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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 9. Environment
Agency 25. State Water Control Board
Chapter 800. Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) General Permit Regulation for Discharges Resulting from the Application of Pesticides to Surface Waters

9VAC25-800-10. Definitions.

The words and terms used in this chapter shall have the same meanings as given in the State Water Control Law (§ 62.1-44.2 et seq. of the Code of Virginia) and the VPDES Permit Regulation (9VAC25-31), unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, except that for the purposes of this chapter:

"Action threshold" means the point at which pest populations or environmental conditions necessitate that pest control action be taken based on economic, human health, aesthetic, or other effects. An action threshold may be based on current or past environmental factors that are or have been demonstrated to be conducive to pest emergence or growth, as well as past or current pest presence. Action thresholds are those conditions that indicate both the need for control actions and the proper timing of such actions.

"Active ingredient" means any substance (or group of structurally similar substances if specified by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that will prevent, destroy, repel, or mitigate any pest, or that functions as a plant regulator, desiccant, or defoliant within the meaning of § 2(a) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) (40 CFR 152.3). Active ingredient also means a pesticidal substance that is intended to be produced and used in a living plant, or in the produce thereof, and the genetic material necessary for the production of such a pesticidal substance (40 CFR 174.3).

"Adverse incident" means an unusual or unexpected incident that the operator observes upon inspection or of which otherwise becomes aware, in which there is evidence that:

1. A person or nontarget organism has likely been exposed to a pesticide residue; and

2. The person or nontarget organism suffered a toxic or adverse effect.

The phrase "toxic or adverse effects" includes effects that occur within surface waters on nontarget plants, fish, or wildlife that are unusual or unexpected (e.g., effects are to organisms not described on the pesticide product labels or not expected to be present) as a result of exposure to a pesticide residue and may include:

1. Distressed or dead juvenile and small fishes;

2. Washed up or floating fish;

3. Fish swimming abnormally or erratically;

4. Fish lying lethargically at water surface or in shallow water;

5. Fish that are listless or nonresponsive to disturbance;

6. Stunting, wilting, or desiccation of nontarget submerged or emergent aquatic plants; and

7. Other dead or visibly distressed nontarget aquatic or semi-aquatic organisms (amphibians, turtles, invertebrates, etc.).

The phrase "toxic or adverse effects" also includes any adverse effects to humans (e.g., skin rashes) or domesticated animals (e.g., vomiting, lethargy) that occur either from direct contact with or as a secondary effect from a discharge (e.g., sickness from consumption of plants or animals containing pesticides) to surface waters that are temporally and spatially related to exposure to a pesticide residue.

"Biological control" means organisms that can be introduced to sites, such as herbivores, predators, parasites, and hyperparasites.

"Biological pesticides" or "biopesticides" includes microbial pesticides, biochemical pesticides, and plant-incorporated protectants (PIP).

1. "Microbial pesticide" means a microbial agent intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest, or intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliant, or desiccant, that:

a. Is a eukaryotic microorganism, including protozoa, algae, and fungi;

b. Is a prokaryotic microorganism, including Eubacteria and Archaebacteria; or

c. Is a parasitically replicating microscopic element, including viruses.

2. "Biochemical pesticide" means a pesticide that:

a. Is a naturally occurring substance or structurally similar and functionally identical to a naturally occurring substance;

b. Has a history of exposure to humans and the environment demonstrating minimal toxicity, or in the case of a synthetically derived biochemical pesticide, is equivalent to a naturally occurring substance that has such a history; and

c. Has a nontoxic mode of action to the target pests.

3. "Plant-incorporated protectant" means a pesticidal substance that is intended to be produced and used in a living plant, or in the produce thereof, and the genetic material necessary for production of such a pesticidal substance. It also includes any inert ingredient contained in the plant or produce thereof.

"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.

"Chemical pesticides" means all pesticides not otherwise classified as biological pesticides.

"Cultural methods" means manipulation of the habitat to increase pest mortality by making the habitat less suitable to the pest.

"Declared pest emergency situation" means an event defined by a public declaration by a federal agency, state, or local government of a pest problem determined to require control through application of a pesticide beginning less than 10 days after identification of the need for pest control. This public declaration may be based on:

1. Significant risk to human health;

2. Significant economic loss; or

3. Significant risk to:

a. Endangered species;

b. Threatened species;

c. Beneficial organisms; or

d. The environment.

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

"Discharge of a pollutant" means the addition of any "pollutant" or combination of pollutants to surface waters from any point source, or the addition of any pollutant or combination of pollutants to the water of the contiguous zone or the ocean from any point source.

"FIFRA" means the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (7 USC § 136 et seq.) as amended.

"Impaired water" or "water quality impaired water" or "water quality limited segment" means any stream segment where the water quality does not or will not meet applicable water quality standards, even after the application of technology-based effluent limitations required by §§ 301(b) and 306 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) (33 USC § 1251 et seq. as of 1987). Impaired waters include both impaired waters with approved or established TMDLs, and impaired waters for which a TMDL has not yet been approved or established.

"Inert ingredient" means any substance (or group of structurally similar substances if designated by EPA), other than an active ingredient, that is intentionally included in a pesticide product. Inert ingredient also means any substance, such as a selectable marker, other than the active ingredient, where the substance is used to confirm or ensure the presence of the active ingredient, and includes the genetic material necessary for the production of the substance, provided that genetic material is intentionally introduced into a living plant in addition to the active ingredient.

"Integrated pest management" or "IPM" means an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM uses current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.

"Label" means the written, printed, or graphic matter on, or attached to, the pesticide or device, or the immediate container thereof, and the outside container or wrapper of the retail package, if any, of the pesticide or device.

"Labeling" means all labels and other written, printed, or graphic matter:

1. Upon the pesticide or device or any of its containers or wrappers;

2. Accompanying the pesticide or device at any time; or

3. To which reference is made on the label or in literature accompanying the pesticide or device, except when accurate, nonmisleading reference is made to current official publications of the agricultural experiment station, the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the State Board of Health, or similar federal institutions or other official agencies of the Commonwealth or other states when such states are authorized by law to conduct research in the field of pesticides.

"Mechanical or physical methods" means mechanical tools or physical alterations of the environment for pest prevention or removal.

"Minimize" means to reduce or eliminate pesticide discharges to surface waters through the use of pest management measures to the extent technologically available and economically practicable and achievable.

"Nontarget organisms" means the plant and animal hosts of the target species, the natural enemies of the target species living in the community, and other plants and animals, including vertebrates, living in or near the community that are not the target of the pesticide.

"Operator" means any person involved in the application of a pesticide that results in a discharge to surface waters that meets either or both of the following two criteria:

1. The person who has control over the financing for or the decision to perform pesticide applications that result in discharges, including the ability to modify those decisions; or

2. The person who performs the application of a pesticide or who has day-to-day control of the application (e.g., they are authorized to direct workers to carry out those activities that result in discharges to surface waters).

"Person" means an individual; a corporation; a partnership; an association; a local, state, or federal governmental body; a municipal corporation; or any other legal entity.

"Pest" means any deleterious organism that is:

1. Any vertebrate animal other than man;

2. Any invertebrate animal excluding any internal parasite of living man or other living animals;

3. Any plant growing where not wanted, and any plant part such as a root; or

4. Any bacterium, virus, or other microorganisms, except for those on or in living man or other living animals and those on or in processed food or processed animal feed, beverages, drugs (as defined by the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act at 21 USC § 321(g)(1)), and cosmetics (as defined by the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act at 21 USC § 321(i)).

Any organism classified by state or federal law or regulation as endangered or threatened shall not be deemed a pest for the purposes of this chapter.

"Pest management area" means the area of land, including any water, for which pest management activities covered by this permit are conducted.

"Pest management measure" means any practice used to meet the effluent limitations that comply with manufacturer specifications, industry standards, and recommended industry practices related to the application of pesticides, relevant legal requirements, and other provisions that a prudent operator would implement to reduce or eliminate pesticide discharges to surface waters.

"Pesticide" means:

1. Any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any insects, rodents, fungi, bacteria, weeds, or other forms of plant or animal life or viruses, except viruses on or in living man or other animals, which the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall declare to be a pest;

2. Any substance or mixture of substances intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliant, or desiccant; and

3. Any substance which is intended to become an active ingredient thereof.

Pesticides that are used or applied shall only be those that are approved and registered for use by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

"Pesticide discharges to surface waters from pesticide application" means the discharges that result from the application of biological pesticides and the application of chemical pesticides that leave a residue from point sources to surface waters. In the context of this definition of pesticide discharges to surface waters from pesticide application, this does not include agricultural storm water discharges and return flows from irrigated agriculture, which are excluded by law (33 USC § 1342(l) and 33 USC § 1362(14)).

"Pesticide product" means a pesticide in the particular form (including active and inert ingredients, packaging, and labeling) in which the pesticide is, or is intended to be, distributed or sold. The term includes any physical apparatus used to deliver or apply the pesticide if distributed or sold with the pesticide.

"Pesticide research and development" means activities undertaken on a systematic basis to gain new knowledge (research) or apply research findings or other scientific knowledge for the creation of new or significantly improved products or processes (experimental development).

"Pesticide residue" for the purposes of determining whether a VPDES permit is needed for discharges to surface waters from pesticide application, means that portion of a pesticide application that has been discharged from a point source to surface waters and no longer provides pesticidal benefits. It also includes any degradates of the pesticide.

"Point source" means any discernible, confined, and discrete conveyance including any pipe, ditch, channel, tunnel, conduit, or container from which pollutants are or may be discharged. This includes biological pesticides or chemical pesticides that leave a residue coming from a container or nozzle of a pesticide application device. This term does not include return flows from irrigated agriculture or agricultural stormwater run-off.

"Pollutant" means biological pesticides and any pesticide residue resulting from use of a chemical pesticide.

"Surface waters" means:

1. All waters that are currently used, were used in the past, or may be susceptible to use in interstate or foreign commerce, including all waters that are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide;

2. All interstate waters, including interstate wetlands;

3. All other waters such as intrastate lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, or natural ponds the use, degradation, or destruction of which would affect or could affect interstate or foreign commerce including any such waters:

a. That are or could be used by interstate or foreign travelers for recreational or other purposes;

b. From which fish or shellfish are or could be taken and sold in interstate or foreign commerce; or

c. That are used or could be used for industrial purposes by industries in interstate commerce;

4. All impoundments of waters otherwise defined as surface waters under this definition;

5. Tributaries of waters identified in subdivisions 1 through 4 of this definition;

6. The territorial sea; and

7. Wetlands adjacent to waters, other than waters that are themselves wetlands, identified in subdivisions 1 through 6 of this definition.

Surface waters do not include wastewater treatment systems, including treatment ponds or lagoons designed to meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the law. Surface waters do not include prior converted cropland. Notwithstanding the determination of an area's status as prior converted cropland by any other agency, for the purposes of the CWA, the final authority regarding the CWA jurisdiction remains with EPA.

"Target pest" means the organism toward which pest management measures are being directed.

"Total maximum daily load" or "TMDL" means a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still meet water quality standards, and an allocation of that amount to the pollutant's sources. A TMDL includes wasteload allocations (WLAs) for point source discharges, and load allocations (LAs) for nonpoint sources or natural background or both, and must include a margin of safety (MOS) and account for seasonal variations.

"Treatment area" means the area of land including any waters, or the linear distance along water or water's edge, to which pesticides are being applied. Multiple treatment areas may be located within a single pest management area.

Treatment area includes the entire area, whether over land or water, where the pesticide application is intended to provide pesticidal benefits. In some instances, the treatment area will be larger than the area where pesticides are actually applied. For example, the treatment area for a stationary drip treatment into a canal should be calculated by multiplying the width of the canal by the length over which the pesticide is intended to control weeds. The treatment area for a lake or marine area is the water surface area where the application is intended to provide pesticidal benefits.

Treatment area calculations for pesticide applications that occur at water's edge, where the discharge of pesticides directly to waters is unavoidable, are determined by the linear distance over which pesticides are applied.

"VDACS" means the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. VDACS administers the provisions of Virginia's pesticide statute, Chapter 39 (§ 3.2-3900 et seq.) of Title 3.2 of the Code of Virginia, as well as the regulations promulgated by the Virginia Pesticide Control Board. VDACS also has delegated authority to enforce the provisions of FIFRA. As such, VDACS is the primary agency for the regulatory oversight of pesticides in the Commonwealth.

"Wetlands" means those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface 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; § 402 of the federal Clean Water Act.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 27, Issue 26, eff. October 31, 2011; amended, Virginia Register Volume 30, Issue 4, eff. January 1, 2014; Volume 35, Issue 11, eff. March 1, 2019; Volume 39, Issue 4, eff. November 9, 2022; Volume 39, Issue 20, eff. March 1, 2024.

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.

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