The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) has launched a new electronic permit system to provide landowners a more efficient way to obtain general permit coverage for new projects that affect wetlands and streams. A variety of projects are covered by DEP’s Chapter 105 Wetland and Waterway Obstruction and Enchroachment General Permits, including stream crossings, small docks and boat ramps, streambank rehabilitation or protection, gravel bar removal, intake and outfall structures, agricultural crossings and ramps, minor road crossings, agricultural activities, and fish habitat enhancement structures.
The new electronic permitting process will apply only to DEP’s Chapter 105 General Permits. Applicants for projects requiring individuals permits will need to continue using the existing DEP and Army Corps of Engineers joint permit application.
DEP processes at least 2500 General Permit registration requests per year. It has been plagued over the past several years by delays in responding to these registration requests, creating obstacles to those wishing to commence projects requiring permit coverage. It is hoped that the new electronic processing will save time for applicants and DEP reviewers by allowing for online payment of permit fees, reducing the expense of printing complex design drawings, and making information available in real-time to the public.