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Water Withdrawal Permit Program: Do I Need A Permit?

Regulated Activities

New Water Resources Law

A DEC permit is required for any type of non-agricultural water withdrawal system having the capacity to withdraw 100,000 gallons per day [gpd] or more of surface or groundwater. For agricultural withdrawals, the permitting threshold volume is defined as the withdrawal of water equal to or in excess of an average of 100,000 gallons per day in any 30-day consecutive period (3 million gallons during a 30-day period).

Exempt Activities

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 as long as withdrawal capacity has not been increased by adding new sources, higher capacity pumps, or larger conduits. However, registered agricultural withdrawals must be reported annually to DEC. In addition it is important to note that agricultural facilities that did not register their existing withdrawals 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 (link leaves DEC website) 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).

Do Not Start a Project Before Obtaining a Permit

Obtain all necessary permits before commencing work on a project that requires any DEC permit. Commencing work before obtaining the required permits subjects you and any contractors engaged in such work, to DEC enforcement action. Such action may include:

  • Civil or criminal court action, or both, Fines, or
  • An order to remove structures or materials or perform other remedial action, or both a fine and an order.

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