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.
The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control provides Ombudsmen to help communities, business and industry and the public at large understand the Department’s various regulatory and permitting programs. The Delaware Business Assistance Program provides direct assistance to businesses and serves as the Departmental liaison with the Registrar of Regulations.
The Business First Steps website provides a portal to important permitting, licensing and registration information for people seeking to start their own businesses and for those looking to expand their business in Delaware. Many of DNREC’s permitting and regulatory programs are included in the listings on this site, which are grouped by subject matter, from the perspective of an entrepreneur. DNREC content is found under the Boating, Contractors/Building/Construction/Home Owner Improvements, Environmental Protection, and Manufacturing headings.
The Delaware Coastal Zone Act (7 Del.C. Chapter 70) was passed in 1971 to protect a coastal zone that 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 permit for any new or expanded manufacturing activities. The Department manages the Coastal Zone Act Program under the Regulations Governing Delaware’s Coastal Zone.
The 2017 Coastal Zone Conversion Permit Act amended the Coastal Zone Act to allow for a new permit process to allow industrial reuse of 14 existing sites of heavy industry use within Delaware’s Coastal Zone.
Development along Delaware’s beaches is regulated under the Delaware Beach Preservation Act (7 Del.C. 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.
The four divisions that make up the Office of Environmental Protection — the Division of Water, the Division of Air Quality, the Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy, and the Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances — all manage regulatory and permitting programs that control various forms of pollution and potentially polluting activities.
The Residential Services Section serves property owners, their contractors and appointed agents. Services include drinking water wells, septic systems and other residential activities that affect water resources.
The Commercial and Government Services Section serves the permitting needs of industrial, municipal and agricultural customers.
The Wetlands and Waterways Section serves property owners and their selected contractors and appointed agents. The scope of services includes permitted activities on, or affecting, wetlands and subaqueous lands.
The Resource Protection Section helps protect groundwater resources through monitoring, evaluation and compliance enforcement. It also provides licensing for water-related professions.
For clean transportation programs — the Delaware Clean Transportation Incentive Program: 302-735-3480
For land-use planning issues — the Sustainable Communities program: 302-735-3480
For reporting environmental releases or spills, use the 24-Hour Hotline: 800-662-8802
For emergency planning, accident prevention, and emergency response — The Emergency Response and Strategic Services Section: 302-739-9404
For evaluation and remediation of hazardous waste sites, federal and state superfund programs, and Brownfields — the Remediation Section: 302-395-2600
For waste generation, transport, treatment, recycling and disposal — the Compliance and Permitting Section: 302-739-9403
For underground and above ground storage tanks, vapor recovery equipment and boiler safety — Tanks Compliance: 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.
Hunters can take advantage of wildlife area maps that include information about wildlife area regulations.
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: 302-739-9283
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 and Wildlife: 302-739-9910