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Department of Environmental Protection

April 26, 2013
Department of Environmental Protection

Secretary Michael Krancer was questioned about natural gas drilling activity in the Commonwealth and inspection activities. Time was also devoted to:

  • DEP permit processing backlogs.
  • Susquehanna River water quality improvements.
  • Air quality monitoring.
  • Scrap tire pile and hazardous sites cleanup efforts.
  • Brownfields projects.
  • Stormwater management regulations.
  • PENNVEST funding.

Senator Baker raises concerns about the unintended consequences of recent regulatory changes involving septic systems in areas with high-quality water resources.
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DEP to Extend Public Comment Period

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
Dept. of Environmental Protection

Commonwealth News Bureau
Room 308, Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg PA., 17120

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04/18/2013

CONTACT:
Kevin Sunday, DEP

717-787-1323
 
DEP to Extend Public Comment Period, Host Webinar about Onlot Septic System Guidance
Guidance Developed in Response to Court Decision

HARRISBURG -- The Department of Environmental Protection announced today that it will accept comments for an additional 30 days on draft technical guidance describing how onlot sewage disposal systems can be sited in watersheds that are designated high-quality and exceptional value. The comment period, which was originally slated to close May 1, will be open through June 3.

The agency also announced it will host a webinar on Tuesday, April 23, from 2 to 3 p.m., to present the guidance and answer questions. DEP will also expand its outreach and discussion efforts with local government organizations.

“Good government, sound policy and public involvement are core tenets of this administration,” DEP Acting Secretary Chris Abruzzo said. “We want to make sure that everyone has a chance to be heard; we want reasonable development to be able to occur; and we want to make sure this state’s water quality is protected. If there are different approaches than the one we have proposed, we want to hear them.”

The draft technical guidance outlines an approach using best management practices, such as the number of septic systems per acre on a proposed development, or nitrate removal technology, to demonstrate that the state’s most pristine waters are protected. Under Pennsylvania law, these high-quality and exceptional value watersheds are afforded special protections, known as anti-degradation requirements. DEP is required by federal law to ensure the water quality of such watersheds is protected and maintained.

The technical guidance, as drafted, is prospective and would only apply to onlot septic systems for projects that have not yet secured sewage planning approval from DEP and local government organizations. The technical guidance will not affect projects that have already been approved.

This technical guidance is needed because the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board ruled that the modeling DEP relied on to approve the use of septic systems near high-quality and exceptional value watersheds did not adequately demonstrate the waterways are protected. The ruling set a high legal and scientific standard for review of sewage facilities planning in special protection watersheds.

This draft guidance lays out one approach to address developers’ uncertainty. If it is finalized, DEP will favorably view planning modules submitted in accordance with the guidance and will also consider alternative approaches as sewage planners seek approval from the agency.

Written comments on the guidance should be sent in writing by June 3 to Thomas Starosta at DEP’s Bureau of Point and Non-Point Source Management, Division of Planning and Permits, P. O. Box 8774, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8774, or via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more information or to register for the webinar, visit www.dep.state.pa.us and click the “DEP Webinars” button, then “Draft Technical Guidance for Onlot Sewage Systems in HQ/EV” on the right-hand side of that page. The webinar will be recorded and posted on this webpage for future viewing.

New DEP Regulation

April 11, 2013

On March 2, 2013, DEP advertised a policy entitled "Sewage Planning Module Review for On Lot Sewage Systems Proposed in High Quality and Exceptional Value Watersheds."  The policy, if enacted would have a devastating effect on the economy of Wayne, Pike, and Monroe counties.  Yet, the policy would have little environmental benefit as the waters of the three counties are extremely low in nitrate.

THE DEP PROPOSED POLICY RELATED TO ON-LOT SEWAGE SYSTEMS WILL AFFECT EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US.

THE PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD ENDS MAY 1ST SO PLEASE DON’T WAIT – DO IT RIGHT NOW

THIS AFFECTS YOU AS A LANDOWNER.

Comments should be sent to:

          Thomas Starosta
          Dept. of Environmental Protection
          Bureau of Point and Non-Point Source Mgt.
          Division of Planning and Permits
          PO Box 8774
          Harrisburg, PA 17105-8774
          (reference document # 385-2208-001)

Copies of your comments should also be sent to Senator Baker, Representative Brown and Governor Corbett at the following addresses:

Representative Rosemary Brown
PO Box 869
Marshalls Creek, PA 18335

Senator Lisa Baker
2512 Route 6
Hawley, PA 18428

Harry Forbes
Governor's Northeast Office
Oppenheim Building, 3rd Floor
409 Lackawanna Avenue
Scranton, PA 18503

Please see the below articles regarding this policy:
Are we up the Creek
DEPs On-Lot Septic Movement
Letter to SAC Committee
Wayne County Planning Commission Letter
Special Protection Watershed Map

WEBINAR:

Due to the high level of interest in yesterday’s webinar on the “Draft Technical Guidance for DEP’s review of Sewage Facilities Planning Modules for Onlot Sewage Systems Proposed in Pennsylvania’s High Quality and Exceptional Value Watersheds,” DEP has decided to conduct a second webinar to take place Tuesday, April 23. 

During the one-hour webinar, DEP staff will describe Best Management Practices (BMPs) for individual and community onlot sewage systems that can achieve nonpoint source control in High Quality and Exceptional Value waters, and review the process for selecting appropriate BMPs to achieve such control.

The webinar will be held from 2-3 p.m., Tuesday, April 23.  The webinar is free but registration is required.  To register, visit https://copa.webex.com/copa/onstage/g.php?d=648587324&t=a

The Draft Technical Guidance can be found here:  http://www.elibrary.dep.state.pa.us/dsweb/Get/Document-93420/385-2208-001.pdf  

Public comments regarding the Draft Technical Guidance are due to DEP May 1. 

SEMINAR:
On Thursday, April 25th the Pike County Chamber will be hosting a Breakfast Seminar at the Best Western Inn at Hunt's Landing promptly at 7:30a.m.  This month's topic is "The DEP Policy that could Stop all desirable growth in Pike County and Northeastern PA".

If you are in real estate, banking, or construction or, if you own land or, you run any type of business or, if you think we need new jobs and commerce to feed our local economy - please take note.  You need to know about a proposed policy that the Pennsylvania Department of Evnvironmental Protection (DEP) calls DEP ID: 385-2208-001.  While it sounds innocent enough, the implications are profound.  DEP ID: 385-2208-001 is a proposal that would impose additional development requirements on new projects in the form of nitrogen credits.   Like many government policies, it sounds good and it is likely well-intentioned.  But in Pike County there is neither a problem to be solved nor, is the solution desirable relative to the economic future of Pike County.

Justin Hoffmann, a Professional Engineer with Kiley Associates, LLC (Surveyors and Engineers) will give us background information, case studies and present a science-based discussion on the proposal.  He will be joined by Will Whitehead who is a Sewer Engineer and Brian Oram who is a Professional Geologist.  Together these speakers will deliver a compelling presentation on why this proposed policy might not be in the best interests of Pike County and the region.  Reservations are required by calling 570-296-8700 no later than April 24th.

 

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