Permitting Process Overview

Application process: Individual permits

There are three main types of environmental permits for projects that may affect our state’s natural resources, environment and human health: individual permits, general permits and permit by rule. If the activities involved in your project may have a significant impact on the state’s air, water or land, you may need to apply for an individual permit that is tailored for your specific project. The process of applying for and obtaining an individual permit may differ slightly from program to program — but almost all programs follow the steps outlined in the flow chart below. You’ll note that this process proceeds down two parallel paths. In the left column are the steps involved in the application submittal and review. In the right columns are the steps required to notify the public of proposed activities as well as to solicit and address their comments. Based on any public feedback on your proposed activities, a public hearing may also be required toward the end of the process.

Individual Permitting Process


Step 1: You may request a pre-application meeting

Request a pre-application meeting by submitting a pre-application questionnaire if you are unsure of your permitting requirements.

Step 1A: You publish public notice of your permit application

Before you submit your permit application, you must publish a notice of your application in a newspaper of general circulation in the affected area and submit a copy of the notice to DEEP as part of your completed application.

Step 1B: You may need an EJ Participation Plan

If your proposed activity is located in an environmental justice (EJ) community, and is defined as an affecting facility, then EJ requirements such as an EJ Plan and additional public notice  requirements will apply. Refer to the EJ factsheet for further information.

In this case, before you submit a permit application, you must receive a tentative approval from the EJ program for your EJ Plan; that tentative approval is then submitted as part of your permit application. An informal public meeting must be public noticed and held and the final EJ Report with all supporting documentation must be submitted before DEEP staff publish the Notice of Tentative Determination.

Step 2: You submit a completed permit application

To initiate the permit application process, you must submit a complete permit application form, including all required forms/documentation and any applicable fees. An informal meeting (if needed) can happen at any stage in the application process but is usually after application submittal before NTD. DEEP will review public comments if any.

For EJ, if applicable, you must hold an informal public meeting (must be minimum of 60 days before any DEEP action and supporting documentation must be included in the EJ Final Report). You must publish notice of an informal public meeting between 10 and 30 days prior to meeting date.

Step 3: DEEP checks to see that your application is complete

DEEP will review your application to make sure all the necessary items (complete form, compliance information, fee, etc.) have been submitted. This is an administrative review. DEEP will notify you whether or not the application is sufficient. If it is insufficient, DEEP will inform you. You should make every effort to respond promptly with the needed information so that processing of your permit can continue. Please note: DEEP will not process, and may reject, an insufficient application — requiring you to reapply with a new filing fee.

Step 4: DEEP completes its technical review

During this phase, DEEP staff will determine if the proposed activities meet the applicable standards and laws for the activity to be permitted. DEEP may need to request clarification or additional information from you to fully evaluate the environmental impact of the proposed activity.

Step 5: DEEP decides whether to draft a permit

After its technical review, DEEP staff will determine whether to issue or deny a permit and either draft a permit or a permit denial. For EJ, you must submit final EJ Report prior to NTD (Step 6A).

Step 6A: DEEP publishes a notice of its tentative decision

DEEP will publish a public notice of its tentative determination to approve or deny a permit application for a period of time (either 30 or 45 days, as specified by the applicable law) to receive public comment. DEEP will invoice the applicant for the public notice fees. Payment is due prior to permit issuance (Step 8).

Step 6B: DEEP holds informal meeting or formal administrative hearing (if needed)

Only a small percentage of applications must go through the informal meeting or formal administrative hearing process. For more info, see the Public Participation (DEP-FS-005) Factsheet.

Step 7: DEEP reviews public comments; modifies decision (if needed)

In most cases, where no comments are received or the comments that were received are addressed, the process proceeds directly to the final decision stage and a permit is issued.

Step 8: Issue permit

Once a permit is issued and becomes effective, you as the applicant/permittee must comply with the terms and conditions of that permit. Please carefully read your permit and any statutes and regulations that apply. Remember, violations of a permit may expose the permittee to civil and criminal sanctions. If you have questions about complying with your permit, you can contact the permit program that issued the permit.

If you’d like assistance with this process before you even apply, please request a pre-application meeting.

< Back to Permits & Licenses Main