This is the first edition of the St. Johns River Water Management District’s “Permitting News You Can Use” newsletter. This newsletter is intended to share information about the district’s permitting process. You are receiving the newsletter as a subscriber of the district’s “Water News” electronic newsletter. The articles will focus on tips and other information to help permit holders and applicants understand and navigate the regulatory process.
Understanding criteria for well permits
A water well permit is required prior to the construction, repair, modification or abandonment of nearly all wells within the 18-county District.
The well location, well diameter at land surface and type of water use will help determine whether you should apply to the district or your local county health department or government for a water well permit. The district has delegated certain aspects of the well permitting to county health departments or local governments in 15 counties. You should apply to the district for a water well permit for the following types of wells:
- All wells located in a Chapter 62-524 Delineated Area. (Counties that have delineated areas include Alachua, Brevard, Duval, Indian River, Lake, Marion, Orange, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns and Volusia.)
- All wells having an outside diameter of six inches or greater at land surface.
- All public supply wells, regardless of well diameter, in non-delegated counties and in Duval County.
- All limited use supply wells (formally known as “other public” wells) in non-delegated counties.
- All gang wells (a system where two or more water wells are coupled together with a common header or manifold), the total nominal casing sizes of which equal six inches or more, for the purpose of procuring or obtaining water other than for dewatering.
- All open loop (separate supply and return well) geothermal wells having an outside diameter of six inches or greater at land surface and all closed-loop (series of vertically installed loops joined together, with the recirculation of the same thermal transfer fluid) geothermal wells.
The exception to the above list is for wells in Marion County. The Marion County Health Department permits all wells except those in the Chapter 62-524 Delineated Areas and closed-loop geothermal wells, which still require a district permit.
If a property has a consumptive use permit (CUP) from the district and an additional well needs to be added, or a failed well needs to be replaced, the CUP must be modified, even if the well is less than six inches in diameter and falls below the district’s water well permitting threshold.
Streamlining wetland permitting
In November 2014, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued a Programmatic General Permit (known as an SAJ-111) that authorizes the district to issue a permit on behalf of USACE for certain types of projects with relatively minor impacts to wetlands or surface waters. This authorization helps expedite the permit process and saves applicants time and money.
This authorization is limited to residential, commercial or institutional projects with up to three acres of impacts to low quality or urbanized non-tidal wetlands of the following four types:
- Wetlands in pine plantations with raised beds in production more than 20 years
- Herbaceous wetlands in improved pasture
- Wetlands on parcels bordered by at least 75 percent development
- Wetlands covered by greater than 80 percent invasive exotic vegetation
The project must be located in Baker, Brevard, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Lake, Marion, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns or Volusia counties. However, projects in Brevard, Flagler, St. Johns and Volusia counties must be located west of Interstate 95. Another requirement to qualify for this permit is that mitigation for wetland impacts will be addressed through the purchase of credits at a federally approved mitigation bank at a ratio of 1:1 (acre: credit).
Additional criteria includes: the project cannot cause adverse impacts to threatened or endangered species, cannot cause upstream waters to be removed from federal jurisdiction, cannot involve stream channelization or bank-to-bank filling, cannot involve relocating, and/or culverting of more than 300 linear feet of perennial or intermittent streams, and cannot impact historical or cultural resources.
The district will conduct informational sessions on the SAJ-111 process for permit applicants and consultants on Jan. 28, 2015, in Palatka and Jan. 29, 2015, in Maitland. To make a reservation for training, call 386-329-4570.
Tips for showing ‘sufficient real property interest’
Under the Statewide Environmental Resource Permit (SWERP) rule, an applicant must show “sufficient real property interest” over the land upon which the activities will be conducted. This is usually demonstrated through a warranty deed or other legal instrument. Interests in real property are typically evidenced by:
- The applicant is the record title holder.
- The applicant is the holder of a recorded easement conveying the right to utilize the property for a purpose consistent with the authorization requested in the permit application.
- An entity has a contract to purchase the real property included in the application, in which case the permit shall contain a provision that work cannot begin until proof of ownership is provided to the agency.
- An applicant is a lessee of the property and the property’s recorded title owner is a co-applicant.
Applicants are encouraged to contact the district for assistance prior to application submittal.
See Section 4.2.3(d) Applicant’s Handbook, Volume I, for more information on the appropriate documentation.
Know the ins and outs of pond augmentation
Homeowners with unlined residential ponds that are not permitted as a stormwater management system often want to augment the ponds with groundwater to maintain the water level for aesthetic appeal and other uses (such as supplemental irrigation, fishing, etc.).
This type of activity must be conducted according to district rules. A permit for pond augmentation is automatically granted if the pond is 1/2 acre or smaller in size, provided all of the following conditions are met:
- The water for augmentation is withdrawn from a well with a diameter of no more than two inches at land surface.
- Augmentation of the water level does not occur if the pond is discharging offsite, except to flush the pond no more than two times per year.
- Augmentation of the water level in the pond does not occur above the average water table condition for the site.
To obtain approval for other pond augmentation requires submittal of an application for an individual CUP.
A summary of district permitting rules is available online at www.sjrwmd.com/documents/permitting/#rules.