PaDEP Publishes New E&S Manual

June 2012Articles In the Zone

On March 31, 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PaDEP) published the final new Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control Program Manual. Final publication had been long anticipated by contractors and design professionals active in earth disturbance activities. Notable design guidance changes within the new manual may alter the approach to land development projects in the Commonwealth and how county conservation districts respond to project submissions.

The purpose of the new guidance manual is designed to inform those engaged in earth disturbance activities and in the preparation of E&S plans how to comply with regulations found in 25 Pa. Code Chapter 102. The manual lists various new Best Management Practices (BMPs) and design standards that are acceptable in Pennsylvania. BMPs, when designed according to these standards, and properly implemented and maintained, are expected to achieve the regulatory standard of minimizing the potential for accelerated erosion and sedimentation, and at the same time to protect, maintain, reclaim and restore water quality and existing and designated uses of surface waters.

Title 25 Pa. Code Chapter 102.4 (b) requires the “implementation and maintenance of E&S BMPs” to minimize the potential for accelerated erosion and sedimentation, including those activities that disturb less than 5,000 square feet (464.5 square meters).” It also requires that “a person proposing earth disturbance activities shall develop and implement a written E&S Plan under this chapter if one or more of the following criteria apply [102.4(b)(2)]:

  1. The earth disturbance activity will result in a total earth disturbance of 5,000 square feet (464.5 square meters) or more;
  2. The person proposing the earth disturbance activities is required to develop an E&S Plan under this chapter or under other PaDEP regulations; or
  3. The earth disturbance activity, because of its proximity to existing drainage features or patterns, has the potential to discharge to a water classified as a High Quality or Exceptional Value water under Chapter 93 (relating to water quality standards).”