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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 9. Environment
Agency 25. State Water Control Board
Chapter 610. Groundwater Withdrawal Regulations

9VAC25-610-10. Definitions.

Unless a different meaning is required by the context, the following terms as used in this chapter shall have the following meanings:

"Act" means the Ground Water Management Act of 1992, Chapter 25 (§ 62.1-254 et seq.) of Title 62.1 of the Code of Virginia.

"Adverse impact" means reductions in groundwater levels or changes in groundwater quality that limit the ability of any existing groundwater user lawfully withdrawing or authorized to withdraw groundwater at the time of permit or special exception issuance to continue to withdraw the quantity and quality of groundwater required by the existing use. Existing groundwater users include all those persons who have been granted a groundwater withdrawal permit subject to this chapter and all other persons who are excluded from permit requirements by 9VAC25-610-50.

"Agricultural use" means utilizing groundwater for the purpose of agricultural, silvicultural, horticultural, or aquacultural operations. Agricultural use includes withdrawals for turf farm operations, but does not include withdrawals for landscaping activities or turf installment and maintenance associated with landscaping activities.

"Applicant" means a person filing an application to initiate or enlarge a groundwater withdrawal in a groundwater management area.

"Area of impact" means the areal extent of each aquifer where more than one foot of drawdown is predicted to occur due to a proposed withdrawal.

"Beneficial use" includes domestic (including public water supply), agricultural, commercial, and industrial uses.

"Board" means the 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.

"Consumptive use" means the withdrawal of groundwater, without recycle of said waters to their source of origin.

"Controversial permit" means a water permitting action for which a public hearing has been granted pursuant to 9VAC25-610-270 and 9VAC25-610-275.

"Department" means the Department of Environmental Quality.

"Director" means the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality.

"Draft permit" means a prepared document indicating the department's tentative decision relative to a permit action.

"General permit" means a groundwater withdrawal permit authorizing the withdrawal of groundwater in a groundwater management area under specified conditions, including the size of the withdrawal or the aquifer or confining unit from which the withdrawal is to be made.

"Geophysical investigation" means any hydrogeologic evaluation to define the hydrogeologic framework of an area or determine the hydrogeologic properties of any aquifer or confining unit to the extent that withdrawals associated with such investigations do not result in unmitigated adverse impacts to existing groundwater users. Geophysical investigations include pump tests and aquifer tests.

"Groundwater" means any water, except capillary moisture, beneath the land surface in the zone of saturation or beneath the bed of any stream, lake, reservoir, or other body of surface water wholly or partially within the boundaries of this Commonwealth, whatever the subsurface geologic structure in which such water stands, flows, percolates, or otherwise occurs.

"Human consumption" means the use of water to support human survival and health, including drinking, bathing, showering, cooking, dishwashing, and maintaining hygiene.

"Instream beneficial uses" means uses including the protection of fish and wildlife resources and habitat, maintenance of waste assimilation, recreation, navigation, and cultural and aesthetic values. The preservation of instream flows for purposes of the protection of navigation, maintenance of waste assimilation capacity, the protection of fish and wildlife resources and habitat, recreation, and cultural and aesthetic values is an instream beneficial use of Virginia's waters.

"Mitigate" means to take actions necessary to assure that all existing groundwater users at the time of issuance of a permit or special exception who experience adverse impacts continue to have access to the amount and quality of groundwater needed for existing uses.

"Permit" means a groundwater withdrawal permit issued under the Ground Water Management Act of 1992 permitting the withdrawal of a specified quantity of groundwater under specified conditions in a groundwater management area.

"Permittee" means a person that currently has an effective groundwater withdrawal permit issued under the Ground Water Act of 1992.

"Person" means any and all persons, including individuals, firms, partnerships, associations, public or private institutions, municipalities or political subdivisions, governmental agencies, or private or public corporations organized under the laws of this Commonwealth or any other state or country.

"Practicable" means available and capable of being done after taking into consideration cost, existing technology, and logistics in light of overall project purposes.

"Private well" means, as defined in § 32.1-176.3 of the Code of Virginia, any water well constructed for a person on land that is owned or leased by that person and is usually intended for household, groundwater source heat pump, agricultural use, industrial use, or other nonpublic water well.

"Public hearing" means a fact finding proceeding held to afford interested persons an opportunity to submit factual data, views, and comments to the department.

"Salt water intrusion" means the encroachment of saline waters in any aquifer that creates adverse impacts to existing groundwater users or is counter to the public interest.

"Special exception" means a document issued by the department for withdrawal of groundwater in unusual situations where requiring the user to obtain a groundwater withdrawal permit would be contrary to the purpose of the Ground Water Management Act of 1992. Special exceptions allow the withdrawal of a specified quantity of groundwater under specified conditions in a groundwater management area.

"Supplemental drought relief well" means a well permitted to withdraw a specified amount of groundwater to meet human consumption needs during declared drought conditions after mandatory water use restrictions have been implemented.

"Surface water" means all state waters that are not groundwater as groundwater is defined in § 62.1-255 of the Code of Virginia.

"Surface water and groundwater conjunctive use system" means an integrated water supply system wherein surface water is the primary source and groundwater is a supplemental source that is used to augment the surface water source when the surface water source is not able to produce the amount of water necessary to support the annual water demands of the system.

"Surficial aquifer" means the upper surface of a zone of saturation, where the body of groundwater is not confined by an overlying impermeable zone.

"Water well systems provider" means any individual who is certified by the Board for Contractors in accordance with § 54.1-1128 et seq. of the Code of Virginia and who is engaged in drilling, installation, maintenance, or repair of water wells, water well pumps, ground source heat exchangers, and other equipment associated with the construction, removal, or repair of water wells, water well systems, and ground source heat pump exchangers to the point of connection to the ground source heat pump.

"Well" means any artificial opening or artificially altered natural opening, however made, by which groundwater is sought or through which groundwater flows under natural pressure or is intended to be withdrawn.

"Withdrawal system" means (i) one or more wells or withdrawal points located on the same or contiguous properties under common ownership for which the withdrawal is applied to the same beneficial use or (ii) two or more connected wells or withdrawal points that are under common ownership but are not necessarily located on contiguous properties.

Statutory Authority

§§ 62.1-256 and 62.1-262.1 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR680-13-07 § 1.1, eff. September 22, 1993; amended, Virginia Register Volume 15, Issue 5, eff. January 1, 1999; Volume 30, Issue 5, eff. January 1, 2014; Volume 32, Issue 25, eff. September 22, 2016; Volume 35, Issue 4, eff. November 14, 2018; Volume 39, Issue 7, eff. December 21, 2022.

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