Application of Antidegradation Requirements to Onlot Sewage Systems

April 2010Newsletters In The Zone

Download Entire Newsletter (pdf file)

At a March 2010 meeting in Wayne County, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection attempted to provide initial draft guidance to an audience of developers as well as county and state officials. It distributed a draft document titled “Application of Antidegradation Requirements to Onlot Sewage Systems in Special ProtectionWaters.”

As a result of Lipton et al v. DEP (2008), the Environmental Hearing Board stated that the Department was “...required to consider whether the approval of a sewage module was consistent with regulations promulgated to effectuate the mandates of the Clean Stream Law, including the antidegradation requirements.” The purpose of DEP's draft document is to outline a process for determining whether a proposed onlot sewage system conforms to antidegradation requirements applicable to special protection waters (high quality and exceptional value).

To assist the Department in its review of cost effective and reasonable best management practices for nonpoint source controls, applicants should consider submitting additional information with their planning modules describing how the proposed method of sewage treatment and disposal ensures protection and nondegradation of special protection waters. Examples include: describe site conditions that promote natural dentrification, the use of appropriate isolation distances, analysis of actual stream data, implementation of a sewage management program, installation of nitrate removal technology, use of Individual Residential Spray Irrigation systems, etc.

DEP stresses that the draft document merely attempts to establish a framework for coping with Lipton-related issues and not alter existing regulatory requirements.

For more information, please contact Carrie B.Nase at 215.299.2030 or [email protected].