Earth Matters - April 2013: New Water Withdrawal Permit Requirements

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Effective April 12, 2013, there are new regulations in New York governing entities that withdraw, or have the capability to withdraw, 100,000 gallons (or more) of water per day.

While water withdrawal for public use has long been monitored, large quantities of water withdrawn for non-public purposes historically has been unregulated. In August 2011, a new law was enacted that modified the Environmental Conservation Law that governs water withdrawal in New York State, and authorized the promulgation of new regulations to govern the use of water. The new law and the recently promulgated regulations will require permits for water withdrawals that meet or exceed a 100,000 gallon per day (“gpd”) threshold, and expand existing water withdrawal permit requirements.

The new law and regulations are designed to ensure that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has the ability to monitor and regulate the use of New York State’s water resources. Under the Great Lakes Basin Compact, New York has agreed to regulatewater withdrawals within the Great Lakes Basin, and the new regulations provide a process for doing so. The new regulations also make the permit process for similar withdrawals consistent across New York State.

The new permit requirements become effective April 12, 2013, with some permit applications due as soon as June 13, 2013. Those affected by the new regulations include users who withdraw water for purposes other than public water supply, for example commercial and manufacturing uses. However, the new law and regulations contain several exceptions. For example, water withdrawals of 100,000 gpd or more for public water supply are already regulated. Additionally, water withdrawals for agricultural uses that do not exceed 100,000 gpd based on a 30-day average may be exempt from the permit requirements (but some reporting requirements may still exist).

If your business is equipped to withdraw 100,000 gpd or more of water, you should analyze the applicability of these new regulations to your operations; a permit may be required.

If you have any questions or would like more information about the applicability of the new regulations, please contact Morgan Graham, Environment & Energy Partner, at (716) 847-7070 or mgraham@phillipslytle.com, or Jennifer Dougherty, Associate in the Environment Practice, at (716) 504-5789 or jdougherty@phillipslytle.com.