Amendment of Watershed Regulations

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Comment By: 
Friday, November 23, 2018

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule
Under authority granted to it by section 1100 of the Public Health Law and section 24-302 of the New York City Administrative Code, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) is amending sections 18-12, 18-15 through 18-17, 18-23, 18-26, 18-29, 18-34 through 18-39, 18-61 and 18-82 through 18-84 of its Rules and Regulations for the Protection from Contamination, Degradation and Pollution of the New York City Water Supply and its Sources (“Watershed Regulations”). The purpose of the Watershed Regulations is to protect public health by preventing contamination to and degradation of the City’s surface water supply. The proposed amendments incorporate changes in federal and state law and also address issues that have arisen during administration and enforcement of the Watershed Regulations, which were identified by a number of the interested parties.
The proposed amendments to the Watershed Regulations include revisions to replace the existing approach for evaluating alterations and modifications of subsurface sewage treatment systems – and for determining whether systems that have not been used in some time can be brought back into service – with an approach that focuses primarily on how well the septic system will serve the proposed use, consistent with public health and water quality concerns. The amendments to the Watershed Regulations also include various revisions which relate to the incorporation of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) 2015 State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activity. Additionally, the revisions establish a category of small, limited impact projects for which stormwater pollution prevention plans can be simpler, similar to the existing framework for individual residential stormwater permits. The proposed amendments also eliminate the description of the phosphorus offset pilot program, which had a limited term and was completed.
The proposed revisions incorporate standards for holding tanks and portable toilets. DEP will not review and approve holding tanks or portable toilets; rather, these revisions establish standards consistent with applicable State guidance. Furthermore, the proposed revisions reorganize and clarify requirements applicable to the alteration and modification of certain noncomplying regulated activities – i.e., storage of hazardous substances, storage of petroleum products, and the siting of junkyards and solid waste management facilities. In addition, DEP proposes to eliminate the “hardship” criterion necessary for obtaining a variance from the Watershed Regulations, which has not proven to further water quality goals.
DEP also proposes to re-issue watershed maps included in Appendix 18-A, based upon updated information from DEP’s LiDAR survey of the watershed. In addition, Appendices 18-B and 18-C will be combined and certain revisions will be incorporated to clarify the standards used for analysis of water quality samples.
The proposed amendments include technical corrections such as substituting more recent versions of publications cited in the Watershed Regulations, updating certain technical terminology, and modifying or changing the order of certain text to improve clarity and intelligibility. Some of the plain language and clarification revisions were identified as part of the retrospective rules review conducted by the Mayor’s Office of Operations.
In addition to these proposed amendments, DEP intends to work closely with NYSDEC as it updates its SPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activity, the current version of which will expire in January 2020, and NYSDEC’s related Stormwater Management Design Manual. DEP intends to further amend these rules to incorporate NYSDEC’s 2020 Construction General Permit, and potentially to include other related changes at that time to ensure appropriate stormwater controls based on sound scientific information.
As required by section 1100 of the Public Health Law, DEP will not adopt these amendments until the State Department of Health has approved them.

Public Hearing

Amendment of Watershed Regulations

Public Hearing Date: 
Thursday, November 8, 2018 - 10:00am

No contact

NYC DEP 11th Floor Conference Room
59-17 Junction Blvd. 11th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373