Monday, September 16, 2019

Susquehanna River Basin Commission Proposes Changes To Rules For Consumptive Use Mitigation; Webinar, Hearing Set

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission is inviting comments on proposed changes to its regulations governing consumptive water use mitigation and a related consumptive water use mitigation policy.  
These rules are designed to enhance and improve the Commission's existing authorities to manage the water resources of the basin.  
The accompanying Consumptive Use Mitigation Policy offers implementing guidance for the Commission’s mitigation rules.
Among the changes proposed in the regulation are--
-- Reduce Standard For Consumptive Use Mitigation To 45 Days: The proposed revisions in § 806.22(b)(1) and (2) lower the 90-day standard for consumptive use mitigation to 45 days and require that any alternative water source or storage will not likely impact nearby surface waters. The purpose of these changes is to reduce the barriers to project sponsors providing their own mitigation. Analysis of the past 100 plus years of river flow records show that the overwhelming majority of low flow events in the Basin are adequately covered by a continuous 45-day consumptive use mitigation standard. Further, the prior standard that alternative supplies or storage have no impact was too rigid for projects to find suitable alternative supplies.
-- Discontinuance: Section 806.22(b) is also revised to clarify that discontinuance includes reduction of water consumption to less than 20,000 gallons per day (gpd). This was the Commission's policy from 1992 until 2006 when the present rule was adopted. In practice, complete discontinuance was found to be impractical and unrealistic for many projects; however, some projects have demonstrated the ability to reduce usage to 20,000 gallons per day when necessary. This practice allows continued operations at a locally de minimis consumptive use level while reducing mitigation demand on either the project or the Commission. Accordingly, this change is designed to increase the feasibility of projects being able to select discontinuance as a mitigation option. Discontinuance of use is the most effective method of mitigation because it reduces and/or eliminates the water use during Commission designated low flows periods and does not depend on any further action by the Commission or project sponsor to be effectuated.
-- Reuse Of Stormater/Wastewater: Section 806.22(e) is amended to allow a project sourced by reuse of stormwater, wastewater or other reused or recycled water to be eligible for an Approval by Rule for consumptive use.
Click Here for a copy of the proposed regulation changes.  Click Here for a copy of the proposed policy.
Oct. 1 Webinar
To inform the regulated community and the public about these changes, the Commission is hosting a webinar explaining the proposed rulemaking on October 1 starting at 10:00. Click Here to register for the webinar or for more information.
Oct. 31 Hearing
The Commission has scheduled a public hearing on the proposed rulemaking and policy to be held on October 31 in Harrisburg at the Commission Headquarters, 4423 N Front Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110-1788 starting at 2:30. 
Those wishing to testify are asked to notify the Commission in advance, if possible, at the regular address listed below or by email to:
Submitting Comments
The deadline for comments is November 12.  Comments may be mailed to: Jason E. Oyler, Esq., General Counsel, Susquehanna River Basin Commission, 4423 N Front Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110-1788, submitted by email to: or through the SRBC’s public comment webpage. 
For more information on programs, training opportunities and upcoming events, visit the Susquehanna River Basin Commission website.  Click Here to sign up for SRBC’s newsletter.   Follow SRBC on Twitter, visit them on YouTube.
(Photo: Billmeyer Quarry Consumptive Use Mitigation Project, SRBC.)

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