DEEP: Proposed Revision of the General Permit for Diversion of Water for Consumptive Use

Proposed Revision of the General Permit for Diversion of Water for Consumptive Use

Background

The Department issues several general permits to regulate minor activities considered to have minimal environmental effect.  A general permit is issued for one or more geographic locations and applies to an entire category of regulated activity, rather than to individual applicants.  Those wishing to have their particular regulated activity authorized under an approved general permit must meet certain requirements and conditions contained within the general permit.  Like other permits, general permits have limited duration and must be periodically renewed. 

The current General Permit for Diversion of Water for Consumptive Use will expire on June 27, 2007.  In preparation for permit renewal, The Inland Water Resources Division of the Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse, who administers this general permit, has proposed certain revisions to that general permit.

Statutory Authority

The general permits will authorize minor activities regulated by the Commissioner under section 22a-365 through 22a-379 (Connecticut Water Diversion Policy Act) of the Connecticut General Statutes (CGS). The authority to issue diversion general permits is contained within Section 22a-378a CGS.

Revision Objectives

The objectives of this revision process are to explore opportunities to further expand coverage under the general permit, provide more assurance that eligible activities would have minimal environmental effects, expand permit flexibility when appropriate, and improve permit program efficiency.  We’re also taking advantage of modifications to the water diversion statute adopted in 2004 that allow the opportunity for “filing only” and “non-filing” types of general permits to be developed where appropriate.

Revision Highlights

Some of the changes currently proposed are:

  • replacement of the “authorization required” type of general permit with “non-filing” (a.k.a. non-reporting) and “filing only” general permits;
  • creation of a separate general permit for diversion of remediation groundwater;
  • creation of a separate, more streamlined authorization renewal application;
  • restricting eligibility in “headwater” areas;
  • deletion of unused, underutilized or obsolete eligibility categories while striving to retain coverage for current permittees;
  • addition of new categories;
  • reworking of the application form to make information requirements clearer;
  • increasing the duration of the general permit from five to ten years;
  • enhancing the special conditions required to remain eligible (e.g. meter calibration water conservation, BMP’s, seasonal restrictions);
  • notification of permit transfer fee; and
  • “De-genderizing” the general permit language.

Table summarizing proposed changes in more detail. (PDF, 117K)

Noteworthy Revisions

Creation of a separate, more streamlined authorization renewal application. Available to those who were previously authorized for certain categories under the “old” general permit, the simplified renewal application can be used if the requested withdrawal is equal to or less than that previously approved.  The form will also require information regarding the applicant’s compliance history and any changes to the status of listed species in the vicinity of the withdrawal.

Creation of new eligibility categories.  The following new proposed categories will not require the filing of an application, but will be authorized, with certain provisions and conditions, upon issuance of the general permit: Pump and Recharge Geoexchange System (Heat pumps), Withdrawals from Long Island Sound, and Withdraw / Discharge in Close Proximity from surface waters.  These new proposed categories will require the filing of a complete application and fee: Withdrawals from Large Tidally-influenced Rivers, Withdrawal of up to 100,000 gpd - Bedrock Aquifer, Withdrawal of up to 250,000 gpd - Surface Water / Stratified Drift Aquifer, Interconnection and Transfer of up to 100,000 gpd, and Interconnection and Transfer of up to 500,000 gpd.

Deletion of the “Unregistered Water Supply Systems” category.  Previously included in this general permit as an “amnesty” feature, this category provided a second chance for those who did not take advantage of the diversion registration process, as provided in Section 22a-368 C.G.S., when the Water Diversion Act was originally passed in 1982.  After ten years of offering this opportunity, and several industry-specific compliance initiatives to identify those that may qualify under this category, it should now be deleted.  However, it is important to point out that all those who are currently authorized under this category can be renewed and have their coverage continue.

Adding a prohibition for bedrock withdrawals from basins less than one square mile.  It is likely that this withdrawal category could have significant impacts on water resources in small “headwater” watersheds given the limited ability for this type of aquifer to replenish itself. Eligibility under a general permit requiring only minimal adverse impacts should not be authorized.  A more rigorous environmental review, as would be required under the “individual” diversion application, would be needed in such cases.

Public Comment

The proposed general permits and public notice contain information on how to provide comment on or request a public hearing for the proposed general permits.

Diversion Program