DNREC withdraws interim emergency sediment and storm-water regulations; Superior Court stay allows 2013-14 regulations pending appeal

DOVER – DNREC Secretary David Small has withdrawn the interim emergency sediment and storm-water management regulations put into effect Oct. 16 by the Department.

This came as a result of a Superior Court stay Oct. 27 allowing the 2013- 2014 regulations to remain in effect until the Delaware Supreme Court can rule on DNREC’s appeal of the lower court’s decision invalidating the regulations on procedural grounds.

DNREC had adopted interim emergency regulations – in effect reinstating the 2013-2014 regulations invalidated by a recent Superior Court decision, and for the first time adopting supporting technical materials as regulations, consistent with the Court’s ruling.

The technical materials include design and construction standards and specifications intended to assist in complying with the regulations.

This action was taken by DNREC to allow development projects to move forward through the review and approval process, reducing potential impacts from flooding and protecting public health, safety and welfare.

“We are pleased with the court’s decision to allow the new regulations to be in effect while we move to resolve the issue long-term. We can continue to review and approve plans in a timely manner and allow landowners, developers, contractors and homeowners to maintain schedules and commitments to customers, lenders, agencies and others involved in these important projects,” said Sec. Small.

While the appeal to the Supreme Court proceeds, DNREC is reconvening a Regulatory Advisory Committee to consider potential changes to the regulations and technical documents and to address implementation issues that have been raised during the past 18 months since the new regulations have been in place. The committee comprises representatives of the land development community, Conservation Districts, other agencies, local government, and engineering firms who previously assisted DNREC in developing the 2013 regulations.

“Our goal with this process is to address the concerns raised by Superior Court and adopt the technical document as regulations while also making changes to bring clarity to the sediment and storm-water requirements,” said Sec. Small. “We believe that some changes will happen quickly while others may take longer deliberation before they can be made.”

Delaware’s sediment and storm-water management regulations are a vital tool in the state’s efforts to improve water quality and protect public health, safety and property from flooding. Under federal law, Delaware is required to have a valid erosion and sedimentation program in place for all construction activities, and Delaware’s erosion and sedimentation program must have enforceable regulations in place to be valid.


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