Friday, March 29, 2019

EQB Invites Comments On Proposed $8 Million Water Quality Permit Fee Increases To Make Up For Cuts In State Funding For DEP

The Environmental Quality Board published notice in the March 30 PA Bulletin inviting comments on proposed NPDES and Water Quality Permit fee increases to make up for cuts in state General Fund support for DEP’s budget.
DEP is proposing a total increase of $8 million in Chapter 92a NPDES-- $7 million-- and Chapter 91 Water Quality-- $1 million-- permit fees.
The NPDES permit fee increases would cover approximately 4,000 facilities and the Water Quality permit fees from 500 to 600 applicants annually. The types of facilities affected include--

-- Construction of new or expanded industrial wastewater treatment facilities;
-- Construction of wastewater pump stations;
-- Construction of sewers and sewer extensions meeting specific criteria;
-- Construction of manure storage facilities meeting specific criteria;
-- Land application and reuse of wastewater;
-- Use of algicides, herbicides and fish control chemicals in surface waters;
-- Discharge of sewage, industrial waste, industrial stormwater, municipal stormwater, and
pesticides above specific thresholds to surface water; and
-- Operation of a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO)
Chapter 91 wastewater facility fees have not been increased since 1971 and NPDES permit fees were last increased in 2010.
Since 2007, DEP’s Clean Water Program staff has been reduced by 25 percent due to cuts in state General Fund appropriations.
DEP believes 25 additional staff are necessary in the Bureau of Clean Water to adequately carry out its responsibilities.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has told DEP several times since 2010 the agency does not have adequate resources to carry out its federally mandated responsibilities for the NPDES Program, including the MS4 Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program.
A copy of the proposal is also available on DEP’s eComment webpage (when posted).  Additional background documents are available under the Environmental Quality Board December 2018 meeting webpage.
A public hearing has been scheduled for May 1 to accept comments on the proposal.  It will be held at DEP’s Southcentral Regional Office, 909 Elmerton Avenue in Harrisburg starting at 1:00.
Persons wishing to present testimony at a hearing are requested to contact the Environmental Quality Board, P.O. Box 8477, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8477, (717) 783-8727 at least 1 week in advance of the hearing to reserve a time to present testimony.
Verbal testimony is limited to 5 minutes for each witness. Witnesses are requested to submit three written copies of their oral testimony to the hearing chairperson at the hearing. Organizations are limited to designating one witness to present testimony on their behalf at each hearing.
All public comments on this proposal must be received by May 14.
Comments may be submitted to the Board online via DEP’s eComment tool.  Comments may be submitted to the Board by email to:  A subject heading of this proposed rulemaking and a return name and address must be included in each transmission.
If an acknowledgement of comments submitted online or by email is not received by the sender within 2 working days, the comments should be retransmitted to the Board to ensure receipt. Comments submitted by facsimile will not be accepted.
Written comments should be mailed to the Environmental Quality Board, P.O. Box 8477, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8477. Express mail should be sent to the Environmental Quality Board, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 16th Floor, 400 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101-2301.
Read the entire PA Bulletin notice for all the details.

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