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Virginias Stormwater Program Shifts to the Department of Environmental Quality

Virginias Stormwater Program Shifts to the Department of Environmental Quality

VA State Capitol BuildingAs of July 1, 2013, the Department of Environmental Quality is now the lead agency in Virginia for implementing stormwater runoff control programs. HRPDC staff has been following the transition of moving the program from DCR to DEQ. Major regulatory actions will affect local governments during this fiscal year including: 2014 Construction General Permit, renewal of the Phase II MS4 General Permit, Phase I MS4 Individual Permit renewals, and local government implementation of the stormwater regulations.

Construction General Permit:
The Soil and Water Conservation Board approved the Construction General Permit regulation for public comment on February 26, 2013. Public comment closed on June 7, 2013. Currently, EPA is reviewing the regulation and it will become effective on July 1, 2014. The revised stormwater quality criteria will be applied to new development and redevelopment through issuance of the Construction General Permit. Because local governments will be conducting permit reviews as of July 1, 2014, localities have requested that DEQ develop additional guidance on which projects with less than one acre of disturbance must receive a permit under the Common Plan of Development provision. HRPDC expects this guidance to be completed in Fall 2013.

Phase II (Small) MS4 General Permit:
Small MS4s include storm sewer systems operated by cities, counties, towns, federal facilities, and state facilities such as VDOT, community colleges and public universities. Under the general permit, small MS4s must develop, implement and enforce a program that includes the following minimum control measures:

  1. Public education and outreach on stormwater impacts
  2. Public involvement and participation
  3. Illicit discharge detection and elimination
  4. Construction site stormwater runoff control
  5. Post-construction stormwater management in new development and redevelopment
  6. Pollution prevention/good housekeeping for municipal operations

The new General Permit that became effective on July 1, 2013 includes several significant new requirements under the public education and outreach and pollution prevention minimum control measures. The permit also incorporates pollution limits for waterways developed through local TMDLs and the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, and requires the permittee to develop a TMDL Action Plan. DEQ, at the request of HRPDC localities, is currently developing guidance for this plan through the MS4 TMDL Action Plan Guidance Stakeholder Advisory Group.

Phase I MS4 Individual Permits:
Of the eleven Individual Permits for Phase I MS4s in Virginia, six are located in Hampton Roads. The Hampton Roads permits have been administratively continued since 2005. Virginia is currently in the process of working with EPA and permittees to renew these permits. Arlington’s permit was the first to be completed and became effective on June 26, 2013. Virginia intends the Arlington permit to be used as a template for the rest of the State. Hampton Roads localities can expect many of the provisions in the Arlington permit to apply in Hampton Roads, but permit negotiations are not likely to begin before January 2014.


Local Government Implementation of Stormwater Regulations:
Virginia’s revised stormwater management regulations that became effective on September 13, 2011 require local stormwater management programs to be adopted by July 1, 2014. The following are due dates for program submittals:

  • December 15, 2013: Due date for preliminary local program application packages.
  • April 1, 2014: Final adopted ordinances submitted for review.
  • June 13, 2014: Final date for localities to adopt a program.
  • June 2014: Final date for Board approval of local programs.

HRPDC staff is following the development of guidance and tools for program development through participation on the Stormwater Local Government Advisory Committee. DEQ is currently developing the training program for local government plan reviewers and inspectors as required by the regulations. The next round of basic classes is expected to be held in the fall and the first inspector class should be held at the beginning of 2014. HRPDC is coordinating with DEQ to provide this training in Hampton Roads. Additional information on training is available on the DEQ website.  All training notifications and registrations will be handled through DEQ’s knowledge center