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DEP Developing New Erosion & Sedimentation General Permit To Cover 5 Acres Or Less, Low-Impact Projects

Lee McDonnell from DEP’s Bureau of Clean Water told the Water Resources Advisory Committee Wednesday his office is developing a new Chapter 102 Erosion and Sedimentation General Permit for small, low impact projects of five acres or less that could cover a significant number of projects DEP now requires full permits for.

McDonnell said this is one of several recommendations DEP gleaned from 7 listening sessions DEP held earlier this year with consultants and permit applicants on the Chapter 102 erosion and sedimentation control and NPDES permitting process.

He said when DEP did an evaluation of its existing workload and the applications it receives, they found as many as 40 or 50 percent of the permit applications covered projects of five acres or less.

The new General Permit to be developed would cover smaller, simpler, low impact  projects. McDonnell said, as an example, like a farmer putting up a barn on level ground.

McDonnell said the intent behind the new General Permit is to allow DEP to focus its limited staff resources on projects that are larger and have more potential impact on the environment.

McDonnell said any new permit would be put through a public participation process and made available for public comment.

Also on the list of recommended changes is an update and change in function for DEP’s Stormwater Best Management Practices Manual.

McDonnell noted some DEP staff used the Manual as a regulation saying applicants had to do BMPs only according to the Manual.  The update, which will be web-based and more easily changed, will be built more like guidance using basic principles, so DEP staff can review new BMPs for their effectiveness when they come in the door.

McDonnell said a contract should be moving shortly to begin the update.

He said his office will be putting out a report by mid-June outlining the complete results of the listening sessions, a list of specific recommendations DEP is following up on and a schedule of implementing those recommendations.

The Committee also had discussions on these other topics--

-- Chesapeake Bay Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan Development; and

-- Comprehensive Environmental Assessment of Proposed Project Cumulative Impacts For Chapter 105 Water Obstruction And Encroachment Permit Application Technical Guidance Aimed At Pipelines.  (Public comment period ended March 21.  Click Here for a copy.)

For more information and copies of available documents, visit DEP’s Water Resources Advisory Committee webpage.  Questions should be directed to: Diane Wilson by sending email to: or call 717-787-3730.

[Posted: May 10, 2017]


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