On March 1, 2022, PA DEP began allowing the use of a long-awaited portion of the NPDES Permitting Program. The PAG-01 program has been part of the NPDES Notice of Intent form for the last few years, but its use was never allowed. The intention of this program is to provide a simpler, more streamlined approach to smaller projects. As many of you know, designers go through a lot of effort to limit the disturbance associated with the construction of a new single-family home or small commercial property to less than 1 acre. Once you hit that 1 acre of disturbance, it triggers the need for an NPDES Permit and the requirements are essentially the same if you are disturbing 1 acre or 300. This can be costly and time-consuming for a small project operating with a smaller budget and a more targeted construction schedule.
Enter the PAG-01 program. This program provides a different path for small projects to obtain an NPDES permit. Your site may be eligible for the program if it meets the following requirements:
· It is not located within a “high-quality” or “exceptional value” watershed
· The proposed earth disturbance is between 1 and 5 acres
· Less than 30,000 square feet of impervious is in the disturbed area, and
· Less than 12% of impervious coverage is on the project site
PA DEP has performed the stormwater analysis for projects of this size and scope and if the site utilizes PCSM BMPs designated by PA DEP for PAG-01 permits, then no site-specific stormwater analysis is necessary. This simplified approach to stormwater management saves on design costs, design time, review time, etc., and can improve the permitting efficiency on your project. There are some other restrictions on the program related to existing site characteristics, so the full permit instructions should be reviewed and understood. This program gives project designers a new option for permitting small projects and should be evaluated early on in the site design process to see if it can be applied to your project.