Administrative Code

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

Virginia Administrative Code
Title 9. Environment
Agency 25. State Water Control Board
Chapter 260. Water Quality Standards

9VAC25-260-5. Definitions.

The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Algicides" means chemical substances, most commonly copper-based, used as a treatment method to control algae growths.

"Board" means State Water Control Board. When used outside the context of the promulgation of regulations, including regulations to establish general permits, "board" means the Department of Environmental Quality.

"Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries" means all tidally influenced waters of the Chesapeake Bay; western and eastern coastal embayments and tributaries; James, York, Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers and all their tidal tributaries to the end of tidal waters in each tributary (in larger rivers this is the fall line); and includes subdivisions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of 9VAC25-260-390, subdivisions 1, 1b, 1d, 1f and 1o of 9VAC25-260-410, subdivisions 5 and 5a of 9VAC25-260-415, subdivisions 1 and 1a of 9VAC25-260-440, subdivisions 2, 3, 3a, 3b and 3e of 9VAC25-260-520, and subdivision 1 of 9VAC25-260-530. This definition does not include free flowing sections of these waters.

"Criteria" means elements of the board's water quality standards, expressed as constituent concentrations, levels, or narrative statements, representing a quality of water that supports a particular use. When criteria are met, water quality will generally protect the designated use.

"Department" or "DEQ" means the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

"Designated uses" means those uses specified in water quality standards for each waterbody or segment whether or not they are being attained.

"Drifting organisms" means planktonic organisms that are dependent on the current of the water for movement.

"Epilimnion" means the upper layer of nearly uniform temperature in a thermally stratified man-made lake or reservoir listed in 9VAC25-260-187 B.

"Existing uses" means those uses actually attained in the waterbody on or after November 28, 1975, whether or not they are included in the water quality standards.

"Lacustrine" means the zone within a lake or reservoir that corresponds to nonflowing lake-like conditions such as those near the dam. The other two zones within a reservoir are riverine (flowing, river-like conditions) and transitional (transition from river to lake conditions).

"Man-made lake or reservoir" means a constructed impoundment.

"Mixing zone" means a limited area or volume of water where initial dilution of a discharge takes place and where numeric water quality criteria can be exceeded but designated uses in the waterbody on the whole are maintained and lethality is prevented.

"Natural lake" means an impoundment that is natural in origin. There are two natural lakes in Virginia: Mountain Lake in Giles County and Lake Drummond located within the boundaries of Chesapeake and Suffolk in the Great Dismal Swamp.

"Passing organisms" means free swimming organisms that move with a mean velocity at least equal to the ambient current in any direction.

"Primary contact recreation" means any water-based form of recreation, the practice of which has a high probability for total body immersion or ingestion of water (examples include but are not limited to swimming, water skiing, canoeing and kayaking).

"Pycnocline" means the portion of the water column where density changes rapidly because of salinity and/or temperature. In an estuary the pycnocline is the zone separating deep, cooler more saline waters from the less saline, warmer surface waters. The upper and lower boundaries of a pycnocline are measured as a change in density per unit of depth that is greater than twice the change of the overall average for the total water column.

"Secondary contact recreation" means a water-based form of recreation, the practice of which has a low probability for total body immersion or ingestion of waters (examples include but are not limited to wading, boating and fishing).

"Swamp waters" means waters with naturally occurring low pH and low dissolved oxygen caused by (i) low flow velocity that prevents mixing and reaeration of stagnant, shallow waters and (ii) decomposition of vegetation that lowers dissolved oxygen concentrations and causes tannic acids to color the water and lower the pH.

"Use attainability analysis" means a structured scientific assessment of the factors affecting the attainment of the use which may include physical, chemical, biological, and economic factors as described in 9VAC25-260-10 H.

"Water quality standards" means provisions of state or federal law which consist of a designated use or uses for the waters of the Commonwealth and water quality criteria for such waters based upon such uses. Water quality standards are to protect the public health or welfare, enhance the quality of water and serve the purposes of the State Water Control Law (§ 62.1-44.2 et seq. of the Code of Virginia) and the federal Clean Water Act (33 USC § 1251 et seq.).

"Wetlands" means those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas.

Statutory Authority

§ 62.1-44.15 of the Code of Virginia; Clean Water Act (33 USC § 1251 et seq.); 40 CFR Part 131.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 14, Issue 4, eff. December 10, 1997; amended, Virginia Register Volume 19, Issue 7, eff. January 15, 2003; Volume 20, Issue 9, eff. February 12, 2004; Errata 20:11 VA.R. 1387 February 9, 2004; amended, Virginia Register Volume 21, Issue 23, eff. June 24, 2005; Volume 24, Issue 4, eff. August 14, 2007; Volume 32, Issue 26, eff. June 27, 2017; Volume 39, Issue 5, eff. November 23, 2022.

Website addresses provided in the Virginia Administrative Code to documents incorporated by reference are for the reader's convenience only, may not necessarily be active or current, and should not be relied upon. To ensure the information incorporated by reference is accurate, the reader is encouraged to use the source document described in the regulation.

As a service to the public, the Virginia Administrative Code is provided online by the Virginia General Assembly. We are unable to answer legal questions or respond to requests for legal advice, including application of law to specific fact. To understand and protect your legal rights, you should consult an attorney.