HARRISBURG, PA, Aug. 20, 2010 -- The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is providing municipal drainage system operators a nine-month extension of their existing general permit to better coordinate implementation of new permitting requirements.
The extension applies to general permit PAG-13, which governs how municipal separate storm sewer systems handle stormwater runoff in urban areas. These systems, commonly referred to as MS4s, are publicly owned networks of storm drains, pipes and ditches that collect and drain stormwater.
Improperly managed stormwater runoff can damage streams, cause significant erosion, and carry excessive pollutants downstream.
"This extension will give municipalities time to evaluate the new general permit fully and develop reasonable plans to meet it," said DEP Deputy Secretary for Water Management John Hines. "Existing operators of regulated MS4s are authorized and required to continue discharging stormwater in accordance with the terms and conditions of their existing general permit and provide annual reports on the program's progress."
The current PAG-13 permit for all MS4s is scheduled to expire at midnight on March 9, 2011. The extension will take effect March 10, 2011 and expire at midnight on Dec. 9, 2011.
The extension allows time for DEP and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to conduct municipal outreach on the revised permit and to provide municipalities time to prepare their permit applications and supporting information.
The extension also applies to existing PAG-13 permit approvals, waivers from permit application requirements, and exemptions from the MS4 operator designation that are scheduled to expire.
Permittees covered by an individual permit should continue to implement the requirements of their permit and should request a coverage extension based on its terms and expiration date. The downloadable form to renew coverage for an individual permit is available at www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Stormwater Management, then click on "NPDES MS4 Permit (PAG-13)."
The existing PAG-13 permit documents are available from the department's regional offices. The permit package also is available on the department's website through the "Licensing, Permits, & Certification" page, or by calling Barry Newman at 717-705-6346.