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What permits are associated with stormwater infrastructure projects?

The following permits are often required as part of urban stormwater infrastructure projects in Pennsylvania as a result of land construction and earth disturbance activities.

Erosion and Sediment Control - PA Chapter 102 Regulations

  • A National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit is required for:
    • Construction activities with earth disturbances greater than or equal to one acre (not including agricultural plowing or tilling, animal heavy use areas, timber harvesting activities, or road maintenance activities).
    • An Individual Permit is required whenever the site drains to a high quality (HQ) or exceptional value (EV) stream, as defined by Chapter 93 of DEP’s regulations, or if the project has the potential to discharge toxic substances into waters of the Commonwealth (i.e. Superfund sites, brownfields, etc.) or if the applicant has a history of non-compliance.
    • Post-Construction Stormwater Management (PCSWM) Plan is required for all construction activities requiring an NPDES Permit.
  • An Erosion and Sediment (E&S) Permit is required for:
    • Timber harvesting and road maintenance activities involving 25 or more acres of earth disturbance.
    • Oil and gas activities (including treatment operations) involving five or more acres of earth disturbance.
    • Other activities involving five or more acres of earth disturbance not identified above require an E&S permit.

For activities that do not require a permit, it is likely that a written E&S Plan is required.

  • PAG-01 General Permit for Small Construction Activities:
    • Provides NPDES permit coverage for stormwater discharges associated with small construction activities. This permit will cover discharges of stormwater from construction activities including clearing, grading, and excavating that result in earth disturbance of less than five acres. The PAG-02 General Permit or an individual NPDES permit may be used for NPDES permit coverage for larger projects and those smaller projects that are not eligible for PAG-01 coverage.
  • PAG-02 NPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Construction Activities:
    • Intended to cover stormwater discharges associated with all eligible construction activities that must obtain NPDES permit coverage. In the event that a small construction activity is ineligible for PAG-01 General Permit coverage, an applicant may submit an NOI for PAG-02 General Permit coverage for that activity, if eligible for PAG-02.

Source: The Pennsylvanian’s Guide to Permitting for Watershed Improvement Projects, PA DEP, Dec. 2020

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