Promoting Wise Management of Natural Resources in Greene County, New York Since 1961

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Watershed Assistance Program

What all property owners in Greene County should know

Mountain-horizonIf you own a property within the New York City water supply watershed and plan to build on it, you should familiarize yourself with the information contained in this page.

What Are the Rules and Regulations?

There are a number of agencies that implement rules and regulations governing stormwater, soil erosion, septic placement, and stream & wetland impacts. Whether developing a single family home, a business, or large lot subdivision, development activities are monitored to minimize impacts to water, air, and animals, which ultimately affect human communities.

Regulatory Agencies

Following is a list of regulatory agencies that monitor and issue permits for development activities.

DEP-logo-colorNYC Department of Environmental Protection

The DEP Watershed Rules & Regulations that affect new development the most include:

  • No septic systems allowed within 100 feet of a watercourse or wetland, or 300 feet of a reservoir, or reservoir stem.
  • No new impervious surfaces (roofs, pavement) permitted within 100 feet of a watercourse or 300 feet of a reservoir or reservoir stem. Access roads to subdivisions are allowed within the 100 foot buffer subject to approval by DEP of a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP). Certain exemptions apply to individual residential housing and designated hamlets and village areas.
  • Construction of new individual residences within 100 feet of a perennial stream require an Individual Residential Stormwater Permit (IRSP) from DEP.

DEP requires that a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) be developed for the following activities:

  • Development or disturbance of land greater than 5 acres of total land area (doesn’t have to be contiguous)
  • Clearing or grading land involving two or more acres within 100 feet of a watercourse or on a slope exceeding 15%
  • Subdivisions of 5 lots or more of 5 acres or less each
  • Construction of a new facility creating more than 40,000 square feet of impervious surface
  • Construction of an impervious surface in a village, hamlet, or commercially-zoned area

NYSDEC_logoNYS Department of Environmental Conservation

DEC enforces provisions involving streams, stormwater runoff, and wetlands of greater than 12.4 acres or of local significance.

A State Pollution Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activity is required for any soil disturbance 1 acre or greater. In order to obtain this permit, the developer must have a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP). The SWPPP is a plan for erosion and sediment control, and for installation of treatment for post-construction runoff.

Stream-disturbanceDisturbance of certain classified streams requires a Protection of Waters PermitA Protection of Waters Permit is required for disturbing stream beds and banks of certain classified streams. Disturbing Rosgen A, B, or C streams without a permit is a violation of the Environmental Conservation Law (will result in a fine). Disturbance may be either temporary or permanent in nature.

Regional DEC offices and Greene County Soil & Water Conservation District can tell you whether your project involves a classified stream or not (see below for contact information). Call before conducting any of these activities:

  • Placement of structures in or across a stream (i.e. bridges, culverts, or pipelines)
  • Fill placement for bank stabilization or to isolate a work area (i.e. rip-rap or coffer dams)
  • Excavating gravel
  • Lowering stream banks to establish a stream crossing
  • Utilization of equipment in a stream to remove debris or to assist in-stream construction

Before construction activity begins, a Notice of Intent (NOI) must be filed with the DEC affirming that a SWPPP has been prepared and is being implemented. If you begin construction before filing a NOI and obtaining coverage, you may be subject to a penalty of up to $37,500 per violation per day.

usace-logoUnited States Army Corps of Engineers

The USACE regulates impacts to all waterways and wetlands. Projects typically requiring a USACE permite involve discharges of dredged or fill material into waters (including wetlands).

New_York_State_Department_of_Health_LogoNYS Department of Health

The NYS DoH enforces standards relating to water well location, construction, and design, and (in conjunction with DEP) individual home watewater treatment systems (septic placement).

Local Building Code Rules

Each municipality employs a code enforcement officer (CEO) who must enforce the Uniform Building Code. The NYS Uniform Building Code regulates construction of buildings and impacts to neighboring parcels. Property owners and CEO's are responsible for ensuring provisions are made to control water run-off and erosion during construction or demolition activities.

List of Common Activities that Require a PermitDrivewaysConstruction of driveways without proper erosion controls can result in local and regional water quality problems, as shown in these pre-construction (right) and post-construction (left) photos.

Contact Information

For permits pertaining to stream disturbance, stormwater prevention, and wetlands of 12.4 acres or of local significance:

NYS DEC, Division of Environmental Permits
65561 State Hwy 10
Stamford, NY 12167
Kent Sanders, Deputy Regional Administrator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For permits impacting waterways and wetlands under 12.4 acres that may be affected by development:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Albany Field Office
1 Bond Street
Troy, NY 12180
(518) 270-0589
Amy Gitchell, Enforcement Officer

For permits pertaining to septic placement approval, stormwater prevention plans, individual residential stormwater permits, and watercourse identification:

NYC DEP, Water Supply Bureau
71 Smith Ave.
Kingston, NY 12401
Joe Damrath, Stormwater Program Supervisor, (845) 340-7234, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For septic system approval contact:
Christopher Costello, (845) 340-7235, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For stream restoration, riparian planting recommendations, soil studies, wetland identification, and aerial maps:

Greene Couny Soil & Water Conservation District
907 County Office Building
Cairo, NY 12413
(518) 622-3620
Jeff Flack, Executive Director, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For standards pertaining to water well location, construction, and protection, and wastewater treatment:

NYS Department of Health, Bureau of Water Supply Protection
Flanigan Square, 547 River Street
Troy, NY 12180
(518) 402-7650, (800) 458-1158