Thursday, September 3, 2009

PA-DEP Sediment/Erosion & Stormwater rules

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has proposed changes to its erosion and sediment control and stormwater management regulations.

The proposed changes include requirements for establishing and protecting existing streamside and riverside forest buffers and increasing protection for exceptional value waterways, incorporate existing post-construction stormwater management requirements into state regulation to bring Pennsylvania into line with federal requirements, and enhance agricultural stormwater management provisions beyond plowing and tilling to include animal heavy -use areas.

What's won't likely to come as a surprise to the regulated community is that the new regulations will include an updated permit fee structure.

They also include a new permit-by-rule option that the DEP says will offer "a simplified permitting process for eligible low-risk construction projects that will reduce permitting delays while improving oversight of projects by the department."

Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger says the changes will shift the focus of water protection "from reviewing paperwork to holding permittees more accountable, conducting more on-the-ground inspections to verify that best management practices are being implemented and maintained, and increasing protections for our waterways.”

The Environmental Quality Board will hold public hearings on the proposed changes:

• Sept. 29 at the Cranberry Township Municipal Building, 2525 Rochester Road, Butler County. The public meeting is at 4 p.m. and the public hearing is at 5 p.m.

• Oct. 1 at the Department of Environmental Protection, Southcentral Regional Office, Susquehanna Room B, 909 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg. The public meeting is at 4 p.m. and the public hearing is at 5 p.m.

• Oct. 5 at the Salisbury Township Municipal Building, 2900 South Pike Avenue, Allentown. The public meeting is at 4 p.m. and the public hearing is at 5 p.m.

The Department notes that:

Individuals wishing to present testimony at a hearing are requested to contact the Environmental Quality Board, P.O. Box 8477, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8477, (717) 787-4526, at least one week in advance of the hearing to reserve a time to present testimony. Oral testimony is limited to 10 minutes for each witness. Witnesses are asked to submit three written copies of their oral testimony to the chairperson at the hearing. Organizations are limited to designating one witness to present testimony on behalf of the group at each hearing.

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