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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 9. Environment
Agency 25. State Water Control Board
Chapter 410. Occoquan Policy

9VAC25-410-10. Introduction.

A. Purpose and authority. To provide a policy that protects the Occoquan watershed from point source pollution. The Occoquan Policy specifically regulates jurisdictional domestic sewage and sets forth requirements for high performance regional treatment plants. The policy was adopted pursuant to authority vested in the State Water Control Board (board) by § 62.1-44.15 of the State Water Control Law.

B. Water quality standard. This "Occoquan Policy" also constitutes special standard "g" in the board's water quality standards for sections 7a through 7h of the Potomac River Basin's Potomac River Subbasin (9VAC25-260-390), which sections are delineated geographically in the "Basin and Section Description" portion of the water quality standards publication (9VAC25-260-10 et seq.). In addition, the text of this policy is referred to under special standards and requirements (9VAC25-260-310), entitled "Occoquan Watershed Policy," of the water quality standards (9VAC25-260-10 et seq.).

C. Background. During the 1960s there was a great deal of concern generated about the large amount of treated sewage effluent being discharged in the Occoquan watershed, since the receiving streams feed the Occoquan reservoir, a drinking water supply for over 600,000 people in Northern Virginia.

In response to this, the board commissioned the firm of Metcalf & Eddy to study the problems of the Occoquan reservoir and to recommend a course of action to preserve the Occoquan as a valuable water resource for future generations.

The results of the Metcalf & Eddy study stated that point source pollution was the primary cause of water quality degradation in the Occoquan watershed and that a high degree of waste treatment would be necessary to prolong the life of the drinking water supply.

In 1971 the board adopted a policy for waste treatment and water quality management in the Occoquan watershed (the Occoquan Policy) that outlined a course of action to control point source pollution in the watershed.

The Occoquan Policy provided for the construction of regional high-performance treatment facilities in the watershed and a monitoring program to obtain water quality data both before and after construction of any of the high-performance plants.

The Occoquan Watershed Monitoring Program (OWMP or monitoring program) was established in 1972 which gathered an extensive amount of information and found that water quality problems in the Occoquan watershed were related directly to point source pollution and to non-point source pollution.

In 1978, a regional high-performance treatment facility (the Upper Occoquan Service Authority, UOSA, formerly known as the Upper Occoquan Sewage Authority) was placed in operation. This facility eliminated 11 major point sources of pollution in the watershed.

Shortly after UOSA began operations, costs and charges for sewage treatment in systems tributary to UOSA increased rather sharply. To date a significant part of those high costs have been associated with large amounts of infiltration and inflow being sent by the user jurisdictions to the regional facility for treatment.

In an attempt to control non-point source pollution the Commonwealth of Virginia adopted an erosion and sediment control law in 1973. In accordance with this law, all of the watershed jurisdictions have adopted erosion and sediment control ordinances. In addition, a number of best management practices (BMP) handbooks were written and published in 1979 by the board. In mid-1980 Fairfax County adopted a BMP ordinance.

In 1978, the board contracted the firm of Camp Dresser & McKee (CDM) to reevaluate certain aspects of the Occoquan Policy. Their report was presented to the board and to the local communities in 1980 and recommended that few changes be made to the policy.

As a result of the CDM report, input from the local communities and the board's staff, an updated version of the Occoquan Policy was drafted.

D. References.

1. A Comprehensive Pollution Abatement Program for the Occoquan Watershed, Metcalf & Eddy Engineers, March 18, 1970.

2. Record of public hearing on March 31, 1971, concerning State Water Control Board's Occoquan Policy.

3. Occoquan Policy Reevaluation, Phase III Report, Camp Dresser & McKee, June 1980.

4. Record of public hearing on November 20, 1980, concerning amendments to the Occoquan Policy.

Statutory Authority

§ 62.1-44.15 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR680-11-05 § 1, eff. December 5, 1990; amended, Volume 36, Issue 25, eff. September 2, 2020.

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