Permit By Rule
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Permit By Rule?
Based on a state law passed in 2004, the Department of Environmental Conservation can establish in regulation the rules under which certain types of wastewater are approved by the Department for discharge to surface water, subsurface soils, or land. A person conducting a certain activity that results in a discharge must follow the rules about location and operational requirements, discharge limits, minimum standards and best management practices, and notification to the Department. This authorization, created in regulation, is called a "Permit by Rule" (PBR) and is designed to be a streamlined process for Department approval of specific categories of wastewater disposal.
Why would the department use a Permit by Rule?
There are several reasons. Permits by Rule (PBR) are typically used for activities where the potential risk to public health or the environment is low. The activities covered under a PBR are typically common events which lend themselves to straightforward rules. With the proper direction and education, most people can easily fulfill the requirements of a PBR. This method also helps the department direct its energy toward projects and compliance activities that pose a higher risk to public health or the environment or are more complex and require more staff work to execute.
How does the Department develop a PBR?
A Permit by Rule is developed for a specific wastewater discharge activity. Generally, a PBR is not created for unusual or site specific considerations; however, a PBR may have a rule that applies to a particular region of the state. When a PBR is developed, it is released as a draft for public comment through the same process used for any proposed State regulation.
Will I have to pay a fee for a PBR?
Generally yes. There are usually some costs associated with a PBR. Alaska Law requires ,DEC to charge for permits or other approvals such as a PBR to cover the direct costs for those regulatory services. The fee covers the cost of developing the PBR, recordkeeping, responding to complaints, inspections, and enforcement, if needed.
How long will my PBR last?
It depends on the particular PBR. Some don’t require a notice to the Department and do not expire. Some may have a one-time notice to the Department and continue for the life of the activity. Others may require a new notification to the Department after a specified time period (e.g., 3 years).
Will DEC enforce compliance with a PBR?
A PBR has the same enforcement potential as a permit or other DEC authorization. If the rules of the PBR are not adhered to, the person conducting the activity can be issued a Notice of Violation. There may also be fines or other compliance actions.
What about the environment, will it still be protected?
Yes. The rules in a PBR are designed to ensure that if minimum standards and practices are being met, the environment will be protected, just like in any other type of permit the Department issues.