Amendments to Clean Streams Law

October 22, 2019

Green Trees Beside Body Of WaterPennsylvania recently enacted Act 162 of 2014 to amend the Clean Streams Law effective December 21, 2014.  The amendments allow a landowner or developer who will conduct earth disturbance activities requiring an NPDES permit for stormwater discharges to substitute Best Management Practices (BMPs) “substantially equivalent” to a riparian buffer or riparian forest buffer in effectiveness to minimize erosion and sedimentation from the proposed earth disturbance activities.  The landowner or developer may still install a riparian buffer or riparian forest buffer, but is no longer required to do so as a preferred BMP.

The amendments also provide that for a project in a special protection watershed involving earth disturbance within the 100 foot buffer to surface water, a landowner or developer may offset encroachment into the buffer zone by installing a replacement buffer elsewhere along the special protection waters in the same drainage as close as feasible to the area of disturbance at a ratio of 1-to-1 for the square footage of encroachment.

If you have any questions regarding this update, or any other municipal law matters, please contact Andrew Miller,, or Christian Miller,, by email or phone at (717) 845-1524.


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