Regulations Updates

Published on Monday, December 07, 2015

NYSDEC Water Withdrawal Permit Reporting Update

Application deadline approaching for smaller non-potable water systems

By Jeffrey Rowe, P.E.

There is an upcoming regulatory window of Jan 1, 2016 to February 15, 2016 for owners of smaller water systems to submit applications to the NYSDEC.


In New York State, Public Water Supply systems have been required to obtain water withdrawal permits for decades.  In 2013, the NYSDEC enacted new regulations for all water withdrawals in New York State. The former law required water withdrawal permits only for public water suppliers.  Effective with the new law permits are now required for any potable and non-potable water withdrawal system having the capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day (gpd) or more of surface water, groundwater, or combination thereof.  Permits are typically issued for periods of up to 10 years. Application for renewal of a permit must occur at least 30 days prior to its expiration unless otherwise specified in the original permit. The capacity is the total withdrawal of all sources for a facility independent of how they are connected or their designation (i.e., redundancy) and is determined as the maximum potential withdrawal of all water sources, not typical or actual withdrawal amount.


NYSDEC Decision Tree for Water Withdrawal Permitting

The regulations have identified the differences between “Initial Permit” and “New Permit”.  A “New Permit” is required under the following conditions:

  • Facility has never been in operation
  • Facility (permitted or not) is increasing its taking
  • An Annual Water Withdrawal Report was filed for the first time after February 15, 2012
  • An Annual Water Withdrawal Report was never filed

If none of these conditions exist, then the water withdrawal permit for the facility is classified as an “Initial Permit”. A large number of existing water withdrawals that were not previously required to obtain permits will now need to do so. These are referred to as "Initial Permits". 

The initial permits schedule for existing facilities applies only if all of the following points are met:

  • Operating a water withdrawal system with a capacity equal to or greater than the 100,000 gallons per day as of February 15, 2012, AND
  • Reported withdrawals to DEC on the Water Withdrawal Reporting Form on or before February 15, 2012, AND
  • Is not operating a public water supply, AND
  • Is not exempt from the permit requirements (e.g., Agricultural Facilities, withdrawals within the purview of the Delaware and Susquehanna River Basin Commissions, and more).

In order to manage permitting of all these existing facilities in a coordinated fashion, the regulations contain a schedule for application submissions to DEC as shown below. In order to maintain this schedule, applications shall be submitted no earlier than 45 days prior to the listed due date. For example, an Initial Permit application that is due by 2/15/16 should not be submitted any earlier than 1/1/16 and so on for the following years.

Schedule for Submission of Complete DEC Application*

Systems with the capacity to withdraw or currently withdraw:

Latest date for submission of applications to DEC

Greater than or equal to 100 million gallons per day (mgd)

June 1, 2013

Less than 100 mgd but greater or equal to 10 mgd

Feb 15, 2014

Less than 10 mgd but greater or equal to 2 mgd

Feb 15, 2015

Less than 2 mgd but greater or equal to 0.5 mgd

Feb 15, 2016

Less than 0.5 mgd but greater or equal to 0.1 mgd

Feb 15, 2017

* Withdrawals that are specifically regulated by an existing SPDES permit must submit an initial permit application no later than 180 days before the existing SPDES permit is scheduled to expire. Such applications will be reviewed in coordination with the SPDES permit program. 


Water withdrawal permit applications require the completion of an engineering report prepared by an NYS Professional Engineer and several supplemental forms. B&L has assisted several numerous clients with Initial Permit applications Applications for withdrawals in accordance with the new regulations. B&L can also assist entities tasked with other facets of these regulations including:


  • New Water Withdrawal Permit Applications
  • Annual Water Withdrawal Reports
  • Water Conservation Procedures and Reporting
  • Water Consumption Audits


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Jeffrey Rowe, P.E.
Jeffrey Rowe, P.E.>

Jeffrey Rowe, P.E.

Jeff is an Associate in our water/wastewater group with 25 years experience in municipal water and wastewater systems engineering. Other posts by Jeffrey Rowe, P.E.
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