Hampton Roads Planning District CommissionHRPDCVA
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Water Resources

Surface Water Quality


The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Water Quality Monitoring Programs collect and analyze data from rivers, lakes, and tidal waters throughout the Commonwealth to ensure that waters can support uses such as recreation, fishing, aquatic habitat, and public water supply. Many water bodies in the Hampton Roads region are classified as impaired.A water body (bay, estuary, river, or lake) is impaired if monitoring results indicate failure to meet state water quality standards. Water pollution causes impairments in the form of low oxygen levels and high levels of nutrients, bacteria, sediment, and chemicals.Common sources of water pollution include discharges from municipal wastewater treatment and industrial activities and runoff from agriculture, forestry, urban stormwater, and undeveloped areas.  Virginia’s list of impaired waters is maintained by DEQ.

DEQ uses internet-based Water Quality Assessment Database GIS Applicationto provide public access to water quality assessment data. The GIS application allows users to locate an area of interest and view information on specific water bodies.


Water quality regulatory programs, including water quality standards, are based on the authority of the federal Clean Water Act and the Virginia State Water Control Law.For some impaired water bodies, development of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) arerequired to identify sources of water quality impairments and to establish limits on the amount of pollutants that can be discharged to the water body. Under Virginia law, once a TMDL Study has been completed and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a TMDL Implementation Plan must be prepared.

TMDL Implementation Plans describe the measures that must be taken to reduce pollutant discharges such that the water body is no longer impaired. Implementation Plan requirements to meet water quality standards are implemented through discharge permitting programs for industries, municipal wastewater treatment and urban stormwater. Pollution from agricultural sources is reduced through voluntary agricultural management programs and practices.

HRPDC’s Water Resources Department coordinates with DEQ to conduct Hampton Roads TMDL study outreach activities and develops TMDL Implementation Plans. HRPDC works with local governments to identify stakeholders and develop plansto address locality needs while meeting state requirements.


Contact Water Resources




8:00am to 4:30pm Monday - Friday

The Regional Building
723 Woodlake Drive
Chesapeake, VA 23320