Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 9. Environment
Agency 25. State Water Control Board
Chapter 690. Virginia Water Protection General Permit for Impacts from Development and Certain Mining Activities

9VAC25-690-30. Authorization to impact surface waters.

A. Any person granted coverage under the VWP general permit effective August 2, 2016, may permanently or temporarily impact up to two acres of nontidal wetlands or open water and up to 1,500 linear feet of nontidal stream bed for general development and certain mining activities, provided that:

1. The applicant submits notification as required in 9VAC25-690-50 and 9VAC25-690-60.

2. The applicant remits any required permit application fee.

3. The applicant receives general permit coverage from the Department of Environmental Quality and complies with the limitations and other requirements of the VWP general permit; the general permit coverage letter; the Clean Water Act, as amended; and the State Water Control Law and attendant regulations.

4. The applicant has not been required to obtain a VWP individual permit under 9VAC25-210 for the proposed project impacts. The applicant, at his discretion, may seek a VWP individual permit, or coverage under another applicable VWP general permit, in lieu of coverage under this VWP general permit.

5. Impacts, both temporary and permanent, result from a single and complete project including all attendant features.

a. Where a road segment (e.g., the shortest segment of a road with independent utility that is part of a larger project) has multiple crossings of surface waters (several single and complete projects), the department may, at its discretion, require a VWP individual permit.

b. For the purposes of this chapter, when an interchange has multiple crossings of surface waters, the entire interchange shall be considered the single and complete project.

6. The stream impact criterion applies to all components of the project, including structures and stream channel manipulations.

7. Dredging does not exceed 5,000 cubic yards.

8. When required, compensation for unavoidable impacts is provided in accordance with § 62.1-44.15:23 of the Code of Virginia, 9VAC25-690-70, and 9VAC25-210-116.

B. Activities that may be granted coverage under this VWP general permit include the following:

1. Residential, commercial, institutional. The construction or expansion of building foundations, building pads, and attendant features for residential, commercial, and institutional development activities.

a. Residential developments include both single and multiple units.

b. Commercial developments include retail stores, industrial facilities, restaurants, business parks, office buildings, and shopping centers.

c. Institutional developments include schools, fire stations, government office buildings, judicial buildings, public works buildings, libraries, hospitals, and places of worship.

d. Attendant features include roads, parking lots, garages, yards, utility lines, stormwater management facilities, and recreation facilities (such as playgrounds, playing fields, and golf courses). Attendant features must be necessary for the use and maintenance of the structures.

2. Recreational facilities. The construction or expansion of recreational facilities and small support facilities.

a. Recreational facilities include hiking trails, bike paths, horse paths, nature centers, and campgrounds (but not trailer parks). Boat ramps (concrete or open-pile timber), boathouses, covered boat lifts, mooring piles and dolphins, fender piles, camels (wooden floats serving as fenders alongside piers), and open-pile piers (including floating piers, travel-lift piers, etc.) associated with recreational facilities are also included.

b. Recreational facilities do not include as a primary function the use of motor vehicles, buildings, or impervious surfaces.

c. Golf courses and ski area expansions may qualify as recreational facilities provided the construction of the proposed facility does not result in a substantial deviation from the natural contours and the facility is designed to minimize adverse effects on state waters and riparian areas. Measures that may be used to minimize adverse effects on waters and riparian areas include the implementation of integrated pest management plans, adequate stormwater management, vegetated buffers, and fertilizer management plans.

d. Small support facilities are authorized provided they are directly related to the recreational activity. Small support facilities include maintenance storage buildings and stables.

e. The following do not qualify as recreational facilities: hotels, restaurants, playing fields (e.g., baseball, soccer, or football fields), basketball and tennis courts, racetracks, stadiums, arenas, or new ski areas.

f. The recreational facility must have an adequate water quality management plan, such as a stormwater management plan, to ensure that the recreational facility results in no substantial adverse effects to water quality.

3. Stormwater management facilities. The construction, maintenance, and excavation of stormwater management facilities; the installation and maintenance of water control structures, outfall structures, and emergency spillways; and the maintenance dredging of existing stormwater management facilities.

a. Stormwater management facilities include stormwater ponds and facilities, detention basins, retention basins, traps, and other facilities designed to reduce pollutants in stormwater runoff.

b. The stormwater management facility must:

(1) To the maximum extent practicable, be designed to maintain preconstruction downstream flow conditions (e.g., location, capacity, and flow rates).

(2) Not permanently restrict or impede the passage of normal or expected high flows, unless the primary purpose of the facility is to impound waters.

(3) Withstand expected high flows.

(4) To the maximum extent practicable, provide for retaining excess flows from the site, provide for maintaining surface flow rates from the site similar to preconstruction conditions, and not increase water flows from the project site, relocate water, or redirect flow beyond preconstruction conditions.

(5) To the maximum extent practicable, reduce adverse effects such as flooding or erosion downstream and upstream of the project site, unless the facility is part of a larger system designed to manage water flows.

(6) Be designed using best management practices (BMPs) and watershed protection techniques. Examples of such BMPs are described in the Virginia Stormwater Management Handbook and include forebays, vegetated buffers, bioengineering methods, and siting considerations to minimize adverse effects to aquatic resources.

c. Maintenance excavation shall be in accordance with the original facility maintenance plan, or when unavailable, an alternative plan approved by the Department of Environmental Quality, and shall not exceed to the maximum extent practicable, the character, scope, or size detailed in the original design of the facility.

4. Mining facilities. The construction or expansion of mining facilities and attendant features for a single and complete project. This general permit may not be used to authorize impacts from in-stream mining activities or operations as defined in 9VAC25-690-10.

a. Mining facilities include activities directly associated with aggregate mining (e.g., sand, gravel, and crushed or broken stone); hard rock/mineral mining (e.g., metalliferous ores); and surface coal, natural gas, and coalbed methane gas mining, as authorized by the Virginia Department of Energy.

b. Attendant features are authorized provided they are directly related to the mining facility, and include access road construction, parking lots, offices, maintenance shops, garages, and stormwater management facilities.

c. Both direct impacts (e.g., footprints of all fill areas, road crossings, sediment ponds, and stormwater management facilities; mining through state waters; stockpile of overburden, and excavation) and indirect impacts (e.g., diversion of surface water and reach of state waters affected by sediment pond pool and sediment transport) shall be considered when granting coverage under this general permit.

C. The board waives the requirement for coverage under a VWP general permit for activities that occur in an isolated wetland of minimal ecological value, as defined in 9VAC25-210-10. Upon request by the department, any person claiming this waiver shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the department that he qualifies for the waiver.

D. Coverage under VWP general permit does not relieve the permittee of the responsibility to comply with any other applicable federal, state, or local statute, ordinance, or regulation.

E. Coverage under a nationwide or regional permit promulgated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and for which the department has issued § 401 certification in accordance with 9VAC25-210-130 H as of August 2, 2016, shall constitute coverage under this VWP general permit unless (i) a state program general permit (SPGP) is required and granted for the activity or impact; or (ii) coverage under a VWP general permit is not allowed pursuant to subdivision D 2 of § 62.1-44.15:21 of the State Water Control Law.

F. Coverage under a permit issued by the Department of Energy under the Virginia Coal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, Chapter 10 (§ 45.2-1000 et seq.) of Title 45.2 of the Code of Virginia, where such permit authorizes activities that may be permitted by this chapter and contains a mitigation plan for the impacts from the mining activities, shall also constitute coverage under this VWP general permit.

G. When the department determines on a case-by-case basis that concerns for water quality and the aquatic environment so indicate, the department may require a VWP individual permit in accordance with 9VAC25-210-130 B rather than granting coverage under this VWP general permit.

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 Virginia Register Volume 17, Issue 21, eff. October 1, 2001; amended, Virginia Register Volume 21, Issue 8, eff. January 26, 2005; Volume 22, Issue 21, eff. August 1, 2006; Volume 32, Issue 21, eff. August 2, 2016; Volume 35, Issue 4, eff. November 14, 2018; Volume 38, Issue 1, eff. September 29, 2021; Volume 38, Issue 3, eff. October 27, 2021; Volume 39, Issue 4, eff. November 9, 2022.

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