While nobody enjoys muddling through the sometimes difficult permit process, it is in your best interest to obtain a permit if you really need one. Completing work without a permit could result in costly penalties (including fines that can exceed $10,000 per day) from regulatory agencies including: PA DEP, PA Fish and Boat Commission, and US Army Corps of Engineers. The staff at BCCD certainly don’t want to see you incur heavy fines, so we would be glad to help you through the process. Appointments can be made to meet with you on site or in the office before your earth disturbance project begins. During this meeting, we can explain what permits will (or will not) be required as well as describe the process to obtain the permit(s).

In case you’re unable to meet with us, here is a brief guide that describes when an erosion control plan and/or permit will be needed for your new house, garage, barn, pond, driveway, fill site, agricultural, or nearly any other type of project:

A project disturbing less than 5,000 square feet requires a written and approved erosion control plan only if a) the County Planning Commission, Commissioners, or your municipality requests it, b) you’re proposing work in a stream, lake/pond or wetland or c) the work will occur in a watershed designated by DEP as High Quality or Exceptional Value. If a written and approved plan is needed, then our office would be the reviewing agency and we’ve developed two simple forms that can greatly assist you in creating an acceptable plan for most projects disturbing less than one acre.

A project disturbing between 5,000 square feet and 1 acre does require a written and implemented erosion control plan, but doesn’t require our formal review and approval unless one of the three conditions (a-c) mentioned above are relevant.  Regardless of the proposed disturbance area, any necessary erosion control structures must be properly installed before construction and maintained until the entire disturbed area is permanently stabilized by grass or other permanent cover to prevent sediment from flowing to an off-site property, wetland, or waterbody.

All projects, with a few exceptions, encompassing 1 or more acre of earth disturbance (with all project phases combined) will require the approval of a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System plan and permit application by our office prior to disturbance and also before a municipality is allowed to issue any building permits.

All oil and gas related projects (including well pads, gathering/transmission lines, compressor stations, water intake sites, and impoundments) disturbing 5 or more acres will require an Erosion and Sediment Control General Permit application submission, which would be reviewed by either DEP or our office.

Forestry and road maintenance activities disturbing 25 or more acres require submission and approval of an Erosion Control Permit application by our office prior to earth disturbance.

If you do need a plan or permit, please remember that while the process may not be fun for anyone, it will certainly be much less painful than bearing the wrath of a regulatory agency.  Please call or visit our office to discuss your upcoming project … we’re always glad to help you.

The Bradford County Conservation District is committed to helping people manage resources wisely. You can visit the Bradford County Conservation District at 200 Lake Rd in Wysox across from the Wysox Fire Hall. Contact us at (570) 485-3144 or visit our web page at www.bccdpa.com.