DEP Approves Fee Increase for NPDES Permits
On August 28, the state Department of Environmental Protection published final changes to the state’s application and annual fee schedules for Water Quality Management (WQM) and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. Permits covered by the new fees include MS4 permits, single residence sewage treatment plants, small flow sewage treatment facilities, and central sewage collection systems. These new fees are based on an analysis of the typical complexity and time necessary to review various permit applications and account for the need for DEP to conduct inspections during or following construction of any permitted facilities. Click here to read the regulation.
The regulations also address the process for municipalities to request a waiver from NPDES permit requirements. To request a waiver for small MS4 operators, municipalities must submit a permit application, fee, and waiver request on DEP- approved forms at least once every five years.
For individual NPDES permits, the annual fee is now due on the effective date of the last permit issuance or reissuance for permits issued before August 28, 2021 and is the effective date of the initial permit for permits issued after August 28, 2021. For example, if an individual NPDES permit was last reissued with an effective date of June 1, 2017, the annual fee for the permit would be due each year on June 1, regardless of the effective date of future reissued permits. If an individual NPDES permit is issued on September 1, 2021, the annual fee for the permit would be due each year on September 1.
In 2019, PSATS submitted comments on the initial fees opposing the fee increases and urging DEP to seek additional state funding instead of asking townships to pay for these costs. The final fees are substantially lower than the initial request. In May 2021, PSATS again urged DEP to seek additional state funds rather than pass on DEP’s operational costs to local governments in the form of an additional state mandate. Click here for a copy of the May 2021 letter.