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EQB Adopts Chapters 91 and 92a Proposed Fee Package

EQB Adopts Chapters 91 and 92a Proposed Fee Package

Fee Comparison Chart Ch 91 & 92a

FYI…We wanted to let you know that the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) met today and adopted (15-2) the proposed rulemaking Water Quality Management (WQM) and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit Application Fees and Annual Fees (25 PA Code Chapters 91 and 92a).

 

“The purpose of this proposed rulemaking is to raise approximately $8 million in increased fees annually, as determined by the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) workload analyses, to increase program resources for the Bureau of Clean Water and statewide Clean Water Program, and increase program resources to support additional positions, so that the DEP can accomplish its mission and legal obligations to the public, regulated community, and federal authorities.”

 

Water Quality Management (WQM)

 

WQM permits are required under Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Law (35 P.S. §§ 691.1-691.1001) and 25 Pa. Code Chapter 91 for the construction of water pollution control facilities, discharges to waters of the Commonwealth, and other activities that may cause or contribute to pollution to waters of the Commonwealth.

 

  • DEP proposes to create “fee categories” for different types of projects requiring WQM permits, with the fee commensurate with the level of effort necessary to review and process the permits.
  • DEP proposes to clarify fees for amendments to and transfers of WQM permits.
  • DEP also proposes to eliminate the cap of $500 on general WQM permit Notice of Intent (NOI) fees and establish that NOI fees may not exceed the equivalent individual WQM permit application fees.
  • DEP is proposing to add language that will require the DEP to adjust WQM permit application fees according to changes to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Cost Index for State and Local Government Compensation (ECI) every two years.
  • The adjustment would be based on the cost difference, if any, of the ECI for the most recent two-year period.
  • The proposed revision requires DEP to publish any changes to the fees based on the ECI in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
  • Fee increases exceeding the ECI change would require promulgation of a rulemaking.
  • Fee will not be adjusted if application of the index would result in fees exceeding the DEP’s costs to administer the Clean Water Program.
  • Finally, DEP plans to update references within Chapter 91 to Chapter 92a, which replaced Chapter 92 in 2010.

 

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

 

NPDES permits are required under the federal Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. § 1342), the Clean Streams Law, and 25 Pa. Code Chapter 92a for the discharge of pollutants to surface waters.

 

  • DEP proposes to increase NPDES permit application and annual fees for most, but not all, categories of facilities.
  • The existing fee categories established by the 2010 rulemaking would generally remain the same, but most fees would be increased.
  • DEP proposes to eliminate the cap of $2,500 on general NPDES permit NOI fees and establish that NOI fees may not exceed the equivalent individual NPDES permit application fees.
  • DEP proposes to amend 25 Pa. Code § 92a.32 by clarifying that industrial facilities that seek a NO Exposure Certification in lieu of NPDES permit coverage and municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) that seek a waiver from NPDES permit requirements must submit the relevant NOI or application along with the appropriate fee.
  • DEP also proposes to add language that will require the DEP to adjust NPDES permit application fees according to changes to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Cost Index for State and Local Government Compensation (ECI) every two years.
  • The adjustment would be based on the cost difference, if any, of the ECI for the most recent two-year period.
  • The proposed revision requires DEP to publish any changes to the fees based on the ECI in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
  • Fee will not be adjusted if application of the index would result in fees exceeding DEP’s costs to administer the Clean Water Program.
  • Fee increases exceeding the ECI change would require promulgation of a rulemaking.
  • The proposed rulemaking would eliminate permit reissuance fees for most categories of facilities so that five annual fees are due per permit term rather than four annual fees and one reissuance fee.
  • Additionally, the proposed rulemaking would establish a fixed date for payment of annual fees based on the effective date of the latest issued or reissued permit.

 

The proposed fee package will have a 45-day comment period (commencing upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin) and one public hearing.

 

  • Comments may be submitted to the EQB by accessing eComment at http://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/eComment
  • Comments may be submitted by e-mail at RegComments@pa.gov .  A subject heading of the proposed rulemaking and a return name and address must be included in each transmission.
  • Written comments should be mailed to the Environmental Quality Board, P.O. Box 8477, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8477.

 

Below are links to the documents posted on the EQB website.  In addition, I’ve attached a Fee Comparison Table, which was handed out at today’s EQB meeting.

 

 

Source:  EQB Website

 

 

 

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