Per Pennsylvania’s Dam Safety and Encroachments Act (25 PA Administrative Code Chapter 105), a Permit is required for projects involving the construction, modification, or relocation of any dam, water obstruction, or encroachment. The Act defines encroachment as “any structure or activity that in any manner changes, expands, or diminishes, the course, current, or cross-section of any watercourse, floodway, or body of water,” which including wetlands.
General Permits (GPs) were created for activities or structures that do not pose a significant threat to flooding or the environment. The Berks County Conservation District is delegated by the DEP to review and acknowledge GPs meeting the conditions of the permit. Please note that GP-10,11 and 15 are reviewed by the DEP South Central Regional Office and not by the BCCD.
Streams, floodways, lakes, ponds, wetlands, and other bodies of water are essential habitats for wildlife, improve water quality of our stormwater runoff, and help to reduce flooding. As a result, activities in or near these features are regulated by state and federal laws. In general, disturbance activities in them typically require a permit. Permitted activities include, but are not limited to flood attenuation, channeling, piping, bridging, relocation, floodway encroachment, and wetland disturbances.
Please be advised: GP-5 applications proposing Horizontal Directional Drilling to bore underneath a stream or wetland will need to be reviewed by the DEP South Central Regional Office. If your GP-5 application proposes HDD, please send your application directly to DEP rather than to the BCCD.
GP Submission Requirements – 2 copies each of the following to the Berks County Conservation District:
- General Permit Registration (refer to Permit Types section below)
- BCCD Project Application & Review Fee Schedule (ES 2022 Fee Schedule – Effective 4-1-22)
- Sketch plan or similar site drawing
- Cross Section drawing
- Project Location Map (copy of USGS Topographic map)
- PA Natural Diversity Inventory (PNDI) with Clearances
- PASPGP-5 Reporting Criteria Checklist
- Aquatic Resources Impact Table
Note: For additional information and forms, click on the highlighted link of each permit type.GP-1 – Fish Habitat Enhancement Structures: This permit is used for the installation of fish habitat structures that have been approved by the PA Fish & Boat Commission GP-2 – Small Docks & Boat Launching Ramps: This permit authorizes the installation of pile-supported and floating docks on lakes. GP-3 – Bank Rehabilitation, Bank Stabilization, & Gravel Bar Removal: This permit authorizes projects that involve bank stabilization or gravel bar removal on/in streams. GP-4 – Intake & Outfall Structures: This permit is used for projects such as the installation of a dry fire hydrant or a “clean water” drainpipe outfall. GP-5 – Utility Line Stream Crossings: This permit applies to any utility line (gas, oil, sewer, or water) that crosses under or over a stream or wetland. GP-6 – Agricultural Crossings & Ramps: This permit is to be used when crossings and ramps are installed for agricultural purposes. GP-7 – Minor Road Crossings: This permit can be utilized when establishing a permanent road (not a parking lot) crossing through a wetland or stream using a bridge or culvert or clean fill material. GP-8 – Temporary Road Crossings: This permit is used to establish a temporary culvert or bridge crossing. GP-9 – Agricultural Activities: This permit authorizes agricultural activities (grassed waterways, terraces, diversions, waste storage facilities, spring development, or minor drainage) that encroach into streams or their flood ways. GP-10 – Abandoned Mine Reclamation (reviewed by PADEP South Central Regional Office): includes the construction, operation, or maintenance of an encroachment or water obstruction for the reclamation of an abandoned mining site. GP-11 – Maintenance, Testing, Repair, Rehabilitation, or Replacement of Water Obstructions and Encroachments (reviewed by PADEP South Central Regional Office): The maintenance, testing, repair, rehabilitation, or replacement of existing currently serviceable water obstructions or encroachments. GP-15 – Private Residential Construction in Wetlands (reviewed by PADEP South Central Regional Office): includes the placement and maintenance of fill in, or the excavation of, non-tidal wetlands for the construction or expansion of a single family home for the personal residence.
Chapter 105 Permitting
The BCCD is delegated to review Chapter 105 General Permit numbers 1 through 9. For more information about Chapter 105 General Permits, you can visit DEP’s website here and here, or our site here.
As part of Governor Wolf’s commitment to improve the permitting process, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has launched an e-permit for Chapter 105 Wetland and Waterway Obstruction and Encroachment GPs to make application submittal and review more efficient and enable faster responses to applicants. Furthermore, DEP is transitioning away from paper to online electronic permit applications.
In order to get started using the e-Permitting program, applicants and their consultants must register with the program. The exact registration and set-up steps are outlined in the User Guides found below. A detailed overview of each step of a User and EFA are outlined in the Getting Started In Chapter 105 General Permit E-Permitting – User Guides Supplement and Summary.
The Applicant is required to have an Electronic Filing Administrator (EFA). The EFA the person who has signature authority for an organization and is responsible for managing the applications. EFAs should follow the registration instructions in the EFA User Guide. A short tutorial video for EFAs is located here.
Consultants are considered Users or Operators and should follow the Operator Consultant User Guide. A User’s Registration and Security Agreement for e-Permitting must be filed before a Consultant can operate on behalf of the Applicant. Consultants, or other users needing to register for their client, may utilize this video to assist in registering for e-Permitting.