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Watershed Protection Technical Services
What Do We Do:
The mission of the Technical Services Branch is to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the District of Columbia by managing land-disturbing activities to prevent accelerated soil erosion and sediment deposition in the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers and their tributaries. The Branch develops and implements programs in stormwater management, erosion and sediment control, and floodplain management in support of the regulation of land-disturbing activities. The major functions of the Branch are:
- Review construction and grading plans for stormwater management, erosion and sediment control, and floodplain management.
- Coordinate the permit review process with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) and the DC Water and Sewer Authority (DC WASA).
- Review environmental impact screening forms (EISFs) and environmental impact studies.
- Develop and upgrade stormwater management, erosion and sediment control, and floodplain management regulations, and guidance manuals.
- Provide information on flood zones in support of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
- Coordinate floodplain management activities with the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
- Review geotechnical reports.
- Review soil percolation test reports.
- Provide information on soil types and characteristics.
- Provide technical assistance on stormwater management, erosion and sediment control, and floodplain management issues.
Why do I need a plan and a permit?
Land-disturbing activities are regulated under law. As such, no person may engage in any land-disturbing activity on any property within the District until that person has secured a construction permit from the District. Approval of a construction permit is based upon the submission by the permit applicant of an erosion and sediment control plan, or a stormwater management plan, or both depending on the nature of the development activity. An erosion and sediment control plan is required for 50 square feet of land disturbance. A stormwater management plan is required for 5,000 square feet of land disturbance. For any proposed construction or development located entirely or partially within any identified Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), a floodplain development plan and study are required. The regulations governing stormwater management, erosion and sediment control, and floodplain management are outlined in Chapter 5 of Title 21 [PDF], and Chapter 31 of Title 20 [PDF], District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR). Copies of the DCMR can be purchased at the Office of Documents and Administrative Issuances (ODAI), Room 520 - 441 4th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001.
Where can I obtain general information involving the submission of project plans and permit acquisition?
The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) has established a Permit Center on the second floor at 1100 4th Street, SW, Washington, DC, to assist businesses, developers, and other permit applicants seeking general information regarding permits, application materials, and technical assistance. The Center is open for business from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Monday through Wednesday and Friday, and from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. The Technical Services Branch has staff stationed at the DCRA Permit Center to provide assistance to customers to ensure that permit applications, construction plans, and environmental forms and documents that are submitted to acquire a permit, meet regulatory requirements. For inquiries, you may call (202) 442-9518.
Where should I submit my application and plan?
All plans along with permit applications and other related documents (if required) must be submitted to the DCRA Permit Center at 1100 4th Street, SW, for screening. Projects that require immediate approval will be handled at the DCRA Permit Center by the Technical Services Branch staff located at the center. All other projects (file jobs) will be forwarded to the main office of the Technical Services Branch - Watershed Protection Division (1200 First Street, NE, 6th Floor, Washington DC 20002) for review.
How do I request a pre-development meeting?
A preliminary meeting between the developer/designer/applicant and the technical review staff of the Technical Services Branch is recommended during the conceptual phase of project design to discuss design strategy or issues related to best management practices (BMPs) for stormwater management, erosion and sediment control and floodplain management. To request and schedule a meeting, please call the Watershed Protection Division’s main line: (202) 535-2240.
What are the plan review and approval procedures?
Within 10 to 30 working days of the submission of a plan, the technical review staff of the Technical Services Branch shall review the plan and make a determination to approve or disapprove the plan. If it is determined that more information is needed or that a significant number of changes must be made before the plan can be approved, the applicant will be informed in writing to make the necessary changes and resubmit the revised plan. All re-submissions must contain a list of the changes made. A new 10- to 30-day review period begins on the date of the re-submission. If plan approval is denied, the reason(s) for the action shall be communicated to the applicant in writing.
How do I obtain information on soil characteristics?
If you need to know whether a specific property is located in problem soils in the "Christiana-Sunnyside Association" as identified by the District of Columbia Soil Survey Manual, produced for the District by the Natural Resource Conversvation Service (NRCS), you can call the Watershed Protection Division for assistance at (202) 535-2240. The Web Soil Survey by NRCS also provides electronic access to full soil survey report content and a simple, yet powerful, way to analyze soil data.
How do I obtain information on flood zones?
If you need to know whether a specific property is located in a flood zone as defined in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), you can view or purchase FEMA flood maps through the FEMA Map Service Center. You can also call the Watershed Protection Division, Technical Services Branch, for assistance at (202) 535-2240.
For more information contact Tim Karikari, Branch Chief.