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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 9. Environment
Agency 25. State Water Control Board
Chapter 830. Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Designation and Management Regulations

9VAC25-830-130. General performance criteria.

Through their applicable land use ordinances, regulations, and enforcement mechanisms, local governments shall require that any use, development, or redevelopment of land in Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas meets the following performance criteria:

1. No more land shall be disturbed than is necessary to provide for the proposed use or development.

2. Indigenous vegetation shall be preserved to the maximum extent practicable, consistent with the use or development proposed. Mature trees shall be protected during development and only removed where necessary, including to provide for the proposed use or development.

A locality which has an ordinance providing for the conservation, planting, and replacement of trees during the land development process pursuant to § 15.2-961 or 15.2-961.1 of the Code of Virginia may rely on such ordinance for demonstrating compliance with this requirement related to mature trees in Resource Management Areas.

3. All development exceeding 2,500 square feet of land disturbance shall be accomplished through a plan of development review process consistent with § 15.2-2286 A 8 of the Code of Virginia and subdivision 1 e of 9VAC25-830-240.

4. Land development shall minimize impervious cover consistent with the proposed use or development.

5. Any land disturbing activity that exceeds an area of 2,500 square feet (including construction of all single family houses, septic tanks, and drainfields, but otherwise as defined in § 62.1-44.15:51 of the Code of Virginia) shall comply with the requirements of the local erosion and sediment control ordinance. Enforcement for noncompliance with the erosion and sediment control requirements referenced in this criterion shall be conducted under the provisions of the Erosion and Sediment Control Law and attendant regulations.

6. Any Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act land-disturbing activity as defined in § 62.1-44.15:24 of the Code of Virginia shall comply with the requirements of 9VAC25-870-51 and 9VAC25-870-103.

7. Onsite sewage treatment systems not requiring a Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) permit shall:

a. Have pump-out accomplished for all such systems at least once every five years.

(1) If deemed appropriate by the local health department and subject to conditions the local health department may set, local governments may offer to the owners of such systems, as an alternative to the mandatory pump-out, the option of having a plastic filter installed and maintained in the outflow pipe from the septic tank to filter solid material from the effluent while sustaining adequate flow to the drainfield to permit normal use of the septic system. Such a filter should satisfy standards established in the Sewage Handling and Disposal Regulations (12VAC5-610) administered by the Virginia Department of Health.

(2) Furthermore, in lieu of requiring proof of septic tank pump-out every five years, local governments may allow owners of onsite sewage treatment systems to submit documentation every five years, certified by an operator or onsite soil evaluator licensed or certified under Chapter 23 (§ 54.1-2300 et seq.) of Title 54.1 of the Code of Virginia as being qualified to operate, maintain, or design onsite sewage systems, that the septic system has been inspected, is functioning properly, and the tank does not need to have the effluent pumped out of it.

(3) Effective July 1, 2023, requirements of this section directly related to compliance with onsite sewage system pump-outs shall be managed and enforced by the Virginia Department of Health in Accomack, Essex, Gloucester, King and Queen, King William, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, Northampton, Northumberland, Richmond, and Westmoreland Counties, and the incorporated towns within those counties.

b. For new construction, provide a reserve sewage disposal site with a capacity at least equal to that of the primary sewage disposal site. This reserve sewage disposal site requirement shall not apply to any lot or parcel recorded prior to October 1, 1989, if the lot or parcel is not sufficient in capacity to accommodate a reserve sewage disposal site, as determined by the local health department. Building shall be prohibited on the area of all sewage disposal sites until the structure is served by public sewer or an onsite sewage treatment system that operates under a permit issued by the department. All sewage disposal site records shall be administered to provide adequate notice and enforcement. As an alternative to the 100% reserve sewage disposal site, local governments may offer the owners of such systems the option of installing an alternating drainfield system meeting the following conditions:

(1) Each of the two alternating drainfields in the system shall have, at a minimum, an area not less than 50% of the area that would otherwise be required if a single primary drainfield were constructed.

(2) An area equaling 50% of the area that would otherwise be required for the primary drainfield site must be reserved for subsurface absorption systems that utilize a flow diversion device, in order to provide for future replacement or repair to meet the requirements for a sewage disposal system. Expansion of the primary system will require an expansion of this reserve area.

(3) The two alternating drainfields shall be connected by a diversion valve, approved by the local health department, located in the pipe between the septic (aerobic) tank and the distribution boxes. The diversion valve shall be used to alternate the direction of effluent flow to one drainfield or the other at a time. However, diversion valves shall not be used for the following types of treatment systems:

(a) Sand mounds;

(b) Low-pressure distribution systems;

(c) Repair situations when installation of a valve is not feasible; and

(d) Any other approved system for which the use of a valve would adversely affect the design of the system, as determined by the local health department.

(4) The diversion valve shall be a three-port, two-way valve of approved materials (i.e., resistant to sewage and leakproof and designed so that the effluent from the tank can be directed to flow into either one of the two distribution boxes).

(5) There shall be a conduit from the top of the valve to the ground surface with an appropriate cover to be level with or above the ground surface.

(6) The valve shall not be located in driveways, recreational courts, parking lots, or beneath sheds or other structures.

(7) In lieu of the aforementioned diversion valve, any device that can be designed and constructed to conveniently direct the flow of effluent from the tank into either one of the two distribution boxes may be approved if plans are submitted to the local health department and found to be satisfactory.

(8) The local government shall require that the owner alternate the drainfields every 12 months to permit the yearly resting of half of the absorption system.

(9) The local government shall ensure that the owner are notified annually of the requirement to switch the valve to the opposite drainfield.

8. Land upon which agricultural activities are being conducted, including crop production, pasture, and dairy and feedlot operations, or lands otherwise defined as agricultural land by the local government, shall have a soil and water quality conservation assessment conducted that evaluates the effectiveness of existing practices pertaining to soil erosion and sediment control, nutrient management, and management of pesticides, and, where necessary, results in a plan that outlines additional practices needed to ensure that water quality protection is being accomplished consistent with the Act and this chapter.

a. Recommendations for additional conservation practices need address only those conservation issues applicable to the tract or field being assessed. Any soil and water quality conservation practices that are recommended as a result of such an assessment and are subsequently implemented with financial assistance from federal or state cost-share programs must be designed, consistent with cost-share practice standards effective in January 1999 in the "Field Office Technical Guide" of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service or the June 2000 edition of the "Virginia Agricultural BMP Manual" of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, respectively. Unless otherwise specified in this section, general standards pertaining to the various agricultural conservation practices being assessed shall be as follows:

(1) For erosion and sediment control recommendations, the goal shall be, where feasible, to prevent erosion from exceeding the soil loss tolerance level, referred to as "T," as defined in the "National Soil Survey Handbook" of November 1996 in the "Field Office Technical Guide" of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service. However, in no case shall erosion exceed the soil loss consistent with an Alternative Conservation System, referred to as an "ACS", as defined in the "Field Office Technical Guide" of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service.

(2) For nutrient management, whenever nutrient management plans are developed, the operator or landowner must provide soil test information, consistent with the Virginia Nutrient Management Training and Certification Regulations (4VAC50-85).

(3) For pest chemical control, referrals shall be made to the local cooperative extension agent or an Integrated Pest Management Specialist of the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service. Recommendations shall include copies of applicable information from the "Virginia Pest Management Guide" or other Extension materials related to pest control.

b. A higher priority shall be placed on conducting assessments of agricultural fields and tracts adjacent to Resource Protection Areas. However, if the landowner or operator of such a tract also has Resource Management Area fields or tracts in his operation, the assessment for that landowner or operator may be conducted for all fields or tracts in the operation. When such an expanded assessment is completed, priority must return to Resource Protection Area fields and tracts.

c. The findings and recommendations of such assessments and any resulting soil and water quality conservation plans will be submitted to the local Soil and Water Conservation District Board, which will be the plan-approving authority.

9. Silvicultural activities in Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas are exempt from this chapter provided that silvicultural operations adhere to water quality protection procedures prescribed by the Virginia Department of Forestry in the Fifth Edition (March 2011) of "Virginia's Forestry Best Management Practices for Water Quality Technical Manual." The Virginia Department of Forestry will oversee and document installation of best management practices and will monitor in-stream impacts of forestry operations in Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas.

10. Local governments shall require evidence of all wetlands permits required by law prior to authorizing grading or other onsite activities to begin.

Statutory Authority

§§ 62.1-44.15:69 and 62.1-44.15:72 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Former 4VAC50-90-130 and 9VAC10-20-120 derived from VR173-02-01 § 4.2, eff. September 1, 1989; amended, Virginia Register Volume 6, Issue 1, eff. October 1, 1989; Volume 7, Issue 5, eff. December 9, 1991; Volume 7, Issue 24, eff. October 1, 1991; Volume 18, Issue 9, eff. March 1, 2002; Volume 24, Issue 22, eff. August 6, 2008; amended and renumbered, Virginia Register Volume 29, Issue 4, eff. November 21, 2012; amended and renumbered, Virginia Register Volume 30, Issue 2, eff. October 23, 2013; amended, Virginia Register Volume 30, Issue 23, eff. August 27, 2014; Volume 38, Issue 1, eff. September 29, 2021; Volume 38, Issue 25, eff. August 31, 2022.

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