Stormwater Plan Review guides private development in Philadelphia to help improve water quality in local rivers and streams.
Stormwater Plan Review is the unit within the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) responsible for reviewing development projects in the City of Philadelphia to ensure compliance with the Stormwater Regulations. These Stormwater Regulations require development projects to manage stormwater on site to help meet the City’s goals of improved water quality. The Stormwater Regulations address a variety of water resource concerns including water quality and quantity, flooding, and impaired stream banks and channels. Stormwater Plan Review provides a range of services relating to the enforcement and implementation of the Stormwater Regulations. This unit reviews approximately 74 development projects per year.
Stormwater Plan Review’s services include:
- Reviewing private development plans for compliance with the Stormwater Regulations.
- Ensuring that stormwater management practices (SMPs) are correctly designed, installed, and maintained in accordance with the Stormwater Regulations and the Philadelphia Water Department’s Federal and State permits.
- Acting as PWD’s link to the larger development process in the City, most critically the Zoning and Building Permit process administered by the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections (L&I). Applicants must receive approvals from Stormwater Plan Review before a Zoning or Building Permit may be issued.
- Coordinating with other reviewing entities, such as the Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC), Philadelphia Streets Department (Streets Department), and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP), to ensure that consistent information is provided by the applicant to all agencies.
- Monitoring inspection activities conducted by PWD Stormwater Inspections staff to ensure that SMPs are installed according to the approved plans. Inspectors regularly coordinate with Stormwater Plan Review to report on projects’ status.
- Attending post-construction meetings with PWD Stormwater Inspections staff to walk the site and record information about the project’s as-built conditions.
Stormwater Plan Review Process
There are two phases of the Stormwater Plan Review process:
Conceptual Review Phase
PWD reviews the preliminary stormwater management approach for a project site. PWD must approve a Conceptual Plan before L&I will issue a Zoning Permit.
The first step to the Conceptual Review Phase is to submit an Existing Resources and Site Analysis (ERSA) Application. This application provides information on a project’s existing conditions as well as a project’s proposed conditions, which often includes a Conceptual Stormwater Management Plan. The information taken from the ERSA Application allows PWD Stormwater Plan Review to determine which Stormwater Regulations apply to the project and to initiate review by other PWD units when necessary.
During the Conceptual Review Phase, Stormwater Plan Review will provide feedback to the applicant about the proposed stormwater management practices. Once all comments are addressed, Stormwater Plan Review will issue a Conceptual Approval Letter, which is a requirement for submitting a complete Zoning Application to L&I.
Post-Construction Stormwater Management Plan Review Phase
PWD formally reviews construction plans and engineering calculations for regulatory compliance. PWD must approve a Post-Construction Stormwater Management Plan before L&I will issue a building permit.
Once a project has received a Conceptual Approval Letter, it proceeds to the Post-Construction Stormwater Management Plan Review Phase. During this Review Phase, the design professional must provide final design plans and supporting calculations for review. Upon completion of a technical screening, Stormwater Plan Review will review the submission materials and provide feedback to the applicant in the form of a review letter. Once all comments within the review letter have been addressed and the proposed project has been confirmed to be in compliance with all applicable PWD requirements and the applicable components of the Stormwater Regulations, Stormwater Plan Review will issue a PCSMP Approval Letter. The PCSMP approval is one of several prerequisites for PWD sign-off on a Building Permit application, which is required to obtain a Building Permit from L&I.