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RI Coastal Resources Management Council

...to preserve, protect, develop, and restore coastal resources for all Rhode Islanders

CRMC extends deadline for emergency permitting

November 7, 2012, Wakefield – In response to the volume and type of emergency permits issued following post-tropical storm Sandy, the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) will be extending its emergency permitting, allowing property owners to apply until May 31, 2013.

The CRMC has been issuing emergency permits for a week under Section 180 of its coastal program or Red Book. Property owners and municipalities will now have through August 31, 2013 to complete the work under the emergency permit.

Property owners and municipalities had requested more time for completing the work allowed under these permits, including repair of residential, commercial and recreational structures; and restoration of beaches, dunes and beach/dune washout areas.

Coastal Rhode Island residents with storm-related property damage should contact the CRMC offices at 783-3370 or visit to learn more. While the CRMC does not handle permitting for restoration of interior spaces, it does oversee structural and exterior damage pertaining to storm events. Property owners should also contact their local building authority.

Any structures in Type 1 waters that were damaged in this storm will have to be assessed by CRMC staff on a case-by-case basis, as well as those with exposed septic systems. The CRMC will be coordinating with the staff at the R.I. Department of Environmental Management for OWTS determinations.

Long-term, the CRMC will monitor the southern coast of Rhode Island to determine if it will replenish itself through the natural process.

CRMC not requiring a permit for DEM-exempted OWTS repairs

December 3, 2012, Wakefield - In an effort to streamline post-tropical storm Sandy emergency permitting, the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) is not requiring a permit for DEM-exempted repairs to storm-damaged onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTS). The CRMC has coordinated with the RI Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and will not be requiring a permit for limited OWTS repairs as specified in the DEM OWTS Guidance for Repairs in Critical Erosion Areas issued November 28, 2012. In addition, the DEM has developed a supplemental guidance document with illustrations. Both documents are available on the DEM web site here: http://www.dem.ri.gov/sandy.htm.

These limited OWTS repairs include bottomless sand filters, treatment pods or electrical pump control panels. The DEM is allowing the following activities without a permit, although notification to DEM is required as per the guidance: removal of sediment left by floodwaters in (bottomless) sand filters; repairing or replacing flood damaged electrical components or control panels; repairing, re-plumbing or re-siting at grade advanced treatment components, and rebuilding of filters in-kind and in-place. All repair work must be completed prior to May 31, 2013.

All other repairs or replacement of septic systems damaged by Hurricane Sandy that require a DEM permit also require a CRMC permit. Such repair or replacement may be authorized by the CRMC through an Emergency Permit (no application fee) provided the owner obtains the Emergency Permit by May 31, 2013.

DEM offers guidance for repair of damaged septic systems due to hurricane Sandy

December 4, 2012, Providence - In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the Department of Environmental Management is offering guidance to property owners who need to repair or replace onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTS) that are located in close proximity to eroding shorelines.  In certain areas of the south shore, Sandy caused coastal erosion which may have undermined structures and exposed components of these systems. OWTS repair in these highly vulnerable Critical Erosion Areas, as designated by the RI Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), typically requires a permit from DEM and an assent from CRMC.

DEM regulations provide the Department with discretion in approving applications for repair on lots with limiting conditions.  Each application is reviewed on a case-by-case basis to ensure the design meets the requirements of the regulations to the greatest extent possible and that environmental and public health risks are minimized. Because of the unique circumstances posed by coastal erosion, DEM has developed a guidance document in conjunction with CRMC to address OWTS repairs in the CRMC-designated Critical Erosion Areas. The repair guidance is applicable to residential and commercial facilities located along shorelines subject to coastal erosion.

OWTS repair applications to place system components within 100 feet of the actively eroding edge of the coastal feature in Critical Erosion Areas should be submitted to DEM and CRMC concurrently.  Both agencies will undertake joint application reviews. OWTS designers are encouraged to contact DEM or CRMC prior to submitting repair applications for further guidance on special problems that may arise during design. 

Some OWTS systems have components that are above the ground surface that may have been damaged by flooding.  These include sand filters and electrical pump panels.  These systems are generally located in low-lying areas within a few hundred feet of the shoreline. Damage may not be obvious.  DEM advises that property owners have their certified maintenance providers check these systems to ensure they are intact and fully operational.  Minor repairs to surface components as a result of Sandy may be made without application to DEM provided that DEM is notified.

Futher details are provided in the guidance document on DEM’s website at http://www.dem.ri.gov/sandy.htm.  DEM’s Rules and Regulations Establishing Minimum Standards Relating to Location, Design, Construction, and Maintenance of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems are available online at http://www.dem.ri.gov/pubs/regs/regs/water/owts12.pdf

For more information, call Jonathan Zwarg in DEM’s Office of Water Resources at 222-4700 ext. 7205.

Stedman Government Center
Suite 116, 4808 Tower Hill Road, Wakefield, RI 02879-1900
Voice 401-783-3370 • Fax 401-783-3767 • E-Mail cstaff1@crmc.ri.gov

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