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Topic: Permitting and Regulation


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Part of the mission of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is protection of public health and the environment. One set of tools the Department uses to meet those goals is a collection of regulations and permits focused on the wise management, conservation, and enhancement of the State’s natural resources. Regulatory and permitting programs are meant to guide the use and management of natural resources and to balance environmental protection with economic growth and activity.

The Department’s various regulations are published by the Office of the Registrar of Regulations as part of the Delaware Administrative Code.  Several of the Department’s “e-government” offerings are related to permitting and regulation.  And there is a collection of regulatory and license-related forms and applications available for download.


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Assistance to Communities and to Small Business

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control provides a Community Ombudsman, to help communities, business and industry and the public at large understand the Department’s various regulatory and permitting programs.  The Delaware Small Business Assistance Program provides direct assistance to small businesses and serves as the Departmental liaison with the Registrar of Regulations.

Land Use

The Delaware Coastal Zone Act (7 Del. Code, Chapter 70) was passed in the 1970s to protect a coastal strip the runs from the northern part of the state, along the shores of the Delaware River and Bay, and down the state’s ocean coastline, from the effects of heavy industrial activity. The Act requires a Coastal Zone status decision, to determine if proposed land use activities are permitted, and a Coastal Zone permit for any new or expanded manufacturing activities. The Department manages the Act under the Regulations Governing Delaware’s Coastal Zone.

Development along Delaware’s beaches is regulated under the Delaware Beach Preservation Act (7 Del. Code, Chapter 68) which requires that construction be kept off of the beaches and the dune systems that protect us from coastal flooding. The Regulations Governing Beach Protection and the Use of Beaches establish a “dune line” beyond which construction is not allowed without approval under the act.

Environmental Control

The three divisions that make up the Office of Environmental Protection — the Division of Water, the Division of Air Quality, and the Division of Waste & Hazardous Substances — all manage regulatory and permitting programs that control various forms of pollution and potentially polluting activities.

All Regulations and Permits for the Division of Water

For septic systems, underground injections wells, spray irrigation wastewater systems, waste haulers and related activities — The Ground Water Discharges Section: 302.739.9948

For industrial and municipal wastewater treatment systems, including stormwater — the Surface Water Discharges Section: 302.739.9946

For well and water allocation permits, and well contractors — the Water Supply Section: 302.739.9945

For marinas and activities that affect tidal wetlands or subaqueous lands, and water quality certification for federal permits — the Wetlands and Subaqueous Lands Section: 302.739.9943

All Regulations and Permits for the Division of Air Quality

For permits for minor and major stationary air pollution sources — the Engineering/Compliance Branch: 302.323.4542

For permits for smaller sources of air pollution — the Planning Branch: 302.739.9402

All Regulations and Permits for the Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances

For reporting environmental releases or spills, use the 24-Hour Hotline: 800.662.8802

For emergency planning, accident prevention, and emergency response — The Emergency Prevention and Response Section: 302.739.9404

For evaluation annd remediation of hazardous waste sites, federal and state superfund programs, and Brownfields — the Site Investigation and Restoration Section: 302.395.2600

For Waste generation, transport, treatment, recycling and disposal — the Solid and Hazardous Waste Section: 302.739.9403

For underground and above ground storage tanks, vapor recovery equiopment and boiler safety — the Tank Management Section: 302.395.2500

In addition, the Division of Watershed Assessment oversees the Sediment and Stormwater Regulations, which govern the management of stormwater for land use projects throughout the state. The regulations guide the control of stormwater both during and after construction.

Hunting, Fishing and Boating

The Division of Fish & Wildlife offers a variety of recreational licenses and permits for hunting, trapping and fishing, including the online Hunter and Trapper Registration system, which can be used by hunters in the field on their mobile devices.  Hunters can take advantage of wildlife area maps and information on hunting regulations.  Comprehensive, and annually updated, information is available in the annual hunting and fishing guides. And the division offers commercial fishing licenses and permits and boat registration and boat ramp certificates for boaters.


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Important Phone Numbers

For information about the Community Ombudsman or the Small Business Assistance Program, contact the Office of Community Services: 302.739.9959

For information about the Coastal Zone Act, contact the Coastal Zone Coordinator: 302.739.9071

For Information about the beach preservation regulations, contact the Shoreline and Waterway Management Section: 302.739.9921

For information about stormwater regulations or the NPDES general permit, contact the Sediment and Stormwater Program: 302.739.9921

For information about drainage, or to report specific drainage concerns, use the Drainage and Stormwater Assistance hotline: 302.855.1955

For information about hunting, fishing and boating permits, contact the Division of Fish & Wildlife: 302.739.9910

Public Meetings

Meetings of the DNREC Office of the Secretary

Meetings of the Division of Energy and Climate

Meetings of the Division of Water

Meetings of the Division of Air Quality

Meetings of the Division of Waste & Hazardous Substances

Meetings of the Division of Fish & Wildlife

Meetings of the Division of Watershed Stewardship

Social Media

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

The Division of Energy and Climate on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

The Division of Fish & Wildlife on Facebook and Twitter

E-Mail Lists

DNREC Public Notices (Send a blank e-mail to join)

The Delaware Coastal Zone Act (Send a blank e-mail to join)

Notices of Violation (Send a blank e-mail to join)

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