Water Withdrawal Permits
A new water withdrawal law was signed into effect in August 2011 and regulations were issued in April 2013. This page contains information regarding permitting of water withdrawals. As noted elsewhere, permits are required for potable and non-potable water withdrawal systems having the capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day (gpd) or more of surface water or groundwater. The capacity is a total of all sources, independent of how they are plumbed or their designation, such as for redundancy, etc.
"New" versus "Initial" Permits
To avoid confusion it is important to understand the differences between the terms "Initial Permit" and "New Permit". A "new" permit is for a facility that has not yet been in operation, or is increasing its taking, or never filed an Annual Water Withdrawal Reporting Form or filed it for the first time after February 15, 2012. Otherwise, the permit required for your facility is an "Initial Permit".
Applications for "Initial Permits" are due by the dates shown in Table 1 but the operation may continue without a permit until that date as long as annual Water Withdrawal Reporting Forms continue to be filed. Application and approval are required before a new water withdrawal system can be put into operation. Application forms for all permit types can be found online.
Initial Permits Under The New Law
While the old law pertained only to public water supply withdrawals, the new law requires a permit of all water withdrawal systems (with some exemptions) having the capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day or more. Consequently, a large number of existing water withdrawal facilities that were not previously required to obtain permits will now need to do so. In order to manage this in a coordinated fashion the regulations contain a schedule for application submissions to DEC, as shown in the table below.
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).
Applications for initial permits for existing facilities must be submitted according to the schedule contained in 6 NYCRR Part 601.7(b) and shown in Table 1, 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 2/15/14 should not be submitted any earlier than 1/1/14 and so on for the following years.
|Systems designed 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 by June 1, 2013 or 180 days before the existing SPDES permit is scheduled to expire, whichever occurs later. Such applications will be reviewed in coordination with the SPDES permit program.
New and Other Water Withdrawal Permits
In addition to those facilities captured under the initial permits schedule above, any new or existing facility that has the capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day or more and meets any of the following conditions must apply for a new permit in order to be authorized for operation.
- Facilities that currently withdraw water but never reported the withdrawal to NYSDEC; and/or
- Facilities that currently withdraw water and reported the withdrawal to NYSDEC after February 15, 2012; and/or
- Facilities that have been reporting withdrawals to DEC on the Water Withdrawal Reporting Form on or before February 15, 2012, but now wish to increase taking; and/or
- Facilities that have not yet begun operation.
The capacity is a total of all water sources, independent of how they are plumbed or their designation, such as for redundancy, etc.
The following water withdrawal systems are exempt from the requirement to obtain a permit.
- Withdrawals for agricultural purposes that prior to February 15, 2012 were registered or their annual water usage reported to DEC. However, these withdrawals must be reported annually to DEC. In addition it is important to note that agricultural facilities that were not registered prior to February 15, 2012 or did not submit annual water usage to DEC by that date must apply for a permit.
- Withdrawals that have received approval from the Delaware River Basin Commission or Susquehanna River Basin Commission. However these withdrawals must be reported annually to DEC;
- Withdrawals of hydropower facilities operating under a valid Federal Energy Regulating Commission license;
- Withdrawals from the New York State Canal System that are used by the New York State Canal Corporation for purposes authorized by law;
- Closed loop, standing column or similar non-extractive geothermal systems;
- Long Island wells permitted pursuant to ECL section 15-1527 and Part 602 of 6 NYCRR;
- On-site water withdrawal systems for approved inactive hazardous waste remedial site programs conducted pursuant to state or federal court order or state or federal government agency agreement or order;
- Withdrawals used for fire suppression or other public emergency purposes;
- Direct withdrawals from the Atlantic Ocean or Long Island Sound;
- The extension of supply or distributing mains or pipes within a previously-approved water service area that remains within the amount authorized in a water supply permit or water withdrawal permit for the purpose of supplying potable water;
- The reconstruction of facilities in an existing water withdrawal system when the capacity of such system is in no way altered (reconstruction does not include constructing an adjacent withdrawal structure);
- The construction of filtration or other treatment facilities that will not in any way alter the amount of water which can be made available from the present source of supply;
- Water withdrawals to supply ballast water necessary for lawful and normal vessel activity;
- Water withdrawal directly related to routine maintenance and emergency repairs of dams.
- Temporary water withdrawals for the purposes of construction, dewatering, hydrostatic testing, or aquifer testing, where the volume withdrawn is less than an average of 100,000 gallons per day in any consecutive thirty-day consecutive period (3 million gallons during a 30 day period).
Renewal of an Existing Permit
Application for renewal of a permit must occur at least 30 days prior to its expiration unless otherwise specified in the original permit.
Public Water Supply
Public water supply permitting has been incorporated into the Water Withdrawal Permitting regulations. Applicants should continue to submit applications as usual. However, the Department will now only issue new or modified permits for water withdrawal systems with a capacity of 100,000 gallons per day or more. Please be reminded that public water supplies of any withdrawal amount continue to be regulated by the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and require the approval of that agency. For more information about DOH requirements see "Offsite Links" in right margin of this page.
For public water supply systems, the water withdrawal permittee shall submit to the Department a copy of the Approval of Completed Works issued by the Department of Health before the commencement of final operation of the water withdrawal system. Contract plans and specifications, or changes, for a public water supply system for which a permit has been issued by the Department are subject to review and approval by the Department of Health prior to the commencement of construction.
The following requirements continue to apply for DEC permitting of public water supplies with a capacity of 100,000 gallons per day or more. The capacity is the sum of all sources, independent of how they are plumbed or their designation, such as for redundancy, etc.
The official guidance for design of drinking water facilities in New York State is the document titled Recommended Standards For Water Works, also known as "Ten-State Standards" (see "Offsite Links" in right margin of this page). This publication contains policies for the review and approval of plans and specifications for public water supplies. It is a report of the Water Supply Committee of the Great Lakes--Upper Mississippi River Board of State and Provincial Public Health and Environmental Managers. Member states and province: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin.
Water Conservation at Public Water Supplies
Legislation took effect on January 1, 1989 adding water conservation to the standards for permit issuance in this program. Each applicant must document the local water conservation measures taken and those measures planned for future implementation.
Accordingly, the Department developed a Water Conservation Manual (PDF) (1.26 MB) for public water supplies describing beneficial near term and long range water conservation measures that can be adapted as necessary to reflect local water resource needs and conditions.
A fillable Water Conservation Program Form was also developed to help public water supply applicants organize and present the information needed to evaluate the local water conservation program and must be submitted with a water supply application. This document is an interactive form and may be filled out on your computer and then saved and/or printed. Please note there are two water conservation program forms, one for public water supplies (PDF, 156 kB) and another for non-potable supplies (PDF, 235 kB).
Both the Manual and the Form can be obtained from the links above or at the appropriate DEC Regional Environmental Permits office or from the Bureau of Water Resource Management at the DEC Central Office (telephone number and email are in the right hand margin of this page).
The following tree will help you determine whether you must apply for a permit.