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Cumberland County
Conservation District
43 Brookwood Ave., Suite 4
Carlisle, PA 17013-9172
Fax 717-240-7813
[email protected]

Dam Safety and Waterways Management
Chapter 105 Program

In Pennsylvania the Department of Environmental Protect (DEP) regulates activities in and around watercourses and bodies of water. This is to protect the health, safety and property of others. The regulation is part of the PA Clean Streams Law, Chapter 105 Dam Safety and Waterway Management. DEP can grant authority for program implementation to a local authority. The Conservation District has accepted that authority in Cumberland County. We work with those people affected by the regulations to answer questions, provide assistance, acknowledge the use of the General Permits and to try and resolve problems. If violations to the regulations are found we try to achieve voluntary compliance.

As stated earlier anyone who wants to change the course (direction), current (flow rate) or cross section (filling or dredging) of a watercourse or body of water is required to get approval from DEP. What is a watercourse or body of water? A watercourse is defined as "A channel or conveyance of surface water having defined bed and banks, whether natural or artificial, with perennial or intermittent flow". A body of water is defined as "A natural or artificial lake, pond, reservoir, swamp marsh or wetland." Examples of the types of activities that are regulated would be placing a pipe in the stream to build a road, using some type of bank protection to keep a property from eroding or crossing a wetland with a sewer or water line.

The regulations have separated projects into different types of categories. The approval process can go from being very simple for insignificant projects to requiring intensive reviews for more complicated projects. A project may qualify for a waiver (no permit required) if certain criteria is met. If that is not possible a simple general permit (GP) may be needed. If the project involves does not qualify for the GP a Joint Permit will be needed. Several agencies including the Army Corp of Engineers, the PA Fish and Boat Commission and the US Fish and Wildlife Service review the joint permits.

Answers to questions about the program or the regulations can be gotten by contacting your local conservation district or logging onto the DEP web site. A link to their site is provided below.