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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 22-1702



Draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit for Discharges from Small Flow Treatment Facilities (PAG-04)

[52 Pa.B. 6933]
[Saturday, November 5, 2022]

 The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) is announcing the availability of a draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Discharges from Small Flow Treatment Facilities (SFTF) (PAG-04). To access the draft General Permit and related documents, visit (select ''Permit and Authorization Packages,'' then ''Clean Water,'' then ''Draft—PAG-04 NPDES General Permit for Discharges from Small Flow Treatment Facilities'').

 The PAG-04 General Permit is intended to provide NPDES permit coverage to existing or proposed SFTFs. SFTFs are treatment works designed to adequately treat sewage flows of not greater than 2,000 gallons per day for final disposal to surface waters. The General Permit may not be used to cover other types of treatment facilities including those that process industrial wastes.

 The following significant changes are proposed in the draft PAG-04 General Permit in comparison to the PAG-04 General Permit that is currently in effect, which expired on May 11, 2019, and has been extended to May 11, 2023:

 • The proposed Notice of Intent (NOI) fee would increase from $0 to $100 for single residence sewage treatment plants (SRSTP), and from $100 to $1,000 for SFTFs that are not SRSTPs (paid in increments of $200 per year).

 • A definition of ''service provider'' has been proposed to address the qualifications of those performing annual inspections of an SFTF. In addition, a definition of ''proprietary system'' would be introduced to clarify that service providers for these systems would need to be certified by the manufacturer to provide operation and maintenance services.

 • The existing General Permit restricts the use of PAG-04 to only those SFTF technologies that are identified in the Department's Small Flow Treatment Facilities Manual (DEP ID: 362-0300-002). The Department is proposing to expand the applicability of PAG-04 to any technology that the Department's Bureau of Clean Water has evaluated and determined capable of achieving the effluent limitations in Part A of the General Permit. The technologies include proprietary systems that have been reviewed and verified to achieve advanced secondary treatment standards of ≤ 10 milligrams per liter (mg/L) of 5-day carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand and of ≤ 10 mg/L total suspended solids and disinfection to a fecal coliform level ≤ 200 colony forming units/100 milliliters.

 • Instructions have been developed by the Department to assist permittees in completing Annual Maintenance Reports (AMR) (3800-PM-BCW0093f).

 • The reporting period for annual reports would be transitioned from the current period of June 1—May 1 to a calendar year for administrative purposes. AMRs would continue to be due by June 30.

 • The existing General Permit requires annual pumping of dosing tanks and aerobic tanks. The Department proposes to clarify that dosing tanks only need to be pumped when solids are observed in the tank that have the potential to affect downstream units (such as filters). The Department also proposes to remove the requirement to pump aerobic tanks annually because doing so may affect the biological integrity of the system; instead, the Department will note on the AMR that aerobic tanks should be pumped (or have solids removed) as recommended by the manufacturer or service provider.

 • The existing General Permit requires monthly cleaning of the ultraviolet (UV) contact surface and annual UV bulb replacement. However, some UV systems have sensors or alarms to notify the owner of reduced intensity or transmittance. The Department proposes to allow the permittee with an alarm system to conduct maintenance when notified that it is necessary by an alarm system.

 • The existing General Permit utilized the AMR to serve as the NOI for annual coverage under PAG-04. New coverage was approved without an expiration date of coverage identified. The Department proposes to no longer utilize the AMR as an NOI for annual coverage under the reissued General Permit. The Department will notify PAG-04 permittees of the mechanism that must be used to continue coverage under a modified or reissued General Permit and new coverage will specify an expiration date of coverage that corresponds to the PAG-04 expiration date.

Written Comments: Interested persons are invited to submit written comments regarding the draft PAG-04 General Permit and associated documents through Monday, December 5, 2022. Comments, including comments submitted by e-mail must include the commentator's name and address. Commentators are encouraged to submit comments using the Department's online eComment tool at Written comments can also be submitted by e-mail to or by mail to the Department of Environmental Protection, Policy Office, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P.O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063.

 Written comments submitted during the 30-day comment period will be retained by the Department and considered in finalizing the General Permit. The Department will provide an opportunity for any interested person or group of persons, any affected State, any affected interstate agency, the United States Environmental Protection Agency or any interested agency to request or petition for a public hearing with respect to the proposed General Permit. The request or petition for public hearing, which must be filed within the 30-day period allowed for filing of written comments, must indicate the interest of the party filing the request and the reasons why a hearing is warranted. A hearing will be held if there is significant public interest.

Acting Secretary

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 22-1702. Filed for public inspection November 4, 2022, 9:00 a.m.]

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