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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 9. Environment
Agency 25. State Water Control Board
Chapter 890. Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) General Permit for Discharges of Stormwater from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s)

9VAC25-890-20. Authorization to discharge.

A. Any operator covered by this general permit is authorized to discharge stormwater from the MS4 to surface waters of the Commonwealth of Virginia provided that:

1. The operator submits a complete and accurate registration statement in accordance with 9VAC25-890-30 and that registration statement is accepted by the department;

2. The operator submits any permit fees required by Part XIII (9VAC25-870-700 et seq.);

3. The operator complies with the requirements of 9VAC25-890-40; and

4. The department has not notified the operator that the discharge is ineligible for coverage in accordance with subsection C of this section.

B. The operator is not authorized by this general permit to discharge to surface waters specifically named in other board regulations that prohibit such discharges.

C. The department will notify an operator that the discharge is not eligible for coverage under this general permit in the event of any of the following:

1. The operator is required to obtain an individual permit in accordance with 9VAC25-870-410 B;

2. The operator is proposing discharges to surface waters specifically named in other board regulations that prohibit such discharges; or

3. The operator fails to implement BMPs to reduce pollutants to the maximum extent practicable (MEP) standard to demonstrate progress toward meeting the water quality requirements as listed in 9VAC25-31-220 D 1 a in accordance with 9VAC25-31-220 K 2.

D. Nonstormwater discharges or flows into the MS4 are authorized by this state permit and do not need to be addressed in the MS4 program required under 9VAC25-890-40 Part I E 3 if:

1. The nonstormwater discharges or flows are covered by a separate individual or general VPDES or state permit for nonstormwater discharges;

2. The individual nonstormwater discharges or flows have been identified by the department as de minimis discharges that are not significant sources of pollutants to surface waters and do not require a separate VPDES permit;

3. The nonstormwater discharges or flows are identified in this subdivision and have not been identified by the operator or by the department as significant contributors of pollutants to the MS4:

a. Water line flushing, managed in a manner to avoid an instream impact;

b. Landscape irrigation;

c. Diverted stream flows;

d. Rising groundwaters;

e. Uncontaminated groundwater infiltration, as defined at 40 CFR 35.2005(20);

f. Uncontaminated pumped groundwater;

g. Discharges from potable water sources managed in a manner to avoid instream impact;

h. Foundation drains;

i. Air conditioning condensation;

j. Irrigation water;

k. Springs;

l. Water from crawl space pumps;

m. Footing drains;

n. Lawn watering;

o. Individual residential car washing;

p. Flows from riparian habitats and wetlands;

q. Dechlorinated freshwater swimming pool discharges managed in a manner to avoid instream impact;

r. Street and pavement wash waters that do not contain cleaning additives or are otherwise managed in a manner to avoid instream impact;

s. Routine external building washdown provided no soaps, solvents, or detergents are used, external building surfaces do not contain hazardous substances, and the wash water is filtered, settled, or similarly treated prior to discharge;

t. Discharges or flows from emergency firefighting activities;

u. Discharges or flows of water for fire prevention or firefighting training activities managed in a manner to avoid instream impact in accordance with § 9.1-207.1 of the Code of Virginia;

v. Discharges from noncommercial fundraising car washes if the washing uses only biodegradable, phosphate-free, water-based cleaners in accordance with § 15.2-2114.1 of the Code of Virginia; or

w. Other activities generating discharges identified by the department as not requiring VPDES authorization; or

4. The immediate discharge of materials is necessary to protect life or property as determined by fire department personnel or emergency management officials or any discharge in accordance with 9VAC25-31-40. The operator shall take or ensure that the responsible party takes all reasonable steps to minimize or prevent any adverse effect on human health or the environment. This state permit does not transfer liability for a spill itself from the party responsible for the spill to the operator nor relieve the party responsible for a spill from the reporting requirements of 40 CFR Part 117 and 40 CFR Part 302.

E. In the event the operator is unable to meet certain conditions of this permit due to circumstances beyond the operator's control, the operator shall submit a written explanation of the circumstances that prevented state permit compliance to the department in the annual report. Circumstances beyond the control of the operator include abnormal climatic conditions; weather conditions that make certain requirements unsafe or impracticable; or unavoidable equipment failures caused by weather conditions or other conditions beyond the reasonable control of the operator (operator error is not a condition beyond the control of the operator). The failure to provide adequate program funding, staffing, or equipment maintenance shall not be an acceptable explanation for failure to meet state permit conditions. The department will determine, at its sole discretion, whether the reported information will result in an enforcement action.

F. Discharges that are excluded from permitting requirements pursuant to 9VAC25-870-300 are exempted from the regulatory requirements of this state permit.

G. For those portions of the MS4 engaging in activities that are covered under a separate VPDES permit for discharges associated with industrial activities, the permittee shall follow the conditions established by the separate VPDES permit.

H. Upon termination of permit coverage for those activities addressed in subsection G of this section, the discharges from the outfalls previously authorized under the VPDES permit for stormwater discharges associated with industrial activities shall meet the conditions of this state permit provided it has been determined by the department that an individual MS4 permit is not required.

I. Stormwater discharges from specific MS4 permittee activities that have been granted conditional exclusion for "no exposure" of industrial activities and materials to stormwater under the separate VPDES permitting program shall comply with this state permit unless a separate VPDES permit is obtained. The department is responsible for determining compliance with the conditional exclusion under the State Water Control Law (Chapter 3.1 (§ 62.1-44.2 et seq.) of Title 62.1 of the Code of Virginia) and attendant regulations.

J. Receipt of this general permit does not relieve any permittee of the responsibility to comply with any other applicable federal, state, or local statute, ordinance, or regulation.

K. Continuation of permit coverage.

1. Any permittee that was authorized to discharge under the state permit effective November 1, 2018, and that submits a complete registration statement on or before October 1, 2023, is authorized to continue to discharge under the terms of the November 1, 2018, state permit until such time as the department either:

a. Issues coverage to the permittee under this state permit; or

b. Notifies the permittee that the discharge is not eligible for coverage under this state permit.

2. When the permittee is not in compliance with the conditions of the expiring or expired general permit, the department may choose to do any or all of the following:

a. Initiate enforcement action based upon the 2018 general permit;

b. Issue a notice of intent to deny coverage under the new general permit. If coverage under the general permit is denied, the permittee would then be required to cease the activities authorized by the continued general permit or be subject to enforcement action for operating without a state permit;

c. Issue a new state permit with appropriate conditions; or

d. Take other actions authorized by the State Water Control Law, VPDES (9VAC25-31), and VSMP (9VAC25-870) regulations.

Statutory Authority

§ 62.1-44.15:28 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Former 4VAC50-60-1220, derived from Virginia Register Volume 21, Issue 3, eff. January 29, 2005; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 20, eff. July 9, 2008; Volume 29, Issue 4, eff. November 21, 2012; Volume 29, Issue 17, eff. July 1, 2013; Errata, 29:18 VA.R. 2246, May 6, 2013; amended and renumbered, Virginia Register Volume 30, Issue 2, eff. October 23, 2013; amended, Virginia Register Volume 35, Issue 2, eff. November 1, 2018; Volume 40, Issue 3, eff. November 1, 2023.

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