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Sewage Facilities Planning

Municipalities are required to develop and implement comprehensive official plans that provide for the resolution of existing sewage disposal problems, provide for the future sewage disposal needs of new land development, and provide for future sewage disposal needs of the municipality. This official plan is sometimes called the "base plan" or the "Act 537 plan." When a new land development project is proposed, municipalities are required to revise their official plan (unless the project is exempt from planning).

The Planning Forms and Information

The following forms and their supporting documentation are used in the process of revising an official plan.

The Sewage Facilities Planning Module Application Mailer is the first step in this process and must be submitted for all new land development projects, except for those projects that meet the qualifications for the use of a Component 1 planning module. The mailer information is used by DEP to determine whether sewage facilities planning is required, and if so, what type of planning is appropriate for a project.

The sewage facilities planning module component forms below are provided as examples of the instructions and the type of information required for the planning process. The appropriate planning module forms will be provided by DEP in response to the completed Planning Module Application Mailer. Use only the most current planning forms for your submission. If there has been a project delay since planning forms were obtained from DEP, be sure to verify the forms originally received remain the most current forms available.

In all cases, local municipal involvement is required. Do not submit completed planning module forms directly to DEP without municipal coordination.

Planning Forms

  • Sewage Facilities Planning Module Application Mailer
    Used by anyone proposing a new land development project.

  • Component 1 - Exception To The Requirement To Revise The Official Plan
    Used by persons proposing onlot sewage disposal for smaller scale, new land development projects under specific conditions provided in the instruction form.

  • Component 2, Individual and Community Onlot Disposal of Sewage
    Used by persons proposing the use of individual or community onlot sewage disposal systems, retaining tanks, or DEP permitted large volume onlot sewage disposal systems.

  • Component 2m, Sewage Management Program
    Used by local municipalities proposing a minor update revision to their existing Act 537 Official Plan for the creation of a sewage management program.
    Not intended for use by the general public.

  • Component 3, Sewage Collection and Treatment Facilities
    Used by persons proposing sewage treatment plants or connection, construction, expansion, or extension to public or private community sewerage systems.

  • Component 3m, Minor Act 537 Update Revisions
    Used by local municipalities and/or municipal authorities proposing minor update revisions to their existing Act 537 Official Plan.
    Not intended for use by the general public.

  • Component 3s, Small Flow Treatment Facilities
    Used by persons proposing small flow sewage treatment facilities (individual treatment plants with flows no greater than 2,000 gallons per day) and final disposal to a stream or other method approved by DEP.

  • Component 4, Planning Agency or Health Department Review
    Used in conjunction with other sewage facilities planning documents to obtain required comments from Local, County, and Health department agencies.

  • Transmittal Letter For Sewage Facilities Planning
    Used by municipal officials as a cover letter when submitting Component 2, 3 and 3s sewage facilities planning module packages to the reviewing authority (DEP or Delegated Agency).

  • Resolution For Plan Revision For New Land Development
    Used by municipal officials to document adoption of a Component 2, Component 3 or Component 3s Planning Module as a formal revision to the municipality's Official Act 537 Plan.
    Not intended for use by the general public.

  • Task/Activity Report
    Used by consultants and municipal officials to submit estimates of activities, costs and times anticipated for preparation of an Act 537 Plan Update Revision for DEP review and approval.

  • Act 537 Plan Content and Environmental Assessment Checklist
    Used by local municipalities proposing extensive update revisions to their existing Act 537 Official Plan.
    Not intended for use by the general public.

  • Request For Planning Waiver and Non-Building Declaration
    Used by persons proposing subdivisions that do not involve creation of new sewage facilities.

  • PHMC Project Review Form
    Used to begin the coordination process with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) to determine and establish consistency with the Pennsylvania History Code concerning archeological sites and historic structures prior to planning module submission. Please submit this form via email to the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO).

    During the COVID-19 outbreak, the PA SHPO office is continuing to work remotely. Information about our Continuity of Operations for Environmental Review and how to consult with the PA SHPO under Section 106 and the State History Code can be found on the PA SHPO blog.

PNDI Coordination

Most sewage facilities planning proposals require coordination with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) for avoidance and minimization of impacts to threatened and endangered species, and special concern species. If your project requires this coordination, DCNR's Pennsylvania Conservation Explorer will assist you with this requirement. The Conservation Explorer allows you to perform a Pennsylvania Natural Diversity Inventory (PNDI) Environmental Review for your project online or gives you the option to submit your project for review offline using a Manual Project Submission Form.