities

On September 28, 2019, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced pending changes to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) with the availability of a draft NPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Small Construction Activities (PAG-01).

For small and relatively simple construction projects (e.g. bike paths, trails, borrow areas, equipment/material staging areas, slope stabilization, etc.), PADEP is offering an application process to obtain NPDES permit coverage in as few as 30 calendar days. Currently, the NPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Construction Activities (PAG-02) approval process—for projects disturbing an area greater than one acre—can take approximately three months, and may take longer for larger, more complex projects.

Generally, if your project is less than five acres and proposes less than or equal to 30,000 square feet of impervious surfaces, resulting in less than or equal to 12% impervious coverage, then your project may qualify for the new PAG-01. Additional information on the permit requirements and how to submit comments is provided below.

Requirements

  • Earth disturbance less than 5 acres
  • Project does not involve installation or repair of a transmission pipeline, gathering line, or local distribution service line that is, or is intended to, transport hazardous liquids, natural gas, or natural gas liquids to refining, storage, or processing facilities, or for use of further distribution by large volume consumers such as factories, power plants, public utilities, or institutional users inside or outside of Pennsylvania
  • The site does not discharge to surface water classified as High Quality or Exceptional Value
  • No contaminated soils on-site
  • Rare, threatened, and endangered (RTE) species clearances through the Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory Environmental Review Tool or RTE review agencies (as applicable)
  • Applicant is not in violation of any DEP or EPA enforceable document
  • No sediment traps or sediment basins or alternative erosion & sedimentation best management practices (E&S BMPs); compost sock sediment traps are allowed
  • No alternative post-construction stormwater management best management practices (PCSM BMPs)
  • Post-development impervious area is less than or equal to 30,000 square feet and is less than or equal to 12% of total project site area
  • Runoff from off-site impervious areas must be diverted around the site and cannot pass through the site
  • Stormwater discharge cannot be directed to a combined sewer
  • Regulated fill is prohibited

Review Timeline: 30 Calendar Days or 60 Calendar Days

  • 30 days if the county has a DEP-approved Act 167 plan (in which the DEP has approved the plan within the five-year period prior to date of NOI), county has certified the project is consistent with Act 167 plan, the municipality has enacted a stormwater management ordinance, and municipality has certified the project is consistent with the ordinance
  • Otherwise, the project will be assigned a 60-day review period

Review Fees

  • $500 administrative filing fee plus additional fees as required by the County Conservation District (CCD), and $100/disturbed acre fee (unchanged from PAG-02 fees)
  • Plus a $250 per year fee, due January 31 each year until the Notice of Termination (NOT) is submitted and approved (specific to PAG-01)Construction activities

Submitting Comments to the PADEP

The PADEP is accepting written comments regarding the draft PAG-01 General Permit and associated documents through Monday, October 28, 2019. Please consider submitting comments in favor of this new permitting pathway. All comments, including comments submitted by e-mail, must include the commentator’s name and address.

  • Submit comments online: www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/eComment
  • Submit comments via email: ecomment@pa.gov
  • Submit comments via mail:
    Department of Environmental Protection, Policy Office
    Rachel Carson State Office Building
    P.O. Box 2063
    Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063

We’ll keep you updated on the status of this newly proposed permit so that we can help you determine if your next project qualifies for this new 30-day approval. If you have any questions, please contact Rick Celender, R.L.A., CPESC, CPSWQ (412-249-2309 or rcelender@cecinc.com).

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