Credit Generation Process
Trying to find credits?
If your facility is in need of credits to meet permit cap load requirements, what credits are available and who has them are found in the 2017 Verified Nitrogen Credits (PDF) and 2017 Verified Phosphorus Credits (PDF) lists. These lists are updated daily when changes occur.
Request submissions are logged in and processed in the order they are received. See the Overview section below for more details on the request submission process.
To ensure processing can be completed in time for credits to be sold and applied to permit limits by the November 28th Chesapeake Bay annual DMR submission deadline, please submit requests for compliance year 2017 (10/1/16 – 9/30/17) electronically to the Nutrient Trading Email (EPPANutrientTrad@pa.gov) by the following dates:
- Verification Requests: Friday, November 10, 2017
- Registration Requests: Monday, November 20, 2017
NOTE: Effective September 1, 2017, only the updated forms below will be accepted for new certification, verification, and registration request submissions.
Requests currently being processed that were submitted before September 1, 2017, using previous forms do not need to be resubmitted using the new forms.
- Nutrient Credit Certification Request - Nonpoint Source
A complete certification request submission for nonpoint sources must include this certification form and supporting documentation, including a verification plan (see the form for details). Point sources are covered by a mass certification and do not need to submit a certification request.
- Nutrient Credit Verification Request
A complete verification request submission must include this verification form and:
- For point sources - a completed Annual Chesapeake Bay Spreadsheet
- For nonpoint sources - supporting documentation as described in the approved verification plan
- Nutrient Credit Registration Request
A complete registration request submission must include this registration form and a copy of the agreement between the buyer and seller of credits for both point and nonpoint sources.
On the new forms, “1.A. Certification Request Submitter” is the name of the entity submitting the request (credit generator or aggregator submitting on behalf of the credit generator); 1.B. is the contact information for the aggregator, if applicable; and 1.C. is the site and contact information for the credit generator. Please see the instructions links below for more information.
Wastewater Treatment Plants that are buying and/or selling credits should use the current version of the Annual Chesapeake Bay Spreadsheet (Excel) (Annual Nutrient Monitoring) above.
Credits must be certified, verified, and registered before they can be applied to NPDES permit effluent limits. The request submission review process involves a number of steps to be completed before approval is granted.
Certification requests from nonpoint sources are logged in, reviewed for administrative completeness (including the certification request form and a verification plan describing how credit generation will be verified), published in the Pa Bulletin for a 30-day public comment period, and then reviewed for technical accuracy. Point sources are covered under the mass certification and do not need to submit a certification request.
Verification requests from point and nonpoint sources are logged in, reviewed for administrative completeness (including the verification request form and documentation of pollutant reduction activity implementation), and then reviewed for technical accuracy. The technical review may involve verification activities such as monitoring, inspecting sites, and performing compliance audits.
Registration requests from point and nonpoint sources are logged in, reviewed for administrative completeness (including the registration request form and agreements between the buyer and seller), and then reviewed for technical accuracy.
More details about certification, verification, and registration can be found below.
A credit generator must meet the Program Requirements to generate credits. Further details on these requirements can be found in the Phase 2 Chesapeake Watershed Implementation Plan (Phase 2 WIP) Nutrient Trading Supplement (PDF).
In addition, the nutrient trading program regulations (25 Pa. Code § 96.8) entitled "Use of offsets and tradable credits from pollution reduction activities in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed," specify procedural requirements to ensure that credits are calculated correctly and accomplish pollutant reductions.
POINT SOURCES (PS)
On October 3, 2015, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) published notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin of a mass credit certification action for Significant Sewage PS discharges with an assigned Cap Load.
Effective October 1, 2015, to be eligible to generate credits for sale, all Significant Sewage PS discharges within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed with annual mass load effluent limitations ("cap loads") in an NPDES permit listed in the Point Source Credit Generators Table (PDF)(Table 7.1 of the Phase 2 WIP Wastewater Supplement) must demonstrate treated effluent concentrations below 6 mg/L Total Nitrogen (TN) and 0.8 mg/L Total Phosphorus (TP) (i.e. "baseline concentrations"), in accord with the procedures for credit verification described in the Phase 2 WIP Nutrient Trading Supplement. (PDF)
Where effluent limitations for TN and/or TP are established in Part A of the permit for reasons other than the cap load assigned for protection of the Chesapeake Bay ("local nutrient limits"), the permittee is eligible to generate Credits when the permittee demonstrates that these effluent limitations have been achieved in accord with the procedures described in the Phase 2 WIP Nutrient Trading Supplement (PDF).
The individual cap loads, amount of offsets, and delivery ratios for each significant permitted point source facility are also listed in the Point Source Credit Generators Table (PDF).
Effective October 1, 2015 (Compliance Year 2016), the calculation of credits must be made using new formulas described in the Phase 2 WIP Nutrient Trading Supplement. (PDF)
- To generate credits, facilities must be able to demonstrate that they are in compliance with their NPDES permit.
- The total amount of credits the facility is certified to generate cannot exceed its permitted cap load.
- This PS certification will expire September 30, 2017. Between October 1, 2015, and September 30, 2017, PS will not be required to submit requests for certification of credits to DEP. However, requests for the verification and registration of credits for compliance purposes will still be required.
NON-POINT SOURCES (NPS)
A person who wishes to generate credits from a NPS pollutant reduction activity must submit a certification request using the DEP Nutrient Credit Certification Request - Nonpoint Source form (3830-FM-BCW0503).
Certification applications must include a verification plan.
DEP will publish notice of receipt of a certification request in the Pennsylvania Bulletin for an informal 30-day public comment period. During this 30-day period, a team will review the request for technical acceptability and consistency with program requirements.
Certification serves as DEP's final determination of the amount of credits that the pollutant reduction activity may generate.
If DEP certifies a pollutant reduction activity, DEP will publish final notice of the action in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, which begins a 30-day appeal period.
DEP verification of credit generation is required for credit trading to occur.
DEP verification includes a review of the verification request. DEP may also conduct verification activities such as monitoring, inspecting sites, and performing compliance audits.
Credit generators wanting DEP credit verification must submit their request using the DEP Nutrient Credit Verification Request form (3830-FM-BCW0506).
Credit verification must demonstrate that the pollutant reduction activity was implemented as described in the verification plan submitted with the certification application, and that all program requirements are met.
The calculation of credits generated from pollutant reduction activities should be done using the same calculation method as contained in the DEP-approved verification plan.
Credits must be verified to be traded and registered. Registration is DEP's accounting mechanism to track verified credits before they are used to comply with the NPDES permit effluent limits.
Traded credits must be documented in a valid contract for their purchase prior to registration.
Entities wanting to register the buying or selling of credits with DEP must submit their request using the Nutrient Credit Registration Request. A copy of the valid contract between buyer and seller must accompany the Registration Request Form.
For further information, contact:
Nutrient Trading Program
Department of Environmental Protection
Bureau of Clean Water – Division of Operations
RCSOB, P.O. Box 8774
Harrisburg, PA 17105
The information outlined on this website is intended to supplement existing requirements. Nothing on this site shall affect regulatory requirements. The information herein is not an adjudication or a regulation. There is no intent on the part of DEP to give the information on this website that weight or deference. This information establishes the framework, within which DEP will exercise its administrative discretion in the future. DEP reserves the discretion to deviate from this statement if circumstances warrant.