General NPDES Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Mining Activities
The sample GP-104 permit, EPA Fact Sheet, and Notice of Intent for Coverage (revised 2021) for BMP GP-104 can be found on the DEP
eLibrary. Please review these documents carefully before applying for coverage under this General Permit.
What is the BMP GP-104?
BMP GP-104 is a simplified NPDES permit process. An NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permit is required for stormwater associated with mining activity. A mining and/or reclamation operation with earth disturbance of one acre or greater in size is required to have an individual NPDES permit, or coverage under a general NPDES permit, if the site has expected or potential discharges of stormwater runoff. The BMP GP 104 is a tool to provide NPDES permit coverage for eligible coal and noncoal mine sites to address stormwater associated with mining activities. Best management practices (BMPs) outlined in the Notice of Intent (NOI) are used to control the runoff that may or may not result in a point-source discharge.
The General Permit is issued by DEP for a 5-year span. Operators wishing to use the GP-104 apply for coverage for the current permit by completing a Notice of Intent and accepting the standard permit terms, conditions, and requirements. Prior to the expiration of the General Permit term, the DEP publishes in the Pennsylvania Bulletin the draft of the proposed reissued GP-104 for public comments and subsequently publishes the final version.
When an operator receives coverage under BMP GP-104, this coverage
expires the same day as the General Permit expires. If the operator requires the coverage to continue past that date, they can reapply under the reissued permit. The coverage is not transferable to another operator.
Who is eligible?
To be eligible for coverage under the BMP GP-104, an operator must have a qualifying mining authorization (existing or pending), a mining license in good standing (or pending), and they must submit a complete NOI to their local District Mining Office with a $250 fee. The NOI details what type of discharges will be expected from the operation and what BMPs will be used to meet the permit standards.
Mining authorization types eligible for BMP GP-104 coverage are as follows:
- Coal and noncoal mining permits,
- Small noncoal (and bluestone) permits,
- Noncoal mining general permits,
- Coal and noncoal exploration activities,
- Activities authorized through a Government-Financed Construction Contract (GFCC) under 25 Pa. Code § 86.6 executed with the DEP to achieve reclamation.
The operator must demonstrate that only eligible discharges will be expected for the mining activities. Eligible discharges authorized under this permit are as follows:
- Stormwater runoff to surface waters from coal and noncoal exploration, mining, and support activities,
- Stormwater runoff to surface water from mining areas being reclaimed,
- Stormwater runoff from haul/access roads associated with mining activities.
The following are not eligible under this permit:
- Discharges from sites that have coverage under an individual NPDES permit or other NPDES General Permit,
- Discharges from those activities where one or more of the conditions listed in 25 Pa. Code § 92a.54(e)(1)-(9) exist, which is more appropriately controlled under an individual permit,
- Discharges from underground mines, acid mine drainage, pumped groundwater, sewage, or water used to wash or otherwise refine the product or any stormwater discharges that are comingled with the non-stormwater sources,
- Discharges of toxic substances at levels that exceed state water quality criteria for toxic substances,
- Discharges to ‘HQ’ or ‘EV’ designated waters, including EV wetlands,
- Discharges to waters impaired for sediment-related causes or waters covered by an approved TMDL which states sediment as a pollutant of concern,
- Any other discharges for which the District Mining Offices deems are more suitably controlled under an individual NPDES permit because of water quality concerns and specific effluent limits that must be applied.
Electronic submission of monitoring results
All facilities covered under BMP GP-104 must report their monitoring and sampling results at least once annually. Because most facilities covered under BMP GP-104 do not discharge, the permittee may not have a sample to collect and report. All permittees must comply with the federal electronic reporting rule 40 CFR Part 127: NPDES Electronic Reporting. That means,
the permittee must report electronically even if it is to certify that “no discharge” occurred.
Permittees use the Electronic Discharge Monitoring Report (eDMR) to comply with EPA’s Electronic Reporting rule for all NPDES permits. The eDMR is available through the DEP Greenport. Here are the steps to set up your eDMR for a GP-104.
- 1. Read the permit and complete your monitoring and sampling requirements as specified.
- 2. Register an Electronic filing Administrator (EFA) for your business (the permittee) with the DEP. The EFA will be responsible for submission of the eDMRs. A company can have more than one EFA.
- 3. Submit your eDMR no later than January 28th to fulfill the yearly requirement for the preceding year. Reporting can be submitted any time during the year. See section A2.d. of the GP-104. If you have questions about the BMP GP-104 permit, fact sheet, or process, contact the Bureau of Mining Programs at
RA-EPMININGPERMITS@pa.gov or 717-787-5103. Or, contact your mine inspector or District Mining Office.
District Mining Offices counties and contact information
Pottsville District Mining Office
5 West Laurel Boulevard
Pottsville PA 17901-2522
Counties: Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Columbia, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lackawanna, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Philadelphia, Pike, Schuylkill, Susquehanna, Wayne, Wyoming, York
Moshannon District Mining Office
186 Enterprise Drive
Philipsburg PA 16866
Counties: Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Lycoming, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union
Knox District Mining Office
P.O. Box 669
Knox PA 16232
Counties: Beaver, Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Mercer, Venango, Warren
Cambria District Mining Office
286 Industrial Park Road
Ebensburg PA 15931
Counties: Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Indiana, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry, Somerset
New Stanton District Mining Office
P.O. Box 133
New Stanton PA 15672
Counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Fayette, Greene, Washington, Westmoreland