MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT
New Hampshire Department of Transportation
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
SIGNIFICANT ALTERATION OF TERRAIN
The New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) serve the people of New Hampshire by constructing and maintaining the state's transportation infrastructure and preserving and protecting the state's environment, including water resources.
Statutorily, any person proposing activities that "significantly alter the characteristics of the terrain" and have the potential to degrade water quality must receive a permit from NHDES prior to conducting such activities (RSA 485-A:17). Construction projects sponsored by the NHDOT would normally require such a permit. However, NHDES "may exempt other state agencies from the permit and fee provisions . . . provided that each such agency has incorporated appropriate protective practices in its projects which are substantially equivalent to the requirements established by the department [NHDES]."
It has been the practice for NHDES to exempt projects/activities originating in the NHDOT's Division of Project Development and Division of Operations. These are the typical roadway and bridge construction projects that are let out for bid to construction contractors or projects/activities constructed by NHDOT's maintenance forces. In both cases, construction activities are carried out in accordance with best management practices for erosion control and stormwater management. Projects originating in the Division of Public Works & Transportation or Division of Aeronautics have not been exempted from the requirements of the site-specific permit.
The passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) and its successor, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), led to a new breed of transportation projects aimed at enhancing the environment and promoting alternative modes of transportation. Transportation Enhancement (TE) projects and Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality (CMAQ) projects are often hybrids of roadway improvement projects and public works facilities projects. Examples are commuter park & ride lots, intermodal transportation facilities (bus stations and rail depots) and welcome centers. These projects are not only funded with transportation dollars, but are intended to support and/or complement existing and proposed transportation facilities. Because of the public works elements of these projects, however, NHDES has had reservations about exempting these projects from the requirements of the site-specific permit.
In the spirit of environmental streamlining, as espoused in TEA-21, the NHDOT and the NHDES agree that all projects/activities sponsored by NHDOT will be exempt from the requirements of the site-specific permit. This involves all Project Development projects (including TE projects and CMAQ projects that are not implemented through the Department's municipally-managed projects program), Operations projects/activities, Public Works & Transportation projects and Aeronautics projects. To ensure all projects/activities have incorporated appropriate protective practices, the parties executing this Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) agree, as follows:
- All construction projects contracted by and under direct supervision of the NHDOT's Divisions of Project Development, Operations, Public Works & Transportation and Aeronautics will incorporate best management practices (BMP's) for erosion control and stormwater management. As appropriate, these will include measures prescribed in one or more of the following publications:
- Volume III, AASHTO "Highway Drainage Guidelines", 1992
- EPA's "Stormwater Management for Construction Activities", September 1992
- New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, Rockingham County Conservation District, USDA Soil Conservation Service (now Natural Resource Conservation Service) "Stormwater Management and Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook for Urban and Developing Areas in New Hampshire", August 1992
- US Department of Transportation, "Best Management Practices for Erosion and Sediment Control", June 1995
- New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services "Best Management Practices for Urban Stormwater Runoff", January 1996
- "NHDOT Guidelines for Temporary Erosion Control and Stormwater Management", 2002
- FHWA's "Urban Drainage Design Manual", August 2001
- FHWA's "Hydraulic Design of Highway Culverts", September 2001
- NHDES' "Innovative Storm Water Treatment Technologies: B.M.P. Manual", May 2002
- All applicable Federal Aviation Administration Advisory Circulars and Orders
The requirement to incorporate BMP's will be included in the Prosecution of Work and/or contract documents for each project that has the potential to significantly alter the terrain. An erosion and sediment control and stormwater management plan shall be submitted to NHDOT by the Contractor and approved by NHDOT. The NHDOT shall be responsible to assure that the plan and appropriate BMP's are implemented.
- Maintenance activities undertaken by the NHDOT's Operations Division that have the potential to significantly alter the terrain shall incorporate appropriate BMP's as prescribed in the publications noted above and/or the "Best Management Practices for Routine Roadway Maintenance Activities in New Hampshire", August 2001, jointly developed by NHDOT and NHDES. The NHDOT shall be responsible to assure that such BMP's are implemented.
This MOA does not apply to projects implemented through the Department's municipally-managed projects program, or to independent, construction-related activities undertaken by the contractor, such as borrow sites, material disposal sites, staging areas/yards and material processing plants/sites. For these activities, the contractor would be responsible to obtain a site-specific permit, as required.
None of the above is intended to override, diminish or otherwise subjugate the statutory or administrative permitting authority of NHDES.
This Agreement may be expanded, modified or terminated by mutual consent of the Commissioners of NHDOT and NHDES, in writing, at any time.
The undersigned have reviewed this Agreement and determined that it complies with the laws, regulations and policies applicable to their agencies. Accordingly, it is hereby approved and becomes effective on the last date noted below.
Carol A. Murray, Commissioner Date
NH Department of Transportation
Michael Nolin, Commissioner Date
NH Department of Environmental Services
For questions or feedback on this subject matter content, please contact Susan Jones at 202-493-2139.