Wednesday, June 2, 2010

New rules will affect development in Pennsylvania

New regulations are being developed in Pennsylvania that will impose
stricter controls on erosion and sedimentation and post-construction stormwater runoff.

The rules were adopted on May 17 by
the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board and now go the General Assembly and to the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Commission for a 30-day review period.

M. Joel Bolstein
, an environmental attorney and partner in the Fox Rothschild law firm, says that the new regulations, which amend 25 Pa. Code Chapter 102, are comprehensive and include

"changes to definitions, imposition of enhanced erosion and sedimentation control planning requirements, changes to permit application requirements and increased permit fees, changes to post-construction stormwater management, including long term operation and maintenance, anti degradation implementation, riparian buffer requirements and new permits-by-rule."

The regulations incorporate updates to the federal stormwater permitting requirements promulgated in two phases in 1992 and 2002. Pennsylvania maintains delegation of the federal program, so some of the new regulations were adopted to implement the second phase of the federal requirements, according to PADEP.

Of particular significance to developers, Bolstein says, is the fact that the new regulations "impose an array of highly technical and onerous post-construction stormwater management (PCSM) requirements."

Under the regulations, new earth disturbance activities that require permit coverage must have written PCSM plans.
The regulations not only address what needs to be in the PCSM plan but also state that the plan itself must be prepared by a person trained and experienced in PCSM design methods and techniques "applicable to the size and scope of the project being designed."

Writing for his law firm's In the Zone publication, Bolstein notes that t
he PCSM plan under the new regulations "must contain a long-term operation and maintenance schedule, which provides for maintenance and inspection of BMPs in perpetuity. PCSM plan stormwater analysis must take into consideration a predevelopment site characterization and assessment of soils and geology and appropriate infiltration and geotechnical studies."

He says that
the changes are comprehensive, require special attention by anyone with a development in the planning stages, and "undoubtedly will have a significant impact on new development throughout the Commonwealth."

Click here to read Bolstein's entire article

Click here for a copy of the regulations

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