The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is providing regular updates as the COVID-19 response evolves.
DEP staff are currently working remotely and prioritizing field inspections and complaints that are critical to public health and safety. Due to office closures, DEP is suspending timeframes for providing permit decisions under the Permit Decision Guarantee program. DEP will continue to receive, and process permit applications, but final decisions may be delayed. Additionally, DEP regional offices have requested email notifications regarding submittals of applications as staff will not be present for delivery signatures.
DEP also understands that there are unique circumstances for permittees and operators at this time, and is evaluating requests for temporary relief via the Governor's authority during the declared disaster emergency. To that end, DEP has provided a form that allows facilities to request temporary suspension of regulatory requirements and/or permit conditions during the COVID-19 emergency. The form requires facilities to list each regulatory obligation to which they are seeking temporary suspension, along with the reasons why for each requirement listed. In addition, the facility must identify any risks to the public health and environment, if temporary suspension is granted by the DEP. To request temporary suspension, facilities must submit the completed form to RA-EPCOVID19SuspReq@pa.gov.
This request is independent of any request for suspension of an applicable Federal requirement, under only Federal authority, which would be evaluated by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region III. EPA released a memorandum on March 26, 2020 (COVID-19 Implications for EPA's Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program) to address compliance with federal programs. DEP will review requests related to a federal program delegated to Pennsylvania using the DEP form.
If you have any questions regarding the ongoing compliance with permit or regulatory requirements during this period, or need assistance completing a regulatory request for your facility, please contact Christie Heath, Manager of Trinity's Philadelphia office at (610) 280-3902, or contact Ian Donaldson, Manager of Trinity's Pittsburgh office, at (724) 935-2611.