FDEP completes statewide overhaul of surface water and wetland permit rules
TALLAHASSEE – A more than yearlong rulemaking process to revise environmental resource permitting, which affects surface waters and wetlands, went into effect on October 1st.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and Florida’s five water management districts previously used at least five different versions of the rules, which affect permits designed to regulate activities that affect Florida’s wetlands and surface waters. An Environmental Resource Permit (ERP) is required before beginning any construction activity or operation that would affect wetlands or other surface waters, or contribute to water pollution. The permit process exists to protect Florida’s lakes and streams, wetlands and other surface waters from stormwater pollution, flooding and any other environmental risk factors.
The Department began the rule-making process in June 2012, following legislation signed being in April by Governor Rick Scott granting the Department authority to create one statewide rule for the environmental resource permit program.
The new rule standardizes processing procedures, definitions, and forms that need to be submitted. The permit fee categories have also been standardized and the permit processing fees are now based upon the area of work activities instead of the fee being based upon the entire site or parcel of land.
FDEP also created an electronic application site where applicants will be able to apply for ERP permits by submitting the application and associated materials online instead of having to submit paper copies to the Department. This new service was developed alongside the statewide ERP rulemaking process.