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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 54 Pa.B. 1806 (March 30, 2024).

25 Pa. Code § 78a.69. Water management plans.

§ 78a.69. Water management plans.

 (a)  General.

   (1)  Except as provided in paragraph (2), a person may not withdraw or use water from water sources within this Commonwealth for drilling or hydraulic fracture stimulation of any natural gas well governed by this chapter except in accordance with a WMP approved by the Department. The WMP must demonstrate that the withdrawal and use of the water sources protects those water sources as required by law and protects public health, safety and welfare.

   (2)  A water purveyor that has a water allocation permit or order of confirmation under the act of June 24, 1939 (P.L. 842, No. 365) (32 P.S. § §  631—641), known as the Water Rights Law, or a safe drinking water permit under the Pennsylvania Safe Drinking Water Act (35 P.S. § §  721.1—721.17), as applicable, is not required to apply for a WMP under this section.

 (b)  WMP requirements. A WMP must meet the following requirements:

   (1)  Protect instream flow.

   (2)  Prevent adverse effects on quantity and quality of water available to other users.

   (3)  Protect and maintain designated and existing uses of water sources.

   (4)  Prevent adverse impacts to water quality in the watershed considered as a whole.

   (5)  Protect groundwater resources including nearby water wells.

   (6)  Provide for water reuse.

 (c)  Application requirements. A request for approval under this section shall be submitted on forms furnished by the Department and must include, but not be limited to, the following:

   (1)  General water source information including identification of source name, source type, average daily and instantaneous maximum withdrawal rates.

   (2)  A plan for monitoring and reporting of water sources and uses.

   (3)  A low flow analysis.

   (4)  A withdrawal and diversion impact analysis.

   (5)  A description of how the proposed withdrawal will not adversely affect the quantity or quality of water available to other users of the same water sources. When obtaining water from a water purveyor, the application must include a description of how the withdrawal will not adversely affect the water purveyor’s system.

   (6)  For surface water sources:

     (i)   An operations plan that includes an intake design, a flow schematic showing how water is to be withdrawn, a site layout and a footprint for each surface water withdrawal.

     (ii)   A description of measures to be taken to prevent the rapid movement of invasive, harmful or nuisance species by vehicles, equipment or other facilities from one site to another.

   (7)  For groundwater sources, a well report that includes information necessary to evaluate:

     (i)   Proper well construction.

     (ii)   The hydraulic characteristics of the aquifer.

     (iii)   The suitability of the proposed groundwater source.

     (iv)   Proper well abandonment.

     (v)   Information consistent with Department guidance, including the Public Water Supply Manual, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Environmental Protection, No. 383-2125-108, as amended and updated, and the Groundwater Monitoring Guidance Manual, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Environmental Protection, No. 383-3000-001, as amended and updated, satisfies this requirement.

   (8)  A reuse plan for fluids that will be used to hydraulically fracture wells. Proof of a wastewater source reduction strategy in compliance with §  95.10(b) (relating to treatment requirements for new and expanding mass loadings of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)) satisfies the reuse plan requirement.

   (9)  Proof of consultation with the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program regarding the presence of a State or Federal threatened or endangered species at the location of a withdrawal.

   (10)  Proof of notification of the proposed withdrawal to municipalities and counties where the water source will be located.

   (11)  Proof of consultation with the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission regarding the presence of a historical or archaeological site included on the Federal or State list of historical places at the location of a withdrawal.

 (d)  Approval of WMPs. The Department will presume that the requirements in subsection (b) and section 3211(m)(2) of the act (relating to well permits) are met when an approval from the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, the Delaware River Basin Commission or the parties to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact is obtained for a water withdrawal, to the extent that the requirements in subsection (c) are considered in granting the approval.

 (e)  Operational requirements. A person whose WMP has been approved by the Department shall comply with the WMP, and shall meet the following:

   (1)  Prior to any withdrawal, post a sign at the entrance to the water source withdrawal location displaying the name of the person and contact telephone number, water withdrawal approval conditions including daily withdrawal volume, maximum instantaneous withdrawal rate and passby flow requirements, if applicable, and the WMP water source expiration date.

   (2)  Measure water withdrawals and purchases using continuous-recording devices or flow meters. Water sources having passby flow conditions shall conduct instream flow monitoring and measuring using methods acceptable to the Department.

   (3)  Submit reports to the Department by electronic means consisting of daily withdrawal volumes, in-stream flow measurements or water source purchases, or both, as required by the Department.

   (4)  Retain withdrawal data and daily instream flow measurements and purchases for at least 5 years. These records shall be available for review by the Department upon request.

 (f)  Administration of WMPs.

   (1)  Approvals for individual water sources within a WMP are valid for 5 years.

   (2)  A WMP renewal application shall be submitted at least 6 months prior to the expiration of the 5-year term for withdrawal or use of a water source under a WMP.

   (3)  The Department may suspend or revoke an approved water source within a WMP for failure to comply with the WMP or for any reasons in section 3211(m) of the act and sections 3252 and 3259 of the act (relating to public nuisances; and unlawful conduct).

   (4)  A person whose WMP has been approved by the Department may terminate approval of any water source within an approved WMP by submitting a letter to the Department’s Oil and Gas District Office requesting termination of the water source approval.

 (g)  Denial. The Department may deny an application for a WMP for either of the following reasons:

   (1)  The WMP application is administratively incomplete.

   (2)  The WMP application does not demonstrate that the requirements of this section will be met.

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