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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 97-1595


Revised NPDES General Permit PAG-2 for Discharges of Stormwater Associated With Construction Activities (1997 Amendment)

[27 Pa.B. 5143]

   The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) by this notice is revising and renewing the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Construction Activity (PAG-2) which was originally issued on October 10, 1992 (22 Pa.B 5063) with technical corrections on January 23, 1993 (23 Pa.B 492). PAG-2 is scheduled to expire on October 9, 1997. On October 19, 1996, the Department published a notice of proposed revisions to PAG-2 in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, 26 Pa. B. 5055, with a 30-day public comment period. The Department has received comments regarding the proposed revisions from 17 individuals representing the building industry, county conservation districts and State and Federal agencies. After consideration of the comments, the Department is amending the permit as follows:

*  The filing fee has been increased from the current $100 to $250.

*  The upper acreage limitation of 25 acres for participation in PAG-2 has been eliminated.

*  Monitoring requirements have been revised to require visual site inspections of erosion and sediment control best management practices.

*  Requirements have been added for preconstruction notification and conferences.

*  Erosion and sediment control plans are required to be developed, submitted and approved for all spoil areas, borrow areas and phased projects.

*  The permit encourages pollution prevention techniques by prohibiting its use in special protection waters, and by requiring proper disposal or recycling of building materials and wastes.

*  The permit has been clarified so that both the permittee and copermittees are responsible for filing transfer agreements, maintaining erosion and sediment control best management practices (BMPs), and providing required notifications to the reviewing entity.

*  Requirements have been added for the consideration of Federal and State threatened or endangered species and their habitat.

*  Clarification has been provided to ensure that coal and noncoal mining activities are not eligible for coverage under this permit.

*  Clarification has been added to ensure that wetlands are adequately protected.

*  Conditions of the permit which were determined to be unnecessary, redundant or prescriptive have been eliminated.

Extension of Coverage under PAG-2 issued in 1992

   The Department is, by this notice, granting permission for persons who submitted an administratively complete and acceptable Notice of Intent (NOI) seeking coverage under PAG-2 (1992) on or after April 9, 1997, but before October 10, 1997, to continue their stormwater discharge associated with construction activities until October 9, 2002 under the terms and conditions of PAG-2 (1992).

   The Department is, by this notice, extending the coverage of PAG-2 (1992) until December 31, 1997 for those persons who submitted an administratively complete and acceptable NOI prior to April 9, 1997. Persons in this category who wish to continue a stormwater discharge associated with construction activities may extend coverage beyond December 31, 1997 under PAG-2 (1992) by submitting an administratively complete and acceptable NOI on or before December 31, 1997. Upon receipt of an administratively complete and acceptable NOI, the reviewing entity will acknowledge and administratively extend the coverage under the terms and conditions of PAG-2 (1992) until October 9, 2002. The fee for continued coverage is $100.

   Persons seeking to continue a discharge of stormwater associated with construction activities, who do not submit an NOI request for extension of coverage on or before December 31, 1997 must apply for PAG-2 (1997 Amendment), or an individual NPDES Permit for Stormwater Discharge Associated with Construction Activities, to extend the coverage.

New Authorizations for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Construction Activities

   Persons requesting authorization on or after October 10, 1997 to discharge stormwater associated with construction activities must apply for coverage under PAG-2 (1997 Amendment) accompanied by a $250 filing fee, or an individual NPDES Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Construction Activities.

Public Comment and Response

   The major public comments and the Department's responses follow:

   A commentator questioned the justification for a renewal fee, and for increasing the processing fee from $100 to $250 for projects under PAG-2 (1997 Amendment). Under the NPDES regulations at 25 Pa. Code, Chapter 92, the renewal of permit coverage requires an application fee. By this notice, the Department is continuing the $100 fee for renewal of coverage under PAG-2 (1992). The justification for increasing the fee for PAG-2 (1997 Amendment) is based on a survey conducted by the Department of the actual costs associated with the processing of a permit application and related activities by the reviewing entities. The results of the survey indicated that the cost of processing a NOI averaged 12.5 hours per application at a rate of $20 per hour or $250.

   One commentator recommended that clarification be provided for phased projects and the requirements for specific erosion and sediment control plans. The Department has clarified that the coverage under the permit is only granted for those phases or parcels of a project that have an approved erosion and sediment control plan.

   One commentator questioned whether there is a need for individual NPDES permits for stormwater discharges from construction activities. Discharges of stormwater associated with construction activity that do not meet the terms and conditions of PAG-2 (for example, discharges to waters classified as special protection), or that fall within §  92.83(b) (relating to inclusion of individual dischargers in general NPDES permits), must seek an individual NPDES permit to discharge.

   A commentator recommended that a wetland determination be conducted if hydric soils are present prior to authorizing coverage under a general permit. The Department has amended the permit so that when the reviewing entity finds that hydric soils are present, a wetland determination may be required to adequately determine the effectiveness of the erosion and sediment control plan.

   A commentator recommended that the PA Natural Diversity Inventory (PNDI) be utilized to search for potential impacts to threatened and endangered species during the general permit review. The Department has amended the permit to be consistent with the proposed EPA general permit for stormwater discharged from construction activities, 62 Fed. Reg. 29785 (June 2, 1997), which requires protection of Federal threatened and endangered species and their habitat.

   One commentator requested that the Department state the effluent limitations for sediment discharges, and describe how monitoring of these discharges is to be conducted. Effluent limitations are in the form of properly designed, implemented and maintained best management practices. Permittees and copermittees must conduct visual inspection of their best management practices weekly and after each rain event to ensure that the best management practices are working properly and effectively to prevent pollution to waters of this Commonwealth.

   The proposed revisions to this general permit have been sent to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Regional Administrator for Region III. Persons wishing to obtain a copy of this general permit, application forms, instructions and other related documents should request them from the Department's Bureau of Water Quality Protection, Division of Waterways, Wetlands, and Erosion Control, one of the Department's Regional Offices, a local county conservation district office or the Department's Website TDD users may telephone the Department through the AT&T Relay Service at (800) 654-5984.


[Pa.B. Doc. No. 97-1595. Filed for public inspection October 3, 1997, 9:00 a.m.]

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