Project Review: Applications & Info for Docket Holders
DRBC Project Review Thresholds

DRBC Authority

DRBC's authority to review projects comes from the Delaware River Basin Compact (Compact; pdf).

Section 3.8 of the Compact states that no project having a substantial effect on the water resources of the basin shall hereafter be undertaken by any person, corporation or governmental authority unless it shall have been first submitted to and approved by the Commission.

In accordance with Section 3.8, the Commission is required to approve a project whenever it finds and determines that the project would not substantially impair or conflict with the Comprehensive Plan.

The Comprehensive Plan consists of all public and private projects and facilities that are required, in the judgment of the Commission, for the optimum planning, development, conservation, utilization, management and control of the water resources of the Basin to meet present and future needs.

The Comprehensive Plan also incorporates policies and regulations adopted by the Commission for the effectuation and enforcement of the Compact.

Thresholds for DRBC Project Review

The majority of the projects subject to Commission review under the Compact are water withdrawal and wastewater discharge projects over certain thresholds:

  • The threshold for an average water withdrawal - be it from ground or surface water or diversion or transfer in or out of the Basin - is more than 100,000 gallons per day (gpd) during any consecutive 30-day period

    • The exception is withdrawals located within the Southeastern Pennsylvania Groundwater Protected Area (GWPA; see link on right), where new or expanded well water projects involving an average withdrawal of more than 10,000 gpd during any consecutive 30-day period from a well or group of wells operated as a system are required to obtain a DRBC Protected Area Permit.

  • The Commission also regulates the discharge of pollutants into the ground or surface waters of the Delaware River Basin. Discharges over 50,000 gpd during any consecutive 30-day period require DRBC's approval, be it from wastewater treatment facilities or the importation or exportation of wastewater. DRBC approval of wastewater projects is contingent upon the determination that the discharge meets treatment standards and does not adversely affect established water quality criteria for the Basin's waters.

    • The exception is discharges in DRBC's Special Protection Waters (SPW), which are more closely regulated. DRBC's SPW Program includes the entire non-tidal Delaware River and the watershed that drains to it. In these waters, Commission approval is needed for discharges over 10,000 gpd during any consecutive 30-day period.

Other projects in the Basin that may also be subject to Commission review include bridges, water impoundments, natural gas and liquid petroleum transmission pipelines and electric transmission and bulk power lines.

Learn More

For more information regarding the projects that are subject to DRBC review, project sponsors and the public should refer to Section 401.35 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure (pdf), which fully lists DRBC's Classification of Projects for Review under Section 3.8 of the Compact on pages 16-18 (of 51).

DRBC Project Review: Background Information for Applicants and the General Public (pdf)

Interactive Map of DRBC Docket and Permit Holders

If you have further questions, please contact David Kovach, Project Review Section, (609) 883-9500 ext. 264.

Project Review Fee Information

Please download and complete the following form:


Application Fees (effective July 1, 2021)

Project Type  Application Fee  Fee Maximum
Water Withdrawal

$433 per million gallons/month of allocation1, not to exceed $16,2261

Fee is doubled for any portion to be exported from the basin.

Greater of: $16,2261
or Alternative Review Fee

Wastewater Discharge

Private projects: $1,0821

Public projects: $5411

Alternative Review Fee

0.4% of project cost up to $10,000,000 plus 0.12% of project cost above
$10,000,000 (if applicable), not to exceed $81,1321

Greater of: $81,1321
or Alternative Review Fee

1Rates effective July 1, 2021, as published in the Federal Register Notice announcing the rate adjustments (pdf). 

Rates are subject to an annual, indexed inflation adjustment in accordance with the approved resolution (pdf).


Other Fees (effective July 1, 2021)

Proposed Action  Fee Fee Maximum

Emergency Approval Under 18 CFR 401.40

$5,000 Alternative Review Fee
Late Filed Renewal Surcharge $2,000 ---
Modification of a DRBC Approval

At Executive Director’s discretion, Docket Application
Fee for the appropriate project type.

Alternative Review Fee
Name Change


Change of Ownership



1Rates effective July 1, 2021, as published in the Federal Register Notice announcing the rate adjustments (pdf). 

Rates are subject to an annual, indexed inflation adjustment in accordance with the approved resolution (pdf).

See Also

DRBC Annual Monitoring and Coordination Fee

Project Review Application Forms

Ground and/or Surface Water Withdrawal Application (to be used for new applications, as well as for renewals or modifications)*

*Note: While this application may be used for projects located within the Southeastern Pa. Ground Water Protected Area (GWPA), those applicants should also review the GWPA Applicant Information (click on link in R box).


Discharge of Pollutants into Surface Waters or Groundwaters of the DRB (to be used for new applications, as well as for re-rates, renewals or modifications)


Request for Name Change or Transfer of Approval


Application for Electric Generating or Cogenerating Facilities Designed to Consumptively Use in Excess of 100,000 GPD of Water During any Consecutive 30-Day Period

Guidance Documents

The following guidance/policy documents have been developed to assist applicants

Standard Reporting Forms