Three Florida water management districts partner to deploy new online e-Permitting for water well construction systems
The St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) has revised the e-Permitting system for water well construction to improve the end user experience and make the application process more efficient. The revised e-Permitting system is scheduled to go live July/August 2018, with training opportunities available in mid-July.
Water well contractors will have access to a number of enhanced features, including the ability to manage multiple water well contractor licenses within a drilling business as well as multiple employees performing permitting and permit compliance activities across the firm. Other enhancements to the process include error checking and a geographic information system (GIS) map interface to improve location information accuracy and data management.
The revised e-Permitting system will be adopted by multiple well permitting agencies, including SJRWMD, Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD), Northwest Florida Water Management District (NWFWMD) and ultimately the 14 counties that operate water well construction permitting programs under delegation agreements with SJRWMD. The utilization of these very similar, though separate, well permitting systems will bring about greatly improved consistency in the well construction permit application process for water well contractors doing work in multiple jurisdictions.
The new e-Permitting system was recently announced and demonstrated at the 2018 Florida Groundwater Association Convention and Trade Show in Orlando, and the response was very positive.
Ample training opportunities will be provided for water well contractors and their employees. Two Continuing Education credits (CEs) will be available at no charge for licensed attendees. The initial round of training will take place during the week of July 16–19, 2018. There will also be additional training dates offered.
Detailed information regarding training activities will be announced through email and via district websites. For SJRWMD, these announcements will be at www.sjrwmd.com/meetings-announcements. Training dates for SRWMD and NWFWMD will be available on those districts’ websites. Online video tutorials will be provided as part of the system documentation and will remain available for refresher purposes at any time.
Additional training opportunities, with associated CEs, will be offered as part of the phased rollout process for SJRWMD’s delegated counties over the next 12 months. Additional training and system deployment information will be forthcoming. Contact Shannon Barican, SBarican@sjrwmd.com, or Wesley Curtis, P.G., WCurtis@sjrwmd.com, with any questions.
SWERP II rule revisions became effective June 1, 2018
Following the implementation of the Statewide Environmental Resource Permit (SWERP) Program in October 2013, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and the five water management districts began working together to fix administrative errors, implement additional streamlining, and improve clarification of the SWERP Rule and Handbooks in what is referred to as SWERP II. The SWERP II changes became effective June 1, 2018.
For the St. Johns River Water Management District, SWERP II involved edits/clarifications to the district’s group of 40C rules and the Applicant’s Handbook (AH) Volume II.
Summary of the primary changes to the district’s 40C rules:
- The time frame for providing a response to an RAI letter has been updated to be consistent with the 62-330 Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.) rule. The time to respond has been changed from 120 days to 90 days.
- Permit fee modifications:
- A category will be added to the permit fees section to create a separate lower fee for projects that are 10 to 40 acres in size and have no wetland or surface water impacts;
- The fees for the two largest project area categories have been modified;
- The description of a minor and major modification fee project area has been clarified;
- A permit extensions category that was inadvertently omitted has been added; and,
- The letter modification text has been clarified;
- Map graphics for the Karst Basin and the overall Special Basin maps have been updated and improved and the portion of Polk County that is now in the Southwest Florida Water Management District boundary has been updated;
- Chapter 40C-42 rule is now completely repealed and all portions of this chapter are now located in either AH Volume I or AH Volume II;
- The definitions, performance standards, and conditions for issuance in 40C-44 have been modified to be consistent with AH Volume II; and,
- The URL addresses were updated in all of the 40C rules to reflect current links.
Summary of the primary changes to the district’s Applicant’s Handbook Volume II:
- The definition of tailwater, in section 2.7.1, has been modified to delete language in part (d) that was no longer needed;
- The conveyance design, in section 3.3.1, has been modified to delete language in part (d) that was no longer needed;
- The Level of Service text, in section 3.3.3, was edited to be more consistent with the other water management districts and the current design storm event criteria;
- Wet detention orifice design text, in section 8.4, was inadvertently omitted from the orifice design criteria. The text is now corrected to reflect the proper design requirements; and,
- Ag systems, in sections 14-19, have had minor edits to create consistency between the 40C-44 rule and the AH Volume II text, as well as update the performance criteria to reflect the updated water quality standards found in rule 62-302, FAC.
Summary of the primary edits to Rule 62-330, F.A.C.:
- Thresholds – In 62-330.020(2), the word “new” has been deleted and the project acreage in (2)(d) has been changed from one acre to five acres;
- Exempt activities – In 62-330.051, text has been added to clarify many of the different exemptions and new exemptions were created for Geotechnical Investigations and dry borrow pits (both were formerly in the General Permit rule);
- General conditions specifically for Conceptual permits have been added to 62-330.351 and,
- The text for the Minor Activities and Single-family Residential Activities in Isolated Wetlands is now divided into two separate categories – Certain Minor Activities (.474) and Single-family Residential Activities in Isolated Wetlands (.475).
- For more information, you may find the details of the changes associated with 62-330. F.A.C. at https://www.flrules.org/Gateway/View_notice.asp?id=20000253 and the changes associated with the St. Johns district’s ERP rules and Applicant’s Handbook Volume II updates at sjrwmd.com/permitting/rule-development/#statewide-erp-consistency.
Here’s a summary of permitting updates
The district recently amended its rules regarding Consumptive Use Permits (CUP) and Water Well Construction (WWC) permits. Below is a summary of the recent changes:
CUP Rules (will become effective on July 1, 2018 in Chapter 40C-2):
- Increase Permitting Consistency with Other Water Management Districts
(a) Deletes requirement for secondary water users to obtain a permit and makes conforming deletions throughout Chapter 40C-2 and the CUP Applicant’s Handbook (A.H.); and
(b) Deletes water quality criterion to be consistent with the other water management districts, and makes conforming deletions in the CUP A.H.
- General Permit by Rule (GPR) Expansions and Clarifications
- Creates new GPR that allows temporary water use for certain emergencies (requires written approval);
- Expands use of GPR for aquifer performance tests (APT) and simplifies criteria;
- Expands use of GPR for certain grandfathered wells for closed-loop heating and cooling (HVAC) systems;
- Clarifies that GPR for irrigating agricultural crops and nursery plants is limited to agricultural lands as classified by property appraiser;
- Clarifies GPR for landscape irrigation can only water an entire zone any time for first 30 days for new plantings if at least 50 percent of watering zone is new plantings; and
- Simplifies GPR for environmental restoration and allows permit transfer to certain local governments.
- Letter Modification (Mod) Rule Expansions and Clarifications
- Expands the Letter Mod rule for replacement/relocation of certain wells; and
- Deletes unnecessary restriction on use of Letter Mod for a change within allocated use type.
- Miscellaneous Streamlining, Changes and Clarifications
(a) Expands permit exemption for fire protection;
(b) Clarifies that generally only one pending permit application is allowed at a time, except for Letter Mods and renewals;
(c) Clarifies for agricultural CUPs for irrigation that a change in market conditions will not result in reduction of permitted allocation during permit term;
(d) Clarifies surface water pipe diameter;
(e) Clarifies administrative denials (for failure to respond to an RAI) consistent with changes to 40C-1.1008; and
(f) Clarifies Form 40C-2.900(7) (Water Audit Form).
CUP Fees (effective as of Feb. 1, 2018, in Rule 40C-1.603):
- Reduced the application fee for small users (<100,000 gallons per day average) with any size well. Previously, only small uses with a well diameter of 6-inches had the lower application fee.
- Created a new free application fee category to incentivize CUP early renewals implementing a project that would provide a water quantity benefit to a water resource.
Water Well Rules (effective as of May 7, 2018, in Chapter 40C-3):
- Clarified that all wells which supply water to public water systems, even those not covered or included in the Florida Safe Drinking Water Act, are considered public water supply wells.
- Requires that applicants or water well contractors be up-to-date on submitting well completion reports, before additional water well permits will be issued. This is consistent with other water management districts.
You can learn more about these and other pending rule changes on the district’s rules in development page at www.sjrwmd.com/permitting/rule-development.
Expediting the permitting process for replacement wells
Wells fail, and when they do, drilling a replacement well may become an urgent situation. A pre-application discussion with district regulatory staff will help expedite the consumptive use permit (CUP) permitting process for the well replacement. A pre-application meeting provides an opportunity to let regulatory staff know that an expedited request is being submitted and to discuss the information needed to obtain the permit modification for the replacement well. The pre-application meeting and letter requesting a permit modification may be completed by the well owner or their agent (consultant, water well contractor, etc.), as long as an authorized agent letter is provided along with the letter modification request. If you need assistance, agricultural entities should contact Ag Assistance Team member David McInnes at 386-227-0126 and all other CUP well types should call your nearest service center and ask to speak with a CUP hydrologist.
What is the Mitigation Bank Search Tool?
If you’d like to learn more about mitigation banks permitted by the St. Johns River Water Management District, the district’s website contains a Mitigation Bank Search Tool that allows you to view information about mitigation banks. The webpage includes a mapping interface with various data layers, a frequently asked questions page, a link to the file which contains the permit, technical staff report, final approved plans, a detailed credit ledger, the type and availability of credit, the mitigation bank service area, the basin the mitigation bank is located in, contact information for each mitigation bank and much more.
For any questions or suggestions about the Mitigation Bank Search Tool or the Mitigation Banking Program, please contact Reid Hilliard, Technical Program Coordinator, at the district’s Maitland Service Center, 601 South Lake Destiny Road, Suite 200, Maitland, FL 32751; 407-659-4873 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the Annual Statement of Continuing Use Form?
Consumptive use permittees are required to maintain records of water quantity usage on a monthly basis for the life of the permit and provide those records to the district when requested. However, a consumptive use permit (CUP) holder whose total combined allocation is equal to or less than 100,000 gallons per day, on average, has a simplified way to confirm that they still use water in accordance with their permit. This is done by submitting the Annual Statement of Continuing Use form in lieu of submitting the EN-50 Water Use/Pumpage Report form.
The form includes the following questions:
- Do you still own, lease or control the property on which the permitted withdrawal point(s) is located?
- Did you use water for the purposes identified in the authorization statement (of the permit) during the past calendar year?
The Annual Statement of Continuing Use form is due by Jan. 31 each year and is located at the following link: www.sjrwmd.com/permitting/formsCUP/Form_40C-2-900-6.pdf
For assistance in submitting your Annual Statement of Continuing Use form via the e-Permitting portal, call 386-329-4570 or send an email to email@example.com.