The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) has taken a number of steps to extend the life of its popular PAG-02 General Permit, a permit used for construction sites, larger than one acre, that discharge stormwater to surface water bodies. General permits are standardized permits that are much easier and faster to obtain from DEP than traditional individual permits.
The existing PAG-02 General Permit was scheduled to expire on December 7, 2017. DEP has extended the use of this General Permit for one year, until December 31, 2018. DEP will also publish on November 4, 2017 its intent to reissue the PAG-02 General Permit for five years beyond 2018. The intent of this 5-year extension is to allow DEP to propose revisions to the existing General Permit. This five-year reissuance will be subject to a 30-day comment period and must be approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The moves by DEP could leave a number of permit applicants somewhat high and dry. The permit extension until December 31, 2018 only applies to those parties that already have been approved by DEP for coverage under the existing PAG-02 General Permit. Those who do not have approved coverage from the Department by December 7, 2017 will need to apply to DEP for an individual permit. This could significantly increase the amount of paperwork required to be submitted and the length of time for DEP to review and act on a permit application.