BMP Manual, Special Protection Waters Lead PA Stormwater Program

January 16, 2007
by JONATHAN RINDE
Client Alert Newsletter Forecast 2007

In late 2006, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection ("PADEP") finalized its Stormwater Best Management Practices Manual ("BMP Manual"), which guides real estate developers on managing stormwater runoff created by development projects. This year will give developers and regulators valuable experience in implementing the manual's concepts.

PADEP is also paying more attention to stormwater discharges in "special protection waters." This focus intensified after the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board's September 2006 ruling in Blue Mountain Preservation Association v. DEP, striking down a construction stormwater permit issued in a special protection watershed due to PADEP's failure to document its decisions regarding anti-degradation requirements. Following that ruling, PADEP developed a "Watershed Analysis Module" (still in draft) to allow permit applicants in these watersheds to demonstrate, in part, how their projects comply with anti-degradation requirements. As more waters are reclassified to a higher status, more developments will be located in special protection watersheds and these permitting difficulties will increase.