New Pennsylvania Stormwater Rules are Proposed

December 8, 2009
by BRIDGET DORFMAN
Client Alert Newsletter December 2009

On August 29, 2009, the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board ("EQB") published proposed regulations for public comment that, if finalized in their current form, would significantly change the current rules governing erosion and sedimentation control and stormwater management in Pennsylvania. Developers, farmers, land owners and anyone involved with earth disturbance activities (e.g., land clearing, grading, soil stockpiling, oil and gas activities, or any other human activity that disturbs the land surface) will be affected if these proposed regulations are adopted. The proposed changes would largely be implemented by county conservation districts and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection ("PADEP") under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System ("NPDES") permit program. The proposed changes would require: (1) the imposition of mandatory riparian forest buffers in areas 150 feet from each side of surface waters classified as Exceptional Value, (2) the submission of a Post-Construction Stormwater Management Plan with a NPDES permit application for stormwater discharges during construction activities, (3) the creation of a new "permit-by-rule" option for certain low impact projects, and (4) other important administrative changes, including an increase in permit application fees. The public comments period on the proposed rulemaking closed November 30, 2009, and we anticipate that the final regulations will be issued sometime in Spring 2010.