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Thursday, July 2, 2009

DEP ACCEPTING COMMENTS ON STORMWATER PERMIT REVISIONS

HARRISBURG – The Department of Environmental Protection is accepting comments on proposed revisions to a municipal stormwater general permit that are expected to reduce discharge of pollutants and to satisfy requirements of the Clean Water Act, according to DEP Secretary John Hanger. Since 2002, designated small municipal separate storm water systems have been required to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. By law, the permit must be reviewed and renewed every five years, and Pennsylvania is currently operating under an extension of the review.

Throughout June, DEP has conducted a number of public meetings and public hearings on the revisions to explain the NPDES general permit and solicit comments.

“This NPDES general permit is not a new requirement,” Hanger said. “It does not implement or relate to any new or proposed regulations at either the federal or state level; however it provides a template for meeting existing federal and state water quality regulations. “A proposed section relating to total maximum daily loads, or TMDLs, has been incorporated into the permit to assist those municipalities that are required to meet water quality standards where the waters are impaired,” Hanger explained. A TMDL is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a body of water can receive and still safely meet water quality standards. “This proposed section will help municipalities comply with these water quality improvement requirements,” he said.

Most municipalities that are required to obtain or renew their permit will be eligible to use this NPDES general permit. Municipalities can elect to use a more customized approach by using an individual NPDES permit process as an alternative to the DEP proposed NPDES general permit.

The public comment period for submitting written comments ends July 6. Comments should be submitted to Barry Newman, Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Watershed Management, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P.O. Box 8775, 10th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8774, or by e-mail to eppag13comments@state.pa.us. The Department will not accept comments submitted by facsimile or by voice mail.

For more information, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Stormwater Management

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