Getting an Environmental Permit
Step 1: Submit an Application
General Requirements for Applications
A complete application includes a properly completed department application form, location map, project plans, supplemental information required by 6 NYCRR Part 621 (link leaves DEC website), Uniform Procedures Regulations and the specific program implementing regulations pertaining to the specific permit(s) sought for the project.
If a project requires more than one DEC permit, the applicant must submit all applications forms and information simultaneously.
If variances from permit standards are sought and provided for by the specific regulatory program in their regulations, the application must include a request and statement of justification for such variances.
Other application requirements include an environmental assessment in accordance with the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR), and a cultural resources assessment in accordance with the State Historic Preservation Act (SHPA).
Contact your DEC regional Permits office with questions about completing the application form and other required information for your application.
Keep plans flexible until DEC staff review your proposal and comment on its conformance with permit standards. Be willing to adjust your project. On occasion, minor changes in layout can avoid disagreements and delays and, in some cases, eliminate the need for a permit.
Applicants proposing complex, multi-residential, commercial or industrial projects are strongly encouraged to schedule a pre-application conference. This meeting with DEC allows the applicant to clarify project objectives and obtain DEC's recommendations. Such feedback can improve the project environmentally and shorten the application procedure.
Submitting Your Application to DEC
Applications are to be submitted to the Regional Permit Administrator. Applications may be submitted by mail, private carrier, or in person.
DEC encourages applicants to submit applications and supporting information electronically, and to submit paper copies as soon as possible. DEC is not yet able to accept electronic only application submissions except in limited circumstances. Contact your DEC regional Permits office for additional information on electronic submissions. The start of all application time frames are based on the Department's receipt of your paper copies.
Step 2: Application Review
The Department must inform you of whether your application is complete according to the following time frames:
- 60 days from receipt of the application in the case of hazardous waste management facilities, certain wastewater discharges and certain air permit applications.
- 15 days from receipt of the application for all other permit applications.
If the application is incomplete, DEC's Notice of Incomplete Application will tell you what else is needed. When you respond, the above time frames for the DEC will again apply.
To prevent multiple information requests and reviews by DEC, prepare a thorough, accurate and fully justified application.
Step 3: Public Notice
The Uniform Procedures Act recognizes major projects and minor projects for each permit type.
If your project is major, then the project is subject to public review, as follows:
- A Notice of Complete Application is published by the Department in the Environmental Notice Bulletin (ENB). You must also publish this notice in a local newspaper.
- The Notice of Complete Application sets a public comment period. This is usually either 15-, 30- or 45-day period after the date the Notice is published, depending on the permit type requested.
- Based on any comments received and on staff's review of the project against permitting standards, DEC decides whether to hold a public hearing. For more information, refer to the Guide for Public Hearings.
Minor projects do not usually require a public notice.
Step 4: Final Decision
The Uniform Procedures Act requires DEC to make its final decision in the following time frames:
DEC must make a permit decision on minor projects within 45 days of determining the application complete.
- If no hearing is held, DEC makes its final decision on the application within 90 days of its determination that the application is complete.
- If a hearing is held, DEC notifies the applicant and the public of a hearing within 60 days of the completeness determination. The hearing must commence within 90 days of the completeness determination. Once the hearing ends, DEC must issue a final decision on the application within 60 days after receiving the final hearing records.
The Regional Permit Administrator normally issues permits for projects not requiring a public hearing.
Generally, the Commissioner makes the decision if DEC holds a public hearing.
Where's My Permit?
Trying to find out the status of a pending permit application?
Detailed information on specific applications processed by the Department under the Uniform Procedures Act can be accessed through the DEC Permit Applications (DART) Search, including the status of the applications issued, denied or currently under review. This search wizard also provides the means to do searches of applications by location, permit type, and date period. The results from these searches can be further sorted by applicant name, facility name and application status.
Once I Get My Permit, Will I Be Able to Renew, Modify or Transfer It, if Necessary?
Any requests to renew, modify or transfer a permit must be in writing to the Regional Permit Administrator.
Requests for permit transfers (a change in facility ownership or a change in permittee name) require completion of an Application for Permit Transfer form (PDF) (551 KB). The Application for Permit Transfer requires certification by both the proposed new owner/operator and the present permittee. The application should generally be submitted at least 30 days prior to transfer.
- If the permit transfer involves an ownership change, the Department has special terms that allow you to disclose violations you discover during the course of acquiring the new facility. If you satisfy the terms contained in the new owners provision (V.J) of the Department's Environmental Audit Incentive Policy, you will be eligible to disclose and correct discovered violations. In most instances penalties can be completely waived. Please refer to New Owners Incentives, for more information and how to take advantage of these special incentives for new owners.
DEC must then make its decision within 15 days. In the case of a modification, the request must include an explanation of the reason for the proposed change. In cases involving substantial modifications to a project, DEC may decide that a renewal or modification will be treated as a new application.
What Happens If DEC Does Not Act Within the Uniform Procedures Act Time Periods?
Time periods may be extended by mutual written consent of the applicant and DEC.
If DEC fails to make a final decision within the required time period, you can notify the Chief Permit Administrator at DEC, Division of Environmental Permits, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-1750, by certified mail, of that failure. DEC must then mail its decision to you within five working days or else the permit is deemed granted, subject to standard conditions.
Contact the NYS DEC Regional Permit Administrator for assistance with these permits.
New York State offers assistance to regulated businesses through several different programs. See Permit Information and Assistance for help and contact information.
More about Getting an Environmental Permit:
- Environmental Permits Application Checklist - This checklist shows each type of environmental permit and what application form(s)and required items are necessary for submitting a complete application.
- Other Requirements for a Complete Application - Additional permits that may be required from DEC for a project.
- Jurisdictions of Other Agencies - Other state and federal agencies that may have permit jurisdiction over a project in addition to DEC.