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If you have an environmental complaint you can e-mail your concern to the Northcentral Regional Office of the Deparment of Environmental Resources. You will receive an e-mail acknowledgement that your complaint has been received and referred for action. DEP staff will provide you with information on the status of the investigation by telephone or in writing. All information is held in confidentiality. Click here to file a complaint with the DEP.
Click on the links for more information:
The Conservation District has suspended its involvement with the Chapter 105 Program. All inquiries for this program should be directed to the North Central Regional Office of the PA Department of Environmental Protection at 570-327-3636. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Chapter 102 - Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control Program
To this end, one of the District's primary focuses is the Erosion and Sedimentation Control (E&SC) Program. The emphasis of the overall program is the conservation of soil and water resources. The District administers the E&S program through a delegation agreement with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Bureau of Watershed Management. As the county continues to experience growth, it becomes increasingly important to make sure that resources are protected according to the regulations. Due to development pressure and greater awareness for environmental protection, the E&SC program continues to be one of the District's most demanding programs. Through the program, the District reviews and approves E&S control plans for earthmoving sites. Inspections of the sites are conducted to assure the plans are properly implemented, controls are installed, and sequences are followed. By doing this, the District strives to meet its goal of minimizing accelerated erosion and sediment pollution to the waters of the Commonwealth as a result of earthmoving activities.
Erosion is an ongoing process. It occurs naturally and continues to be a dominant force in shaping of earth’s landscape. It has the potential to become problematic when man exposes bare soil as a result of agricultural practices, timbering or excavation. With a lack of vegetation to protect the soil beneath, wind and water can readily erode and transport soil into nearby waterways, clogging them with fine sediments known as silt, clay or colloids. Runoff from bare soil may also contain chemicals, heavy metals and other pollutants that may be washed into the waters of the Commonwealth. The goal of this program is to control erosion and the resulting pollution to the waters of the Commonwealth. Soil erosion occurs naturally on all land, with at least 40 percent of the total soil erosion resulting from activities such as construction, logging, and natural events.
When is an Erosion and Sediment Control (E&SC) Plan needed? This is a question that we are asked regularly by municipalities, consulting firms and private individuals. As per the amended Chapter 102 Erosion and Sedimentation Control regulations (January 2000), development of an erosion and sedimentation control plan is required for all earth disturbances of 5,000 square feet or greater, earth disturbances in High Quality or Exceptional Value watersheds or if other DEP permits require it. This would include timber harvesting and silviculture activities that must also include a timber harvest plan.
The Erosion and Sediment Control Plan should include all of the following 11 items:
Those projects which disturb between 1.0 and 5.0 acres, and have a point-source discharge to waters of the Commonwealth, require a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Construction Activities. As part of this permit, an approved erosion control plan is required. Therefore, a plan must be submitted to our office for review. (Click on NPDES to get additional information on NPDES and point source discharges.)
All projects, with or without a point source discharge, which disturb more than 5.0 acres, require an NPDES permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Construction Activities. As part of this Permit, an approved erosion control plan is required. Therefore, you need to submit the plan to our office for review.
Earth disturbance activities associated with agricultural plowing or tilling, timber harvesting, and road maintenance do not require coverage under an NPDES permit. Persons conducting timber harvesting or road maintenance activities that involve 25 acres or more of earth disturbance must apply for and obtain coverage for an Erosion and Sedimentation Control Permit.
Persons conducting agricultural plowing and tilling activities are required to develop a conservation plan and implement agricultural BMPs, but continue to be exempt from permitting requirements. A farmer who does not have a conservation plan as yet, or needs an updated plan, is encouraged to contact the District.
Sullivan County Conservation District Publications
PA Erosion Control Manual and other Publications
On Nov. 16, 1990, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency developed permitting regulations for stormwater discharges as required by the federal Clean Water Act. Effective Oct. 1, 1992, all construction activities proposing to disturb five or more acres of land must be authorized by a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit.
As of December 8, 2002 a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) permit is required for earth disturbance activities that will involve between 1 and 5 acres of disturbance, over the life of the project, and will have a point source discharge to surface waters of the Commonwealth. The new regulations are commonly referred to as NPDES Phase II. "). The permit must be in-hand before earthwork begins. The requirements for an NPDES permit are set by Federal and State regulations.
Point Source - Any discernable, confined and discrete conveyance, including, but not limited to, any pipe, ditch, channel, tunnel, conduit, well, discrete fissure, container, rolling stock, CAFO, landfill leachate collection system, or vessel or floating craft, from which pollutants are or may be discharged.
Examples of Point Sources Include but are not limited to:
Surface Waters of the Commonwealth - Any and all rivers, streams, creeks, rivulets, impoundments, ditches, water courses, storm sewers, lakes, dammed water, ponds, springs, wetlands and other bodies or channels of conveyance of surface water, or parts thereof, whether natural or artificial, within or on the boundaries of this Commonwealth (Pennsylvania).
In Pennsylvania, the NPDES permit program is delegated to and administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). DEP has delegated the management of the NPDES program to the Sullivan County Conservation District. DEP and districts jointly regulate construction activities utilizing existing state regulations concerning erosion control and NPDES permits to implement the federal requirements.
Pennsylvania’s Chapter 92, NPDES regulations, provide for the development and use of individual and general NPDES permits. On Oct. 4, 1997, DEP made available General Permit PAG-2 (1997 Amendment) for the discharge of stormwater associated with construction activities. This general permit can be used for most construction activities disturbing five or more acres.
Some exceptions for use of the general permit are:
The following is a list of requirements for General NPDES Permit Applications:
Operators of earthmoving activities who meet any one of the exceptions for general permits must obtain an individual NPDES permit. An individual permit application must be submitted, reviewed and approved before earthmoving activities begin. Applications must include an E&S plan which will be reviewed by the district. The District will make a recommendation on permit issuance or denial to DEP’s regional office. The final permit decision will be made by the DEP Regional Office. Applicants should allow at least 90-120 days for the processing of an individual permit application.
The new NPDES regulations also require that a post-construction stormwater plan be submitted with the NPDES Permit application. Infiltration will be the key to developing a good post-construction stormwater plan. The new permit requires that the net difference between the pre and post runoff be infiltrated back into the ground for ground water recharge.
The post-construction stormwater plan should include the following information:
Pennsylvania Stormwater Management Resources
WHO IS THE RESPONSIBLE PARTY?
The operator of the construction activity is the party or parties that either individually or collectively meet the following criteria:
1. Responsibility for site specifications, including the development or modification of the erosion and sediment control plan;
Operators can be the owner, the developer, general contractor or individual contractor.
Operational control can be shared or transferred between the landowner, developer and contractor. DEP has developed Transferee/Co-Permittee forms to allow for the flexibility of the sharing of the permit or the transfer of permit responsibilities.
DEP has also developed a Notice of Termination (NOT) form to be used by permittees or co-permittees when:
1. The operator is no longer responsible at the construction site;
*Even where the approval of the PCSM plan is not required, the permittee must develop and implement the PCSM plan and certify that the BMPs were implemented in accordance with the PCSM plan when the Notice of Termination is submitted.
Sullivan County administers both programs, including permit application and plan reviews, site inspections, complaint investigations and technical assistance. It is strongly recommended that a pre-application meeting be completed early on during a project's concept plan stage - before detailed plans are developed - in order to determine whether an NPDES permit is required and to expedite the permit and plan review process.
Due to financial and logistic reasons, the Sullivan County Conservation District has suspended its work with the Chapter 105 program. Please refer all questions and/or needs to the North Central Region Office of the PA Department of Environmental Protection at 570-327-3636.
DO I NEED A PERMIT?
WHAT IS A REGULATED STREAM/FLOODWAY?
TYPES OF PERMITS
In order to use these General Permits, one must complete and submit the following:
The following is listing and a brief description of the general 105 permits available through the Conservation District. Follow the link to the registration form for that General Permit.
GP-1 Fish Habitat Enhancement Structures: This permit is used for the installation of fish habitat structures that have been approved by the PA Fish & Boat Commission.
I would like to build a pond. Do I need a permit?
Actually, that question can be complicated to answer, because the construction of a pond can and often does cross into several different program areas within the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
To further complicate things, the Federal Government, through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, also may regulate such activities.
You probably won't be able to figure out for certain if your pond project needs a permit just from the information given here, simply because there are many site specific variables. We are presenting this information to give you insight into the regulations governing pond construction in Pennsylvania.
Keep in mind, this information pertains to permitting only.
To start, the DEP has regulations that govern DAMS. A dam is defined as "any artificial barrier, such as an earthen embankment or concrete structure, built for the purpose of impounding or storing water." DEP regulates, and thus requires a permit for, dams or ponds that meet any one of the following requirements:
It is recommended that you contact DEP to get a JURISDICTIONAL DETERMINATION on your dam. To do this, send a location map (USGS), soil survey map, plan view sketch, cross section sketch, and photographs of the site to DEP, Bureau of Waterways Engineering, Division of Dam Safety PO Box 8554, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8554. The Conservation District can help you prepare the location map and soils map. The DEP should respond to you in writing informing you if a dam permit is needed.
The DEP also has regulations governing encroachments to waterways and wetlands. Most pond proposals that we look at are in poorly drained areas. Because of this poor drainage, there are often regulated wetlands in the area. It is usually necessary to have the area checked for the presence of wetlands by a consultant or a qualified agency person. If the proposed pond will impact wetlands, a WATER OBSTRUCTION AND ENCROACHMENT PERMIT may be needed from the DEP. In addition, this permit may also be needed if the pond encroaches into the floodway of a stream.
It is important to consider whether the dam will be ON STREAM or OFF STREAM. Many on stream dams have a sizable watershed and need to obtain a dam permit. In addition, on stream dams or ponds tend to act as a sediment trap, trapping eroded soils and slowly reducing the capacity of the pond, which requires regular maintenance to keep the pond functioning properly. Off stream ponds often do not have this problem, because the inflow to the pond can be controlled, and even shut off if necessary.
If you are installing an intake from a stream to a pond, a GENERAL PERMIT (GP-4), INTAKE AND OUTFALL STRUCTURES is needed to authorize the encroachment. If you are constructing an on stream pond or dam, even if it does not meet any of the requirements for a permit (above), an ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT (EA) may be needed. The DEP is the agency that determines if an EA is needed. For information, you should contact DEP-Bureau of Watershed Management.
Draining your pond
1. Determine if wetlands are present on the pond site. Avoid wetlands if possible. If wetlands cannot be avoided, then a WATER OBSTRUCTION AND ENCROACHMENT PERMIT is needed from DEP.
PA Manuals and other Publications: