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Grandfathered Facilities Must Register With Susquehanna River Basin Commission to Preserve Exempt Status

Client Alert

Author: Michelle M. Skjoldal

Grandfathered Facilities Must Register With Susquehanna River Basin Commission to Preserve Exempt Status

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) is launching a registration program for grandfathered facilities, which are older facilities that began operating before applicable regulations became effective and that have unpermitted water withdrawals and consumptive uses that equal or exceed SRBC’s regulatory thresholds. These water withdrawals and uses are generally considered to be exempt from obtaining an SRBC permit or docket, provided there has been no environmental harm. In order to preserve their exempt status, facilities must register through the program no later than December 31, 2019.

In accordance with Section 806.4(a) of SRBC’s regulations, the registration program applies to facilities that:

  • have a groundwater withdrawal of 100,000 gallons per day or more, initiated before July 13, 1978

  • have a surface water withdrawal of 100,000 gallons per day or more, initiated before November 11, 1995

  • consume 20,000 gallons per day or more from surface water, groundwater, a combination thereof or any other source (including a public water supply), initiated before January 23, 1971. SRBC identifies the following examples of consumptive use subject to this rule: cooling towers for power generation; commercial or institutional use; steam vented during a manufacturing process; water lost through fleet vehicle or facility washing; irrigation for facilities and golf courses; and bottling of beverages, including bottled water.

Registration Deadlines and Requirements

Although facilities have a two-year window in which to register, registration fees increase with time, as follows:

  • register before June 30, 2018: no fee

  • register July 1, 2018-December 31, 2018: $500 fee

  • register January 1, 2019-December 31, 2019: $1,000 fee.

SRBC requests that registering facilities submit withdrawal and consumptive water use data for the past five years. Notably, SRBC will review all submitted data to determine the peak consecutive 30-day average for the withdrawal from each source and the total consumptive use of a facility, and a determination of a grandfathered quantity will be made by SRBC’s executive director. This grandfathered quantity will definitively establish how a facility may operate to retain its exempt grandfathered status. Once a facility is registered, it will be required to file annual reports of the quantity of the water withdrawn and/or used for each source associated with the facility’s operations.

How to Learn More

SRBC will hold informational webinars on the registration process on November 14 and December 13. For more information regarding the registration program, visit www.srbc.net/grandfathering-registration.

The material in this publication was created as of the date set forth above and is based on laws, court decisions, administrative rulings and congressional materials that existed at that time, and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. The information in this publication is not intended to create, and the transmission and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship.

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