Erosion & Sedimentation Control - Chapter 102 PA Clean Streams Law
Our District's largest program, both in terms of work load and income to operate our agency, is the Erosion and Sedimentation Control Program. The program has been delegated to Conservation Districts by the Pennsylvania DEP and the State Conservation Commission. The Erosion and Sedimentation Control Program is established under Chapter 102 of the Clean Streams Law of Pennsylvania.
The Department of Environmental Protection through the State Conservation Commission provides funds to the Conservation District to administer the program. The District is also able to retain the permit fees for all of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. We are also permitted by the State Conservation Commission to charge plan review fees that are associated with the program for the purpose of financially supporting the program without placing the burden on the citizens of Washington County. Through a combination of the use of permit fees, financial reimbursements from the DEP and plan review fees, our District is able to fund the program fully. What this means is that we operate the program in Washington without the need for any Washington County Tax dollars other than the County providing office space and Secretarial support.
Sediment has been and continues to be the largest single source of pollution by volume in our county, state, and nation. We all contribute to this source of pollution through new housing plans, commercial and industrial developments, driveways and private lanes, dirt and gravel roads, poor farming practices, and major highway construction. This is why the Erosion and Sediment Control Program and the NPDES permitting systems were implemented and why greater controls are required for developers than for agriculture crop fields.
Washington County continues to develop at a steady rate. This added development creates a major negative impact on the quality of the watersheds. Thermal loading, stormwater runoff, sediment, and riparian corridor destruction take a heavy toll on the quality of the receiving streams.
Since 2005, the NPDES permitting system requires developers to have a Post Construction Stormwater Management Plan. These plans are not intended to control stormwater to prevent flooding. Under the new Stormwater Management regulations, all sites that require a State NPDES permit must control the rate of stormwater discharge, the volume, and also water quality. That task still remains in the control of the municipalities, however most municipal ordinances only address rate and do not address volume and water quality, so this partially falls on the District's shoulders since we issue the General NPDES permits for Washington County.
The intent of the NPDES stormwater management plan is to improve water quality and total volume discharges from developing sites. All permitted developments must now capture the two year, 24 hour storm event and infiltrate this water as well as improve the water quality through the use of some type of Best Management Practice such as a bio-retention area.
Our District reviews all Post Construction Stormwater Management Plans that require a NPDES permit. We specifically review these plans to insure that the site developer is attempting to control the final rate, volume, and water quality of the stormwater discharge after development is accomplished.
The Erosion and Sedimentation Program staff are funded by a combination of funding from the DEP, permit fees, and plan review fees. This combination of funds entirely pays for the operation of the program with no cost to Washington County tax payers.
The Conservation District will offer an accelerated review process for applicants who elect to double the normal required fee. For the project to qualify for an accelerated review all other necessary permits or waivers must be obtained prior to submission. For complete requirements see the Fee Resolution link on the side of the page.
The accelerated review process provides the guarantee that the initial review of the project will be completed within 30 days of submission provided that all of the proper plan or permit documentation is submitted and correctly completed. The Conservation District does not guarantee that the plan or permit will be approved or issued within the 30 day period. Plan approval or permit issuance is dependent on many factors that are not controlled by the District. The accelerated fee only applies to the E&S review fee.
Permit Fee Structure:
General NPDES Permit Fees:
Individual NPDES Permit Fees:
The final Chapter 102 regulations are available on the Department of Environmental Protection’s Website and can be accessed from the following link: Stormwater Management
Oil and Gas Permitting
The Marcellus Shale gas field exploration has impacted Washington County and our tri-state area greatly.
The DEP administers all oil and gas permits. Specifically, all Chapter 102 and 105 permits for the exploration, production, processing and treatment facilities. Transmission line permits (ESCGP-2 permits) are reviewed processed, and inspected by our Conservation District.
Resources and Forms: