DEEP COVID-19 Response
DEEP is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in a number of ways. First and foremost, DEEP is striving to continue to carry out its mission and provide services while keeping both the public and our workforce safe. Please check this page for updates on DEEP’s facilities, process changes, and response initiatives.
Doing Business with DEEP during the COVID-19 Pandemic
DEEP has closed its offices to the public and the majority of DEEP’s employees are working remotely. To minimize risks to the public and DEEP staff, DEEP employees working with the public, including inspectors, maintainers and environmental educators have been provided instructions to practice social distancing, wherever possible. The majority of DEEP staff have transitioned to telework, and the Department is working to maintain continuous operation of its programs and functions to the greatest extent possible during this public health emergency.
Wherever possible, DEEP programs are encouraging that submittals be sent digitally, rather than hard copy. Services that were previously available to in-person visitors at 79 Elm Street, Hartford may be accessible online, including:
- Select documents including Hazardous Waste Manifests are now electronically accessible on the DEEP Document Online Search Portal. Please use this portal to search for documents that you may need before submitting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. If you still wish to submit a FOIA request, please submit your request electronically to DEEP.FOIA@ct.gov. DEEP's FOIA webpage provides information relating to submission requests.
- Please note that due to the coronavirus, FOIA compliance is being processed remotely and and may result in longer than usual processing times.
- If you are looking to submit or pay for Marine Event Permits, Fishing Derby and Fish Importation/Liberation Permits, Radiation Registrations (DTX and RMI), Stormwater Registrations (Construction, Industrial and No Exposure) or Underground Storage Tank Notifications please visit our ezFile website.
- Access to DEEP’s records center at 79 Elm Street, Hartford is not available to the public. Requests for records may be sent to DEEP.RecordsCenter@ct.gov and requests will be fulfilled in the order in which they are received, once the "Stay Safe, Stay Home" order is lifted.
Enforcement During COVID-19
Regulated entities are expected to comply with Connecticut’s environmental laws during the public health emergency. Should, however, extenuating circumstances associated with the COVID-19 emergency prevent a regulated entity from fully complying with environmental laws, DEEP recommends that the regulated entity document in detail and communicate in writing with DEEP as soon as practicable concerning the entity’s inability to achieve full compliance. DEEP's full statement on enforcement can be found on the DEEP Enforcement page.
Governor Lamont is urging all Connecticut residents to “Stay Safe, Stay Home” to help minimize community spread of COVID-19. State Parks, Forests, and other natural spaces are open for solitary recreation. It is important that if you plan to visit natural spaces, that you do your part to stop the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing. Click here for the latest updates on natural spaces and tips for staying safe outdoors.
- The boardwalk connector from the parking lot at Silver Sands State Park (Milford) will be closed for the duration of the public health emergency. Visitors to the park will have access to the beach and must follow posted directional signage (April 8).
- After consultation with local and public officials, Kent Falls State Park (Kent) and Seaside State Park (Waterford), will be closed for the duration of the public health emergency, due to the challenges visitors faced maintaining appropriate social distancing (April 5).
- Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7R has authorized DEEP to conduct enforcement to prevent additional visitors from entering parks after they have been closed to capacity.DEEP encourages visitors to check DEEP’s Twitter account @CTStateParks for the latest information on park closures (March 31).
- DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes shares tips for social distancing while visiting Connecticut State Parks and other outdoor spaces (March 26).
- Most satellite DEEP office locations, branch facilities, and high-traffic visitor centers within State Parks and Forests have been closed to the public (March 13).
Hunting, Fishing & Forestry
Governor Lamont is urging all Connecticut residents to "Stay Safe, Stay Home," to help minimize community spread of COVID-19. It is important that if you plan to engage in any form of wildlife oriented recreation, whether that be bird watching, hunting, fishing or exploring tidepools, that you do your part to stop the spread of COVID-19 practicing social distancing.
- DEEP has extended the deadlines for (1) limited access commercial fishing licenses from March 31 to May 31, 2020; and (2) renewal of commercial forest practitioner certifications retroactively from March 15, 2020 to May 31, 2020 (March 30, 2020).
- Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7L opens fishing season early in public waters to encourage social distancing (March 24).
- To purchase hunting and fishing licenses/permits visit our Online Sportsmen License Portal.
- Public shooting ranges have been closed.
- Conservation Education/Firearms Safety and Connecticut Aquatic Resource Education classes and special seminars have been suspended.
- Check out social distancing tips and FAQs for anglers (March 24).
- DEEP has extended the deadline for submission of applications for the state’s Open Space & Watershed Land Acquisition (OSWA) and Urban Green and Community Garden (UGCG) Grant program by 30 days to July 1, 2020.DEEP is granting a 60-day extension for the property appraisal portion of the application, to August 1, 2020. Contact Nicole.firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions (March 30).
During the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, DEEP has been engaged with the waste management sector to provide guidance on safe handling of materials as well as regulatory and contingency planning to ensure continuity of operations for essential waste services, including recycling, during this public health emergency. Please check DEEP’s Materials Management COVID-19 Response page for detailed description of agency actions undertaken during this time.
- Pursuant to Executive Order No. 7N, Governor Lamont has temporarily suspended the ten-cent fee on single-use plastic bags, and allowing retail employees the opportunity to decline to bag for customers who bring in reusable bags (March 26).DEEP, DPH, and DRS have provided additional guidance that reusable bags do not present a significant health risk (March 27).
- Solid waste hauling and recycling have been classified as essential services pursuant to Executive Order No. 7H (March 20).
- DEEP has extended the temporary suspension of enforcement actions against Connecticut retailers for failing to accept empty beverage containers for redemption until April 30, 2020. On March 17, 2020, DEEP issued a press release noting that during the temporary suspension time or extension thereof, if stores do not accept empty beverage containers, DEEP will not issue them a notice of violation. (April 2).
- Biennial Registration of X-Ray Devices - DEEP has extended the April 30, 2020 deadline to June 30, 2020, for biennial registration requirements for the operations of diagnostic and therapeutic x-ray devices, to ease the financial and administrative burden to the regulated community, many of whom are actively engaged in the COVID-19 public health response or are small businesses negatively impacted by the crisis (April 7).
- Continuous Emissions Monitoring (CEM) - DEEP is extending the April 30 deadline for the 1st Quarter reporting for Continuous Emissions Monitoring (CEM) (applicable to regulated businesses including fuel burning sources and municipal waste combustors).The new deadline will be June 1, 2020 (April 1).
- RVP Waiver - DEEP and DCP Commissioners have issued a Joint Waiver of Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) regulations in recognition of reduced travel and an associated oversupply of gasoline meeting winter season RVP requirements during the public health emergency (March 27).
- Energy Affordability & Ratepayer Relief - DEEP and DECD submitted testimony to PURA seeking urgent ratepayer relief, including lowering barriers to reconnecting previously disconnected utility customers, waiving or suspending fees and penalties on delinquent accounts, and providing more flexible options for payment plans (March 27).
- Support for Energy Efficiency -In order to ease the burden imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic on the more than 160 small-business clean energy contractors employed through the Conservation & Load Management plan, DEEP has issued a decision outlining several relief actions including: continuing to develop projects in the pipeline; extending rebate and contract expiration periods; providing partial payment for initiated projects in the resident and small business program; and virtualizing inspection processes for residential/commercial/industrial projects.
- Support for Clean Energy Businesses - DEEP is coordinating with the Office of the Governor, Connecticut Green Bank, DECD, Eversource Energy, and The United Illuminating Company to provide webinars to clean energy contractors with information about available state and federal aid. DEEP is committed to engaging in an ongoing stakeholder process to review potential changes to program implementation and to monitoring the impacts of the current crisis on our critical clean energy workforce.
During the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, DEEP has prioritized the continued operations and functionality of critical infrastructure, such as municipal wastewater and dams.
- DEEP has been engaged with the wastewater management sector to provide guidance on safety as well as regulatory and contingency planning.The collective goal is to ensure continuity of operations for essential wastewater services.
- Please subscribe to DEEP’s Municipal Wastewater Listserv to receive updates of agency actions or recommendations undertaken during this time.
- Wastewater utilities have been classified as essential services pursuant to Executive Order No. 7H (March 20)
- DEEP has established a dedicated address (DEEP.WPCF@ct.gov) for submission of Monthly Operating Reports and Aquatic Toxicity Monitoring Reports to allow facilities to submit those permit-required documents by email.
- DEEP is receiving files from dam owners electronically through email to DEEP.DamSafety@ct.gov or by uploading files to the dam Safety FTP site.Please email us to access this FTP site.
- Review of dam safety files is available on a limited basis.Please email DEEP.DamSafety@ct.gov to arrange access to electronic dam safety files.
Land & Water Resources Division
- The Land and Water Resource Division (LWRD) is accepting applications for the various regulatory programs it administers electronically through an ftp site. Directions for e-filing can be found here.
- Applications are being reviewed and processed electronically in response to COVID-19.
- Training for the Connecticut State Harbor Masters scheduled for May 8, 2020 at DEEP's Marine Headquarters in Old Lyme has been cancelled. The Connecticut Harbor Management Association and DEEP, the event co-sponsors are planning to hold this event in the spring of 2021.
- The Remediation Division recognizes that Licensed Environmental Professionals (LEPs) and their associated staff that are actively conducting oversight of environmental investigation, cleanup, and construction projects are performing services that are deemed essential.
- In order to maintain continuous processing of LEP verifications submitted to the Department, we ask that any LEP who submitted a verification after March 6, 2020, and for any verification submitted during the COVID-19 response, please email a copy of the verification form and verification report to Carolyn Fusaro at Carolyn.Fusaro@ct.gov
- Other submittals from LEPs and regulated entities can be made electronically to the assigned project manager in the Remediation Division.
- Large files can be uploaded to the Division’s ftp site.
Licensed Environmental Professionals
At its meeting on April 9, 2020, the State Board of Examiners of Environmental Professions addressed the following in response to the COVID-19 emergency:
- The Board approved a waiver of the regulatory limitation on the number of credits a Licensed Environmental Professional (LEP) can receive from approved distance learning courses for the biennial period from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2021. Only approved distance learning courses can be used for credit.
- The Board clarified that a live webinar can be approved as a regular course for CECs. If the intent is to offer an on-demand version, i.e. not a live experience, then the course will need to be approved as a distance learning course, which, in addition to other requirements, is required to provide an assessment of learning at its conclusion on which the LEP needs to score at least 70%.
- The LEP Exam currently scheduled for May 13, 2020 will be postponed. The Board is exploring an October date with the testing contractor. As an alternative, the Board will permit those admitted to take the current test to forego this year’s test completely and take the regularly scheduled test for 2021 without needing to pay an additional fee.
Adjudications (Environmental Hearings)
In order to facilitate the filing of requests for hearing during the COVID-19 emergency and consistent with the Department’s Temporary Directive, the Office of Adjudications will accept electronically-filed petitions and requests for hearing in addition to petitions or requests submitted by mail . Petitions with required signatures or requests may be filed by email to the Office of Adjudications or mailed to the DEEP Office of Adjudications, 79 Elm Street, 3rd floor, Hartford, CT 06106.
Within 30 days, original petitions or requests that were filed electronically must be also be mailed to the Office of Adjudications at the above-noted address. If the original petition or request exists only in electronic format or signatures were produced using a computer or typewriter, the petition or request must be submitted with a statement bearing the wet-ink signature of the petitioner or requester that the petition or request is only available in that format and has been submitted to satisfy the requirement that an original petition or request be filed.