MassDEP Regulatory Reform Release 2.0: Wetlands, Water, and Waterways

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In addition to its MCP package, MassDEP has also released its formal regulatory reform proposals for its water, wastewater, wetlands, and waterways programs.  As with the MCP proposal, the water package took longer than it should have, and may not be perfect, but is definitely worth the wait.  MassDEP has provided two separate helpful summaries of the changes, one concerning wastewater issues and the other concerning wetlands, waterways and water quality.

On the wastewater front, the most significant change is the complete elimination of sewer extension/connection permits.  MassDEP has acknowledged that those permits are purely redundant of local permitting authority.  MassDEP has also proposed a suite of small changes intended to facilitate review of septic systems under Title 5 (not to be confused with the federal Clean Air Act Title V), particularly with respect to innovative and alternative technologies.

On the wetlands, waterways, and water quality front, MassDEP has proposed a number of helpful changes.  These include:

  • Revising the Chapter 91 timeline to allow review to proceed prior to issuance of a MEPA certificate.
  • Creation of a general permit for small docks and piers
  • Allowing combined filing (and application) for certain related permits.
  • Creation of an additional Limited Project category, this time for renewable energy projects (well, really for access roads for renewable energy projects).

There are many more proposed changes than those highlighted here, so be sure to review the entire package.  Comments are due May 10, 2013.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Foley Hoag LLP - Environmental Law | Attorney Advertising

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