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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 9. Environment
Agency 25. State Water Control Board
Chapter 670. Virginia Water Protection General Permit for Facilities and Activities of Utility and Public Service Companies Regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or the State Corporation Commission and Other Utility Line Activities
1/29/2020

9VAC25-670-100. Vwp General Permit.

VWP GENERAL PERMIT NO. WP2 FOR FACILITIES AND ACTIVITIES OF UTILITIES AND PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANIES REGULATED BY THE FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION OR THE STATE CORPORATION COMMISSION AND OTHER UTILITY LINE ACTIVITIES UNDER THE VIRGINIA WATER PROTECTION PERMIT AND THE VIRGINIA STATE WATER CONTROL LAW

Effective date: August 2, 2016
Expiration date: August 1, 2026

In compliance with § 401 of the Clean Water Act, as amended (33 USC § 1341) and the State Water Control Law and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, the board has determined that there is a reasonable assurance that this VWP general permit, if complied with, will protect instream beneficial uses, will not violate applicable water quality standards, and will not cause or contribute to a significant impairment of surface waters or fish and wildlife resources. In issuing this VWP general permit, the board has not taken into consideration the structural stability of any proposed activities.

The permanent or temporary impact of up to one acre of nontidal wetlands or open water and up to 1,500 linear feet of nontidal stream bed shall be subject to the provisions of the VWP general permit set forth herein; any requirements in coverage granted under this VWP general permit; the Clean Water Act, as amended; and the State Water Control Law and regulations adopted pursuant to it.

Part I. Special Conditions.

A. Authorized activities.

1. The activities authorized by this chapter shall not cause more than the permanent or temporary impacts of up to one acre of nontidal wetlands or open water and up to 1,500 linear feet of nontidal stream bed. Additional permit requirements as stipulated by the board in the coverage letter, if any, shall be enforceable conditions of this permit.

2. Any changes to the authorized permanent impacts to surface waters shall require a notice of planned change in accordance with 9VAC25-670-80. An application or request for modification to coverage or another VWP permit application may be required.

3. Any changes to the authorized temporary impacts to surface waters shall require written notification to and approval from the Department of Environmental Quality in accordance with 9VAC25-670-80 prior to initiating the impacts and restoration to preexisting conditions in accordance with the conditions of this permit.

4. Modification to compensation requirements may be approved at the request of the permittee when a decrease in the amount of authorized surface waters impacts occurs, provided that the adjusted compensation meets the initial compensation goals.

B. Overall conditions.

1. The activities authorized by this VWP general permit shall be executed in a manner so as to minimize adverse impacts on instream beneficial uses as defined in § 62.1-10 (b) of the Code of Virginia.

2. No activity may substantially disrupt the movement of aquatic life indigenous to the water body, including those species which normally migrate through the area, unless the primary purpose of the activity is to impound water. Pipes and culverts placed in streams must be installed to maintain low flow conditions and shall be countersunk at both inlet and outlet ends of the pipe or culvert, unless otherwise specifically approved by the Department of Environmental Quality on a case-by-case basis, and as follows: The requirement to countersink does not apply to extensions or maintenance of existing pipes and culverts that are not countersunk, floodplain pipes and culverts being placed above ordinary high water, pipes and culverts being placed on bedrock, or pipes and culverts required to be placed on slopes 5.0% or greater. Bedrock encountered during construction must be identified and approved in advance of a design change where the countersunk condition cannot be met. Pipes and culverts 24 inches or less in diameter shall be countersunk three inches below the natural stream bed elevations, and pipes and culverts greater than 24 inches shall be countersunk at least six inches below the natural stream bed elevations. Hydraulic capacity shall be determined based on the reduced capacity due to the countersunk position. In all stream crossings appropriate measures shall be implemented to minimize any disruption of aquatic life movement.

3. Wet or uncured concrete shall be prohibited from entry into flowing surface waters, unless the area is contained within a cofferdam and the work is performed in the dry or unless otherwise approved by the Department of Environmental Quality. Excess or waste concrete shall not be disposed of in flowing surface waters or washed into flowing surface waters.

4. All fill material shall be clean and free of contaminants in toxic concentrations or amounts in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.

5. Erosion and sedimentation controls shall be designed in accordance with the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook, Third Edition, 1992. These controls shall be placed prior to clearing and grading and maintained in good working order to minimize impacts to state waters. These controls shall remain in place until the area is stabilized and shall then be removed.

6. Exposed slopes and streambanks shall be stabilized immediately upon completion of work in each permitted area. All denuded areas shall be properly stabilized in accordance with the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook, Third Edition, 1992.

7. All construction, construction access (e.g., cofferdams, sheetpiling, and causeways) and demolition activities associated with the project shall be accomplished in such a manner that minimizes construction or waste materials from entering surface waters to the maximum extent practicable, unless authorized by this VWP general permit.

8. No machinery may enter flowing waters, unless authorized by this VWP general permit or approved prior to entry by the Department of Environmental Quality.

9. Heavy equipment in temporarily impacted wetland areas shall be placed on mats, geotextile fabric, or other suitable material, to minimize soil disturbance to the maximum extent practicable. Equipment and materials shall be removed immediately upon completion of work.

10. All nonimpacted surface waters and compensatory mitigation areas within 50 feet of authorized activities and within the project or right-of-way limits shall be clearly flagged or marked for the life of the construction activity at that location to preclude any unauthorized disturbances to these surface waters and compensatory mitigation areas during construction. The permittee shall notify contractors that no activities are to occur in these marked surface waters.

11. Temporary disturbances to surface waters during construction shall be avoided and minimized to the maximum extent practicable. All temporarily disturbed wetland areas shall be restored to preexisting conditions within 30 days of completing work at each respective temporary impact area, which shall include reestablishing preconstruction elevations and contours with topsoil from the impact area where practicable and planting or seeding with appropriate wetland vegetation according to cover type (i.e., emergent, scrub-shrub, or forested). The permittee shall take all appropriate measures to promote and maintain revegetation of temporarily disturbed wetland areas with wetland vegetation through the second year post-disturbance. All temporarily impacted streams and streambanks shall be restored to their preconstruction elevations and contours with topsoil from the impact area where practicable within 30 days following the construction at that stream segment. Streambanks shall be seeded or planted with the same vegetation cover type originally present, including any necessary, supplemental erosion control grasses. Invasive species identified on the Department of Conservation and Recreation's Virginia Invasive Plant Species List shall not be used to the maximum extent practicable or without prior approval from the Department of Environmental Quality.

12. Materials (including fill, construction debris, and excavated and woody materials) temporarily stockpiled in wetlands shall be placed on mats or geotextile fabric, immediately stabilized to prevent entry into state waters, managed such that leachate does not enter state waters, and completely removed within 30 days following completion of that construction activity. Disturbed areas shall be returned to preconstruction elevations and contours with topsoil from the impact areas where practicable; restored within 30 days following removal of the stockpile; and restored with the same vegetation cover type originally present, including any necessary, supplemental erosion control grasses. Invasive species identified on the Department of Conservation and Recreation's Virginia Invasive Plant Species List shall not be used to the maximum extent practicable or without prior approval from the Department of Environmental Quality.

13. Continuous flow of perennial springs shall be maintained by the installation of spring boxes, french drains, or other similar structures.

14. The permittee shall employ measures to prevent spills of fuels or lubricants into state waters.

15. The permittee shall conduct his activities in accordance with the time-of-year restrictions recommended by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, or other interested and affected agencies, as contained, when applicable, in a Department of Environmental Quality VWP general permit coverage letter, and shall ensure that all contractors are aware of the time-of-year restrictions imposed.

16. Water quality standards shall not be violated as a result of the construction activities.

17. If stream channelization or relocation is required, all work in surface waters shall be done in the dry, unless otherwise authorized by the Department of Environmental Quality, and all flows shall be diverted around the channelization or relocation area until the new channel is stabilized. This work shall be accomplished by leaving a plug at the inlet and outlet ends of the new channel during excavation. Once the new channel has been stabilized, flow shall be routed into the new channel by first removing the downstream plug and then the upstream plug. The rerouted steam flow must be fully established before construction activities in the old stream channel can begin.

C. Road crossings.

1. Access roads and associated bridges, pipes, and culverts shall be constructed to minimize the adverse effects on surface waters to the maximum extent practicable. Access roads constructed above preconstruction elevations and contours in surface waters must be bridged, piped, or culverted to maintain surface flows.

2. Installation of road crossings shall occur in the dry via the implementation of cofferdams, sheetpiling, stream diversions, or similar structures.

D. Utility lines.

1. All utility line work in surface waters shall be performed in a manner that minimizes disturbance, and the area must be returned to its preconstruction elevations and contours with topsoil from the impact area where practicable and restored within 30 days of completing work in the area, unless otherwise authorized by the Department of Environmental Quality. Restoration shall be the seeding or planting of the same vegetation cover type originally present, including any necessary, supplemental erosion control grasses. Invasive species identified on the Department of Conservation and Recreation's Virginia Invasive Plant Species List shall not be used to the maximum extent practicable or without prior approval from the Department of Environmental Quality.

2. Material resulting from trench excavation may be temporarily sidecast into wetlands, not to exceed 90 days, provided the material is not placed in a manner such that it is dispersed by currents or other forces.

3. The trench for a utility line cannot be constructed in a manner that drains wetlands (e.g., backfilling with extensive gravel layers creating a trench drain effect.). For example, utility lines may be backfilled with clay blocks to ensure that the trench does not drain surface waters through which the utility line is installed.

E. Stream modification and stream bank protection.

1. Riprap bank stabilization shall be of an appropriate size and design in accordance with the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook, Third Edition, 1992.

2. Riprap apron for all outfalls shall be designed in accordance with the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook, Third Edition, 1992.

3. For stream bank protection activities, the structure and backfill shall be placed as close to the stream bank as practicable. No material shall be placed in excess of the minimum necessary for erosion protection.

4. All stream bank protection structures shall be located to eliminate or minimize impacts to vegetated wetlands to the maximum extent practicable.

5. Asphalt and materials containing asphalt or other toxic substances shall not be used in the construction of submerged sills or breakwaters.

6. Redistribution of existing stream substrate for the purpose of erosion control is prohibited.

7. No material removed from the stream bottom shall be disposed of in surface waters, unless otherwise authorized by this VWP general permit.

Part II. Construction and Compensation Requirements, Monitoring, and Reporting.

A. Minimum compensation requirements.

1. The permittee shall provide any required compensation for impacts in accordance with the conditions in this VWP general permit, the coverage letter, and the chapter promulgating the general permit. For all compensation that requires a protective mechanism, including preservation of surface waters or buffers, the permittee shall record the approved protective mechanism in the chain of title to the property, or an equivalent instrument for government-owned lands, and proof of recordation shall be submitted to the Department of Environmental Quality prior to commencing impacts in surface waters.

2. Compensation options that may be considered under this VWP general permit shall meet the criteria in 9VAC25-210-116 and 9VAC25-670-70.

3. The permittee-responsible compensation site or sites depicted in the conceptual compensation plan submitted with the application shall constitute the compensation site. A site change may require a modification to coverage.

4. For compensation involving the purchase of mitigation bank credits or the purchase of in-lieu fee program credits, the permittee shall not initiate work in permitted impact areas until documentation of the mitigation bank credit purchase or of the in-lieu fee program credit purchase has been submitted to and received by the Department of Environmental Quality.

5. The final compensation plan shall be submitted to and approved by the board prior to a construction activity in permitted impact areas. The board shall review and provide written comments on the final plan within 30 days of receipt or it shall be deemed approved. The final plan as approved by the board shall be an enforceable requirement of any coverage under this VWP general permit. Deviations from the approved final plan shall be submitted and approved in advance by the board.

a. The final permittee-responsible wetlands compensation plan shall include:

(1) The complete information on all components of the conceptual compensation plan.

(2) A summary of the type and acreage of existing wetland impacts anticipated during the construction of the compensation site and the proposed compensation for these impacts; a site access plan; a monitoring plan, including proposed success criteria, monitoring goals, and the location of photo-monitoring stations, monitoring wells, vegetation sampling points, and reference wetlands or streams, if available; an abatement and control plan for undesirable plant species; an erosion and sedimentation control plan; a construction schedule; and the final protective mechanism for the protection of the compensation site or sites, including all surface waters and buffer areas within its boundaries.

(3) The approved protective mechanism. The protective mechanism shall be recorded in the chain of title to the property, or an equivalent instrument for government-owned lands, and proof of recordation shall be submitted to the Department of Environmental Quality prior to commencing impacts in surface waters.

b. The final permittee-responsible stream compensation plan shall include:

(1) The complete information on all components of the conceptual compensation plan.

(2) An evaluation, discussion, and plan drawing or drawings of existing conditions on the proposed compensation stream, including the identification of functional and physical deficiencies for which the measures are proposed, and summary of geomorphologic measurements (e.g., stream width, entrenchment ratio, width-depth ratio, sinuosity, slope, substrate, etc.); a site access plan; a monitoring plan, including a monitoring and reporting schedule, monitoring design and methodologies for success, proposed success criteria, location of photo-monitoring stations, vegetation sampling points, survey points, bank pins, scour chains, and reference streams; an abatement and control plan for undesirable plant species; an erosion and sedimentation control plan, if appropriate; a construction schedule; a plan-view drawing depicting the pattern and all compensation measures being employed; a profile drawing; cross-sectional drawing or drawings of the proposed compensation stream; and the final protective mechanism for the protection of the compensation site or sites, including all surface waters and buffer areas within its boundaries.

(3) The approved protective mechanism. The protective mechanism shall be recorded in the chain of title to the property, or an equivalent instrument for government-owned lands, and proof of recordation shall be submitted to the Department of Environmental Quality prior to commencing impacts in surface waters.

6. The following criteria shall apply to permittee-responsible wetland or stream compensation:

a. The vegetation used shall be native species common to the area, shall be suitable for growth in local wetland or riparian conditions, and shall be from areas within the same or adjacent U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone or Natural Resources Conservation Service Land Resource Region as that of the project site. Planting of woody plants shall occur when vegetation is normally dormant, unless otherwise approved in the final wetlands or stream compensation plan or plans.

b. All work in permitted impact areas shall cease if compensation site construction has not commenced within 180 days of commencement of project construction, unless otherwise authorized by the board.

c. The Department of Environmental Quality shall be notified in writing prior to the initiation of construction activities at the compensation site.

d. Point sources of stormwater runoff shall be prohibited from entering a wetland compensation site prior to treatment by appropriate best management practices. Appropriate best management practices may include sediment traps, grassed waterways, vegetated filter strips, debris screens, oil and grease separators, or forebays.

e. The success of the compensation shall be based on meeting the success criteria established in the approved final compensation plan.

f. If the wetland or stream compensation area fails to meet the specified success criteria in a particular monitoring year, other than the final monitoring year, the reasons for this failure shall be determined and a corrective action plan shall be submitted to the Department of Environmental Quality for approval with or before that year's monitoring report. The corrective action plan shall contain at a minimum the proposed actions, a schedule for those actions, and a monitoring plan, and shall be implemented by the permittee in accordance with the approved schedule. Should significant changes be necessary to ensure success, the required monitoring cycle shall begin again, with monitoring year one being the year that the changes are complete, as confirmed by the Department of Environmental Quality. If the wetland or stream compensation area fails to meet the specified success criteria by the final monitoring year or if the wetland or stream compensation area has not met the stated restoration goals, reasons for this failure shall be determined and a corrective action plan, including proposed actions, a schedule, and a monitoring plan, shall be submitted with the final year monitoring report for Department of Environmental Quality approval. Corrective action shall be implemented by the permittee in accordance with the approved schedule. Annual monitoring shall be required to continue until two sequential, annual reports indicate that all criteria have been successfully satisfied and the site has met the overall restoration goals (e.g., that corrective actions were successful).

g. The surveyed wetland boundary for the compensation site shall be based on the results of the hydrology, soils, and vegetation monitoring data and shall be shown on the site plan. Calculation of total wetland acreage shall be based on that boundary at the end of the monitoring cycle. Data shall be submitted by December 31 of the final monitoring year.

h. Herbicides or algicides shall not be used in or immediately adjacent to the compensation site or sites without prior authorization by the board. All vegetation removal shall be done by manual means, unless authorized by the Department of Environmental Quality in advance.

B. Impact site construction monitoring.

1. Construction activities authorized by this permit that are within impact areas shall be monitored and documented. The monitoring shall consist of:

a. Preconstruction photographs taken at each impact area prior to initiation of activities within impact areas. Photographs shall remain on the project site and depict the impact area and the nonimpacted surface waters immediately adjacent to and downgradient of each impact area. Each photograph shall be labeled to include the following information: permit number, impact area number, date and time of the photograph, name of the person taking the photograph, photograph orientation, and photograph subject description.

b. Site inspections shall be conducted by the permittee or the permittee's qualified designee once every calendar month during activities within impact areas. Monthly inspections shall be conducted in the following areas: all authorized permanent and temporary impact areas; all avoided surface waters, including wetlands, stream channels, and open water; surface water areas within 50 feet of any land disturbing activity and within the project or right-of-way limits; and all on-site permanent preservation areas required under this permit. Observations shall be recorded on the inspection form provided by the Department of Environmental Quality. The form shall be completed in its entirety for each monthly inspection and shall be kept on site and made available for review by the Department of Environmental Quality staff upon request during normal business hours. Inspections are not required during periods of no activity within impact areas.

2. Monitoring of water quality parameters shall be conducted during permanent relocation of perennial streams through new channels in the manner noted below. The permittee shall report violations of water quality standards to the Department of Environmental Quality in accordance with the procedures in 9VAC25-670-100 Part II E. Corrective measures and additional monitoring may be required if water quality standards are not met. Reporting shall not be required if water quality standards are not violated.

a. A sampling station shall be located upstream and immediately downstream of the relocated channel.

b. Temperature, pH, and dissolved oxygen (D.O.) measurements shall be taken every 30 minutes for at least two hours at each station prior to opening the new channels and immediately before opening new channels.

c. Temperature, pH, and D.O. readings shall be taken after opening the channels and every 30 minutes for at least three hours at each station.

C. Permittee-responsible wetland compensation site monitoring.

1. An as-built ground survey, or an aerial survey provided by a firm specializing in aerial surveys, shall be conducted for the entire compensation site or sites including invert elevations for all water elevation control structures and spot elevations throughout the site or sites. Aerial surveys shall include the variation from actual ground conditions, such as +/- 0.2 feet. Either type of survey shall be certified by a licensed surveyor or by a registered professional engineer to conform to the design plans. The survey shall be submitted within 60 days of completing compensation site construction. Changes or deviations in the as-built survey or aerial survey shall be shown on the survey and explained in writing.

2. Photographs shall be taken at the compensation site or sites from the permanent markers identified in the final compensation plan, and established to ensure that the same locations and view directions at the site or sites are monitored in each monitoring period. These photographs shall be taken after the initial planting and at a time specified in the final compensation plan during every monitoring year.

3. Compensation site monitoring shall begin on the first day of the first complete growing season (monitoring year 1) after wetland compensation site construction activities, including planting, have been completed. Monitoring shall be required for monitoring years 1, 2, 3, and 5, unless otherwise approved by the Department of Environmental Quality. In all cases, if all success criteria have not been met in the fifth monitoring year, then monitoring shall be required for each consecutive year until two annual sequential reports indicate that all criteria have been successfully satisfied.

4. The establishment of wetland hydrology shall be measured during the growing season, with the location and number of monitoring wells, and frequency of monitoring for each site, set forth in the final monitoring plan. Hydrology monitoring well data shall be accompanied by precipitation data, including rainfall amounts, either from on site, or from the closest weather station. Once the wetland hydrology success criteria have been satisfied for a particular monitoring year, weekly monitoring may be discontinued for the remainder of that monitoring year following Department of Environmental Quality approval. After a period of three monitoring years, the permittee may request that hydrology monitoring be discontinued, providing that adequate hydrology has been established and maintained. Hydrology monitoring shall not be discontinued without written approval from the Department of Environmental Quality.

5. The presence of hydric soils or soils under hydric conditions shall be evaluated in accordance with the final compensation plan.

6. The establishment of wetland vegetation shall be in accordance with the final compensation plan. Monitoring shall take place in August, September, or October during the growing season of each monitoring year, unless authorized in the monitoring plan.

7. The presence of undesirable plant species shall be documented.

8. All wetland compensation monitoring reports shall be submitted in accordance with 9VAC25-670-100 Part II E 6.

D. Permittee-responsible stream compensation and monitoring.

1. Riparian buffer restoration activities shall be detailed in the final compensation plan and shall include, as appropriate, the planting of a variety of native species currently growing in the site area, including appropriate seed mixtures and woody species that are bare root, balled, or burlapped. A minimum buffer width of 50 feet, measured from the top of the stream bank at bankfull elevation landward on both sides of the stream, shall be required where practical.

2. The installation of root wads, vanes, and other instream structures, shaping of the stream banks, and channel relocation shall be completed in the dry whenever practicable.

3. Livestock access to the stream and designated riparian buffer shall be limited to the greatest extent practicable.

4. Stream channel restoration activities shall be conducted in the dry or during low flow conditions. When site conditions prohibit access from the streambank or upon prior authorization from the Department of Environmental Quality, heavy equipment may be authorized for use within the stream channel.

5. Photographs shall be taken at the compensation site from the vicinity of the permanent photo-monitoring stations identified in the final compensation plan. The photograph orientation shall remain constant during all monitoring events. At a minimum, photographs shall be taken from the center of the stream, facing downstream, with a sufficient number of photographs to view the entire length of the restoration site. Photographs shall document the completed restoration conditions. Photographs shall be taken prior to site activities, during instream and riparian compensation construction activities, within one week of completion of activities, and during at least one day of each monitoring year to depict restored conditions.

6. An as-built ground survey, or an aerial survey provided by a firm specializing in aerial surveys, shall be conducted for the entire compensation site or sites. Aerial surveys shall include the variation from actual ground conditions, such as +/- 0.2 feet. The survey shall be certified by the licensed surveyor or by a registered, professional engineer to conform to the design plans. The survey shall be submitted within 60 days of completing compensation site construction. Changes or deviations from the final compensation plans in the as-built survey or aerial survey shall be shown on the survey and explained in writing.

7. Compensation site monitoring shall begin on day one of the first complete growing season (monitoring year 1) after stream compensation site construction activities, including planting, have been completed. Monitoring shall be required for monitoring years 1 and 2, unless otherwise approved by the Department of Environmental Quality. In all cases, if all success criteria have not been met in the final monitoring year, then monitoring shall be required for each consecutive year until two annual sequential reports indicate that all criteria have been successfully satisfied.

8. All stream compensation site monitoring reports shall be submitted in accordance with 9VAC25-670-100 Part II E 6.

E. Reporting.

1. Written communications required by this VWP general permit shall be submitted to the appropriate Department of Environmental Quality office. The VWP general permit tracking number shall be included on all correspondence.

2. The Department of Environmental Quality shall be notified in writing prior to the start of construction activities at the first permitted impact area.

3. A construction status update form provided by the Department of Environmental Quality shall be completed and submitted to the Department of Environmental Quality twice per year for the duration of coverage under a VWP general permit. Forms completed in June shall be submitted by or on July 10, and forms completed in December shall be submitted by or on January 10. The form shall include reference to the VWP permit tracking number and one of the following statements for each authorized surface water impact location:

a. Construction activities have not yet started;

b. Construction activities have started;

c. Construction activities have started but are currently inactive; or

d. Construction activities are complete.

4. The Department of Environmental Quality shall be notified in writing within 30 days following the completion of all activities in all authorized impact areas.

5. The Department of Environmental Quality shall be notified in writing prior to the initiation of activities at the permittee-responsible compensation site. The notification shall include a projected schedule of activities and construction completion.

6. All permittee-responsible compensation site monitoring reports shall be submitted annually by December 31, with the exception of the last year, in which case the report shall be submitted at least 60 days prior to the expiration of the general permit, unless otherwise approved by the Department of Environmental Quality.

a. All wetland compensation site monitoring reports shall include, as applicable, the following:

(1) General description of the site including a site location map identifying photo-monitoring stations, vegetative and soil monitoring stations, monitoring wells, and wetland zones.

(2) Summary of activities completed during the monitoring year, including alterations or maintenance conducted at the site.

(3) Description of monitoring methods.

(4) Analysis of all hydrology information, including monitoring well data, precipitation data, and gauging data from streams or other open water areas, as set forth in the final compensation plan.

(5) Evaluation of hydric soils or soils under hydric conditions, as appropriate.

(6) Analysis of all vegetative community information, including woody and herbaceous species, both planted and volunteers, as set forth in the final compensation plan.

(7) Photographs labeled with the permit number, the name of the compensation site, the photo-monitoring station number, the photograph orientation, the date and time of the photograph, the name of the person taking the photograph, and a brief description of the photograph subject. This information shall be provided as a separate attachment to each photograph, if necessary. Photographs taken after the initial planting shall be included in the first monitoring report after planting is complete.

(8) Discussion of wildlife or signs of wildlife observed at the compensation site.

(9) Comparison of site conditions from the previous monitoring year and reference site.

(10) Discussion of corrective measures or maintenance activities to control undesirable species, to repair damaged water control devices, or to replace damaged planted vegetation.

(11) Corrective action plan that includes proposed actions, a schedule, and monitoring plan.

b. All stream compensation site monitoring reports shall include, as applicable, the following:

(1) General description of the site including a site location map identifying photo-monitoring stations and monitoring stations.

(2) Summary of activities completed during the monitoring year, including alterations or maintenance conducted at the site.

(3) Description of monitoring methods.

(4) Evaluation and discussion of the monitoring results in relation to the success criteria and overall goals of compensation.

(5) Photographs shall be labeled with the permit number, the name of the compensation site, the photo-monitoring station number, the photograph orientation, the date and time of the photograph, the name of the person taking the photograph, and a brief description of the photograph subject. Photographs taken prior to compensation site construction activities, during instream and riparian restoration activities, and within one week of completion of activities shall be included in the first monitoring report.

(6) Discussion of alterations, maintenance, or major storm events resulting in significant change in stream profile or cross section, and corrective actions conducted at the stream compensation site.

(7) Documentation of undesirable plant species and summary of abatement and control measures.

(8) Summary of wildlife or signs of wildlife observed at the compensation site.

(9) Comparison of site conditions from the previous monitoring year and reference site, and as-built survey, if applicable.

(10) Corrective action plan that includes proposed actions, a schedule and monitoring plan.

(11) Additional submittals that were approved by the Department of Environmental Quality in the final compensation plan.

7. The permittee shall notify the Department of Environmental Quality in writing when unusual or potentially complex conditions are encountered which require debris removal or involve potentially toxic substance. Measures to remove the obstruction, material, or toxic substance or to change the location of a structure are prohibited until approved by the Department of Environmental Quality.

8. The permittee shall report fish kills or spills of oil or fuel immediately upon discovery. If spills or fish kills occur between the hours of 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, the appropriate Department of Environmental Quality regional office shall be notified; otherwise, the Department of Emergency Management shall be notified at 1-800-468-8892.

9. Violations of state water quality standards shall be reported to the appropriate Department of Environmental Quality office no later than the end of the business day following discovery.

10. The permittee shall notify the Department of Environmental Quality no later than the end of the third business day following the discovery of additional impacts to surface waters including wetlands, stream channels, and open water that are not authorized by the Department of Environmental Quality or to any required preservation areas. The notification shall include photographs, estimated acreage or linear footage of impacts, and a description of the impacts.

11. Submittals required by this VWP general permit shall contain the following signed certification statement:

"I certify under penalty of law that this document and all attachments were prepared under my direction or supervision in accordance with a system designed to assure that qualified personnel properly gather and evaluate the information submitted. Based on my inquiry of the person or persons who manage the system, or those persons directly responsible for gathering the information, the information submitted is, to the best of my knowledge and belief, true, accurate, and complete. I am aware that there are significant penalties for submitting false information, including the possibility of fine and imprisonment for knowing violation."

Part III. Conditions Applicable to All VWP General Permits.

A. Duty to comply. The permittee shall comply with all conditions, limitations, and other requirements of the VWP general permit; any requirements in coverage granted under this VWP general permit; the Clean Water Act, as amended; and the State Water Control Law and regulations adopted pursuant to it. Any VWP general permit violation or noncompliance is a violation of the Clean Water Act and State Water Control Law and is grounds for (i) enforcement action, (ii) VWP general permit coverage termination for cause, (iii) VWP general permit coverage revocation, (iv) denial of application for coverage, or (v) denial of an application for a modification to VWP general permit coverage. Nothing in this VWP general permit shall be construed to relieve the permittee of the duty to comply with all applicable federal and state statutes, regulations, and toxic standards and prohibitions.

B. Duty to mitigate. The permittee shall take all reasonable steps to minimize or prevent impacts in violation of the VWP general permit which may have a reasonable likelihood of adversely affecting human health or the environment.

C. Reopener. This VWP general permit may be reopened to modify its conditions when the circumstances on which the previous VWP general permit was based have materially and substantially changed, or special studies conducted by the board or the permittee show material and substantial change since the time the VWP general permit was issued and thereby constitute cause for revoking and reissuing the VWP general permit.

D. Compliance with state and federal law. Compliance with this VWP general permit constitutes compliance with the VWP permit requirements of the State Water Control Law. Nothing in this VWP general permit shall be construed to preclude the institution of any legal action under or relieve the permittee from any responsibilities, liabilities, or other penalties established pursuant to any other state law or regulation or under the authority preserved by § 510 of the Clean Water Act.

E. Property rights. The issuance of this VWP general permit does not convey property rights in either real or personal property or any exclusive privileges, nor does it authorize injury to private property, any invasion of personal property rights, or any infringement of federal, state, or local laws or regulations.

F. Severability. The provisions of this VWP general permit are severable.

G. Inspection and entry. Upon presentation of credentials, the permittee shall allow the board or any duly authorized agent of the board, at reasonable times and under reasonable circumstances, to enter upon the permittee's property, public or private, and have access to inspect and copy any records that must be kept as part of the VWP general permit conditions; to inspect any facilities, operations, or practices (including monitoring and control equipment) regulated or required under the VWP general permit; and to sample or monitor any substance, parameter, or activity for the purpose of assuring compliance with the conditions of the VWP general permit or as otherwise authorized by law. For the purpose of this section, the time for inspection shall be deemed reasonable during regular business hours. Nothing contained herein shall make an inspection time unreasonable during an emergency.

H. Transferability of VWP general permit coverage. VWP general permit coverage may be transferred to another permittee when all of the criteria listed in this subsection are met. On the date of the VWP general permit coverage transfer, the transferred VWP general permit coverage shall be as fully effective as if it had been granted directly to the new permittee.

1. The current permittee notifies the board of the proposed transfer of the general permit coverage and provides a written agreement between the current and new permittees containing a specific date of transfer of VWP general permit responsibility, coverage, and liability to the new permittee, or that the current permittee will retain such responsibility, coverage, or liability, including liability for compliance with the requirements of enforcement activities related to the authorized activity.

2. The board does not within the 15 days notify the current and new permittees of its intent to modify or revoke and reissue the VWP general permit.

I. Notice of planned change. VWP general permit coverage may be modified subsequent to issuance in accordance with 9VAC25-670-80.

J. VWP general permit coverage termination for cause. VWP general permit coverage is subject to termination for cause by the board after public notice and opportunity for a hearing pursuant to § 62.1-44.15:02 of the Code of Virginia. Reasons for termination for cause are as follows:

1. Noncompliance by the permittee with any provision of this chapter, any condition of the VWP general permit, or any requirement in general permit coverage;

2. The permittee's failure in the application or during the process of granting VWP general permit coverage to disclose fully all relevant facts or the permittee's misrepresentation of any relevant facts at any time;

3. The permittee's violation of a special or judicial order;

4. A determination by the board that the authorized activity endangers human health or the environment and can be regulated to acceptable levels by a modification to the VWP general permit coverage or a termination;

5. A change in any condition that requires either a temporary or permanent reduction or elimination of any activity controlled by the VWP general permit; or

6. A determination that the authorized activity has ceased and that the compensation for unavoidable adverse impacts has been successfully completed.

K. The board may terminate VWP general permit coverage without cause when the permittee is no longer a legal entity due to death or dissolution or when a company is no longer authorized to conduct business in the Commonwealth. The termination shall be effective 30 days after notice of the proposed termination is sent to the last known address of the permittee or registered agent, unless the permittee objects within that time. If the permittee does object during that period, the board shall follow the applicable procedures for termination under §§ 62.1-44.15:02 and 62.1-44.15:25 of the Code of Virginia.

L. VWP general permit coverage termination by consent. The permittee shall submit a request for termination by consent within 30 days of completing or canceling all authorized activities requiring notification under 9VAC25-670-50 A and all compensatory mitigation requirements. When submitted for project completion, the request for termination by consent shall constitute a notice of project completion in accordance with 9VAC25-210-130 F. The director may accept this termination of coverage on behalf of the board. The permittee shall submit the following information:

1. Name, mailing address, and telephone number;

2. Name and location of the activity;

3. The VWP general permit tracking number; and

4. One of the following certifications:

a. For project completion:

"I certify under penalty of law that all activities and any required compensatory mitigation authorized by the VWP general permit and general permit coverage have been completed. I understand that by submitting this notice of termination I am no longer authorized to perform activities in surface waters in accordance with the VWP general permit and general permit coverage, and that performing activities in surface waters is unlawful where the activity is not authorized by the VWP permit or coverage, unless otherwise excluded from obtaining coverage. I also understand that the submittal of this notice does not release me from liability for any violations of the VWP general permit or coverage."

b. For project cancellation:

"I certify under penalty of law that the activities and any required compensatory mitigation authorized by the VWP general permit and general permit coverage will not occur. I understand that by submitting this notice of termination I am no longer authorized to perform activities in surface waters in accordance with the VWP general permit and general permit coverage, and that performing activities in surface waters is unlawful where the activity is not authorized by the VWP permit or coverage, unless otherwise excluded from obtaining coverage. I also understand that the submittal of this notice does not release me from liability for any violations of the VWP general permit or coverage, nor does it allow me to resume the authorized activities without reapplication and coverage."

c. For events beyond permittee control, the permittee shall provide a detailed explanation of the events, to be approved by the Department of Environmental Quality, and the following certification statement:

"I certify under penalty of law that the activities or the required compensatory mitigation authorized by the VWP general permit and general permit coverage have changed as the result of events beyond my control (see attached). I understand that by submitting this notice of termination I am no longer authorized to perform activities in surface waters in accordance with the VWP general permit and general permit coverage, and that performing activities in surface waters is unlawful where the activity is not authorized by the VWP permit or coverage, unless otherwise excluded from obtaining coverage. I also understand that the submittal of this notice does not release me from liability for any violations of the VWP general permit or coverage, nor does it allow me to resume the authorized activities without reapplication and coverage."

M. Civil and criminal liability. Nothing in this VWP general permit shall be construed to relieve the permittee from civil and criminal penalties for noncompliance.

N. Oil and hazardous substance liability. Nothing in this VWP general permit shall be construed to preclude the institution of legal action or relieve the permittee from any responsibilities, liabilities, or penalties to which the permittee is or may be subject under § 311 of the Clean Water Act or §§ 62.1-44.34:14 through 62.1-44.34:23 of the State Water Control Law.

O. Duty to cease or confine activity. It shall not be a defense for a permittee in an enforcement action that it would have been necessary to halt or reduce the activity for which VWP general permit coverage has been granted in order to maintain compliance with the conditions of the VWP general permit or coverage.

P. Duty to provide information.

1. The permittee shall furnish to the board any information that the board may request to determine whether cause exists for modifying, revoking, or terminating VWP permit coverage or to determine compliance with the VWP general permit or general permit coverage. The permittee shall also furnish to the board, upon request, copies of records required to be kept by the permittee.

2. Plans, maps, conceptual reports, and other relevant information shall be submitted as required by the board prior to commencing construction.

Q. Monitoring and records requirements.

1. Monitoring of parameters, other than pollutants, shall be conducted according to approved analytical methods as specified in the VWP general permit. Analysis of pollutants will be conducted according to 40 CFR Part 136 (2000), Guidelines Establishing Test Procedures for the Analysis of Pollutants.

2. Samples and measurements taken for the purpose of monitoring shall be representative of the monitored activity.

3. The permittee shall retain records of all monitoring information, including all calibration and maintenance records and all original strip chart or electronic recordings for continuous monitoring instrumentation, copies of all reports required by the VWP general permit, and records of all data used to complete the application for coverage under the VWP general permit, for a period of at least three years from the date of general permit expiration. This period may be extended by request of the board at any time.

4. Records of monitoring information shall include, as appropriate:

a. The date, exact place, and time of sampling or measurements;

b. The name of the individuals who performed the sampling or measurements;

c. The date and time the analyses were performed;

d. The name of the individuals who performed the analyses;

e. The analytical techniques or methods supporting the information such as observations, readings, calculations, and bench data used;

f. The results of such analyses; and

g. Chain of custody documentation.

R. Unauthorized discharge of pollutants. Except in compliance with this VWP general permit, it shall be unlawful for the permittee to:

1. Discharge into state waters sewage, industrial wastes, other wastes, or any noxious or deleterious substances;

2. Excavate in a wetland;

3. Otherwise alter the physical, chemical, or biological properties of state waters and make them detrimental to the public health, to animal or aquatic life, or to the uses of such waters for domestic or industrial consumption, for recreation, or for other uses; or

4. On and after October 1, 2001, conduct the following activities in a wetland:

a. New activities to cause draining that significantly alters or degrades existing wetland acreage or functions;

b. Filling or dumping;

c. Permanent flooding or impounding; or

d. New activities that cause significant alteration or degradation of existing wetland acreage or functions.

S. Duty to reapply. Any permittee desiring to continue a previously authorized activity after the expiration date of the VWP general permit shall comply with the provisions in 9VAC25-670-27.

Statutory Authority

§ 62.1-44.15 of the Code of Virginia; § 401 of the Clean Water Act (33 USC § 1251 et seq.).

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 17, Issue 22, eff. October 1, 2001; amended, Virginia Register Volume 21, Issue 08, eff. January 26, 2005; Volume 22, Issue 21, eff. August 1, 2006; Volume 24, Issue 09, eff. February 6, 2008; Volume 32, Issue 21, eff. August 2, 2016.

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