The Most Common General Permits
If you are a homeowner or landowner planning to do certain construction projects in or around waterways or wetlands, you may be required, by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), to acquire a General Permit through your local Conservation District.
General Permits, sometimes referred to as GPs, ensure certain conditions are met, and best management practices are in place, to protect public health, safety, and the environment. This is required by law under Chapter 105 of the Pennsylvania Code.
Meeting the conditions of a General Permit minimizes impacts to local waterways and wetlands during all phases of your project.
It’s best to contact the Conservation District as early as possible when planning projects such as:
- Small Docks and Boat Launch Ramps
- Bank Rehabilitation
- Minor Road Crossings
Docks or Boat Launch Ramps
If you are planning to install or repair a dock or boat launch ramp, you may need a General Permit #2.
This permit typically applies to structures 750 square feet or less, although other size restrictions may apply in certain cases.
Contact your municipality and community association as early as possible when planning your project to determine whether local ordinances or covenants, in addition to General Permit requirements, apply to your scope of work.
If you are planning construction or excavation work to maintain or stabilize the bank of a stream, pond or lake, you may need a General Permit #3.
This permit also applies to excavation of gravel deposits or sediment build-up within a stream or creek.
Additional considerations are needed if a wetland is present within your project area.
Minor Road Crossing
If you are planning to install, repair, or remove a bridge or culvert across a stream or wetland, you may need a General Permit #7.
Conditions for this permit include:
- Less than 0.1 acre of wetlands disturbance
- A watershed drainage area of 0 square miles or less
- Shall not narrow the existing channel
E-permitting Now Available
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) established e-permitting to streamline the General Permit application process. An Operator User’s Guide and Help Desk Support Line, 717-787-HELP (4357), are available on the DEP website.
To get started, you should create a GreenPort account.
When completing your online General Permit application, you will be asked to upload the following documents:
- Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory (PNDI) search
- Project location map
- Project drawings showing aerial and side views with dimensions
- An Erosion and Sediment (E&S) plan
The Pike County Conservation District can provide technical assistance. Please contact us as early as possible when planning your project.
>> Download the District’s Homeowners Guide to the Most Common Waterways and Wetlands General Permits.
Financial and other support for this Homeowners’ Guide is provided by the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.