Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Credit Trading Program; Notice of Proposal
[40 Pa.B. 5642]
[Saturday, October 2, 2010]
The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) provides notice of the following proposal that has been submitted under the Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Credit Trading Program (Trading Program). This proposal was submitted under The Clean Streams Law (35 P. S. §§ 691.1—691.1001) and the Final Trading of Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Credits—Policy and Guidelines (Policy) (DEP ID# 392-0900-001) (see 36 Pa.B. 7999 (December 30, 2006)).
Trading is a market-based program that provides incentives for entities to create nutrient reduction credits by going beyond statutory, regulatory or voluntary obligations and goals by removing nutrients from a watershed. The credits can be traded to help others more cost-effectively meet their obligations or goals. The primary purpose of the Trading Program is to provide for more efficient ways for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permittees to meet their effluent limits for nutrients and sediment. Currently, the focus of the program is on the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
The proposal described in this notice relates to submitted proposals through September 17, 2010.
Before a credit can be used by an NPDES permittee, a three-step process is followed: (1) the credit or offset proposal must be approved; (2) it must be verified; and (3) it must be registered.
Approval is also known as certification, which is a written approval by the Department for the use of a nutrient reduction activity to generate credits. Certifications are based on at least: (1) a credit proposal describing the qualifying nutrient reduction activity that will reduce the nutrient loadings delivered to the applicable watershed; (2) the calculation to quantify the pounds of reductions expected; and (3) a verification plan that, when implemented, ensures that the qualifying nutrient reduction activity has taken place. The proposals described in this Notice apply to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
Once the credits are certified, they must be verified in order to be applied towards an NPDES permit for compliance with effluent limits. Verification means implementation of the verification plan contained in a certification, as required by the Department. Verification plans require annual submittal of documentation to the Department that demonstrates that the qualifying nutrient reduction activity has taken place for the applicable compliance year.
The credits also need to be registered by the Department before they can be used to meet effluent limits in an NPDES permit. Registration occurs only after credits have been certified, verified and a contract has been submitted. For the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, the Department will register credits for use during the compliance year in which the qualifying pollutant reduction activity has taken place. The Department will provide the credits with an annual registry number for reporting and tracking purposes.
The following new proposal is being reviewed by the Department. The Department will accept written comments on these proposed projects for 30 days.
Proposal Applicant Proposal Description Berwick Area Joint Sewer Authority Nitrogen and phosphorous credits generated by the operation of the wastewater treatment plant.
For further information about these proposals or the Trading Program, or to submit comments, contact Ann Roda, Water Planning Office, Department of Environmental Protection, P. O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063, (717) 787-4726, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Department's web site at www.depweb.state.pa.us (DEP Keywords: ''Nutrient Trading'').
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 10-1886. Filed for public inspection October 1, 2010, 9:00 a.m.]
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