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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 9. Environment
Agency 25. State Water Control Board
Chapter 910. General Permit for Use of Surficial Aquifer on the Eastern Shore
4/22/2024

9VAC25-910-90. General permit.

An owner whose application is accepted by the board will receive coverage under the following permit and shall comply with the requirements in the permit and be subject to all requirements of 9VAC25-610.

GENERAL PERMIT FOR GROUNDWATER WITHDRAWALS FROM THE SURFICIAL AQUIFER OF THE EASTERN SHORE GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT AREA.

Effective date: December 21, 2022.

Expiration date: December 21, 2037.

Pursuant to § 62.1-256 of the Ground Water Management Act of 1992 (§ 62.1-254 et seq. of the Code of Virginia) and Groundwater Withdrawal Regulations (9VAC25-610), the State Water Control Board hereby authorizes the permittee to withdraw and use groundwater in accordance with this permit.

The authorized withdrawals shall be in accordance with the information submitted with the application, this cover page, Part I – Operating Conditions, and Part II – Conditions Applicable to All Groundwater Withdrawal Permits, as set forth in this general permit.

PART I

Operating Conditions

A. Authorized withdrawal. The withdrawal of groundwater shall be limited to the wells identified in the groundwater withdrawal application submitted in accordance with 9VAC25-910-80.

B. Reporting.

1. Water withdrawn from each well shall be recorded monthly at the end of each month, and reported to the department annually, in paper or electronic format, on a form provided by the department, by July 10 for the respective previous 12 months. Records of water use shall be maintained by the permittee in accordance with Part II F 1 through F 4 of this general permit.

2. The permittee shall report any amount in excess of the permitted withdrawal limit by the fifth day of the month following the month when such a withdrawal occurred. Failure to report may result in compliance or enforcement activities.

C. Water conservation and management plan.

1. The permittee shall conduct an annual water audit quantifying the flows of the water in the system to understand its usage, reduce losses, and improve water conservation. The audit shall include:

a. Documentation of an annual review of the amount of water used compared with the expected need of the system to ensure that the water system uses the minimum amount of water necessary;

b. A list of any new water saving equipment, procedures, or improvements installed or water saving processes implemented during the previous year;

c. Documentation of implementation and evaluation of a leak detection and repair process; including documented quarterly visual monitoring during withdrawal periods where the permittee will locate and correct system leaks; and

d. A Groundwater Withdrawal Water Conservation and Management Audit Form, completed in its entirety, provided by the department.

2. Results of the annual audit shall be maintained onsite and available to the department upon request.

3. When a drought emergency is declared by the Commonwealth of Virginia in the Eastern Shore Drought Evaluation Region or in accordance with the county or locality drought management ordinance, the permittee shall implement either the provisions directed by the Commonwealth or the drought management ordinance, whichever is the most restrictive. The permittee shall be responsible for determining when drought emergencies are declared. The permittee shall retain records documenting that mandatory conservation measures were implemented during declared drought emergencies.

D. Mitigation plan. In cases where the area of impact does not remain on the property owned by the applicant or existing groundwater withdrawers will be included in the area of impact, the applicant shall provide and implement a plan to mitigate all adverse impacts on existing groundwater users. Approvable mitigation plans shall, at a minimum, contain the following features and implementation of the mitigation plan shall be included as enforceable permit conditions:

1. The rebuttable presumption that water level declines that cause adverse impacts to existing wells within the area of impact are due to the proposed withdrawal;

2. A commitment by the applicant to mitigate undisputed adverse impacts due to the proposed withdrawal in a timely fashion;

3. A speedy, nonexclusive, low-cost process to fairly resolve disputed claims for mitigation between the applicant and any claimant; and

4. The requirement that the claimant provide documentation that the claimant is the owner of the well; documentation that the well was constructed and operated prior to the initiation of the applicant's withdrawal; the depth of the well, the pump, and screens and any other construction information that the claimant possesses; the location of the well with enough specificity that it can be located in the field; the historic yield of the well, if available; historic water levels for the well, if available; and the reasons the claimant believes that the applicant's withdrawals have caused an adverse impact on the well.

E. Property rights. The issuance of coverage under this general permit neither conveys property rights in either real or personal property or exclusive privileges nor authorizes injury to private property, an invasion of personal property rights, or an infringement of federal, state, or local laws or regulations. The fact that an owner obtains coverage under this general permit shall not constitute a defense in a civil action involving private rights.

F. Well tags. Each well that is included in the coverage under this general permit shall have affixed to the well casing, in a prominent place, a permanent well identification plate that records, at a minimum, the DEQ well identification number, the groundwater withdrawal permit number, the total depth of the well, and the screened intervals in the well. Such well identification plates shall be in a format specified by the board and are available from the department.

G. Well abandonment. The permittee shall permanently abandon out-of-service wells in accordance with the Virginia Department of Health regulations and shall submit documentation to the Department of Environmental Quality within 30 calendar days of abandonment. At least two weeks prior to the scheduled abandonment, the permittee shall notify the department of the scheduled abandonment date.

PART II

Conditions Applicable to All Groundwater Withdrawal Permits

A. Duty to comply. The permittee shall comply with all conditions of the permit. Nothing in this permit shall be construed to relieve the permit holder of the duty to comply with all applicable federal and state statutes, regulations, and prohibitions. Any permit violation is a violation of the law and is grounds for enforcement action, permit termination, revocation, modification, or denial of a permit application.

B. 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 a permit has been granted in order to maintain compliance with the conditions of the permit.

C. Duty to mitigate. The permittee shall take all reasonable steps to avoid all adverse impacts that may result from this withdrawal as defined in 9VAC25-610-10 and to provide mitigation of the adverse impact in accordance with Part I D of this general permit.

D. Inspection, entry, and information requests. Upon presentation of credentials, the permittee shall allow the board, the department, or any duly authorized agent of the board, at reasonable times and under reasonable circumstances, (i) to enter upon the permittee's property, public or private; (ii) to have access to, inspect, and copy any records that must be kept as part of the permit conditions; and (iii) to inspect any facilities, well, water supply system, operations, or practices (including sampling, monitoring, and withdrawal) that are regulated or required under the permit. For the purpose of this section, the time for inspection shall be deemed reasonable during regular business hours. Nothing contained in this general permit shall make an inspection time unreasonable during an emergency.

E. Duty to provide information. The permittee shall furnish to the board or department, within a reasonable time, information that the board may request to determine whether cause exists for modifying, revoking, reissuing, or terminating the permit or to determine compliance with the permit. The permittee shall also furnish to the board or department, upon request, copies of records required to be kept by regulation or this permit.

F. Water withdrawal volume records requirements.

1. The permittee shall maintain a copy of the permit on-site and shall make the permit available upon request.

2. Measurements taken for the purpose of monitoring shall be representative of the metered activity.

3. The permittee shall retain records of all metering information, including (i) all calibration and maintenance records, (ii) copies of all reports required by the permit, and (iii) records of all data used to complete the application for the permit for a period of at least three years from the date of the expiration of coverage under this general permit. This period may be extended by request of the board at any time.

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

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

b. The names of the individuals that performed measurements;

c. The date the measurements were performed; and

d. The results of the measurements.

G. Water withdrawal volume metering and equipment requirements. Each well or impoundment or impoundment system shall have an in-line totalizing flow meter to read gallons, cubic feet, or cubic meters installed prior to beginning the permitted use. Meters shall produce volume determinations within plus or minus 10% of actual flows.

1. A defective meter or other device shall be repaired or replaced within 30 business days of discovery.

2. A defective meter is not grounds for not reporting withdrawals. During any period when a meter is defective, generally accepted engineering methods shall be used to estimate withdrawals. The period during which the meter was defective must be clearly identified in the groundwater withdrawal report required by Part I B of this general permit. An alternative method for determining flow may be approved by the board on a case-by-case basis.

H. Well construction. At least 30 calendar days prior to the scheduled construction of any well, the permittee shall notify the department of the construction timetable and shall receive prior approval of the well location and acquire the DEQ well number. All wells shall be constructed in accordance with the following requirements.

1. A well site approval letter or well construction permit shall be obtained from the Virginia Department of Health prior to construction of the well.

2. For wells constructed with a maximum depth greater than 80 feet, a complete suite of geophysical logs (16"/64" Normal, Single Point, Self-Potential, Lateral, and Natural Gamma) shall be completed for the well and submitted to the department along with the corresponding completion report.

3. The permittee's determination of the surficial aquifer depth shall be submitted to the department for review and approval, or approved on site by the department's geologist, prior to installation of any pump.

4. A completed Uniform Water Well Completion Report, Form GW-2 and any additional water well construction documents shall be submitted to the department within 30 calendar days of the completion of any well and prior to the initiation of any withdrawal from the well. The assigned DEQ well number shall be included on all well documents.

I. Transfer of permits.

1. Permits are not transferable to any person except after notice to the department.

2. Coverage under this permit may be automatically transferred to a new permittee if:

a. The current permittee notifies the department within 30 business days of the proposed transfer of the title to the facility or property, unless permission for a later date has been granted by the board;

b. The notice includes a written agreement between the existing and new permittees containing a specific date for transfer of permit responsibility, coverage, and liability between them; and

c. The board does not notify the existing permittee and the proposed new permittee of its intent to deny the new permittee coverage under the permit. If this notice is not received, the transfer is effective on the date specified in the agreement mentioned in Part II I 2 b of this general permit.

J. Notice of planned change. The permittee shall give notice to the department at least 30 business days prior to any planned alterations or additions to the permitted water withdrawal system.

K. Revocation and termination of coverage.

1. General permit coverage may be revoked in accordance with 9VAC25-610-290 and 9VAC25-610-300.

2. The permittee may terminate coverage under this general permit by filing a complete notice of termination with the department. The notice of termination may be filed after one or more of the following conditions have been met:

a. Operations have ceased at the facility and there are no longer withdrawals from the surficial aquifer.

b. A new owner has assumed responsibility for the facility. A notice of termination does not have to be submitted if a Change of Ownership Agreement Form has been submitted.

c. All groundwater withdrawals associated have been covered by an individual groundwater withdrawal permit.

d. Termination of coverage is being requested for another reason, provided the board agrees that coverage under this general permit is no longer needed.

3. The notice of termination shall contain the following information:

a. The owner's name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address, if available;

b. The facility name and location;

c. The general permit number;

d. A completed Termination Agreement Form obtained from the department; and

e. The basis for submitting the notice of termination, including:

(1) A statement indicating that a new owner has assumed responsibility for the facility;

(2) A statement indicating that operations have ceased at the facility, and there are no longer groundwater withdrawals from the surficial aquifer;

(3) A statement indicating that all groundwater withdrawals have been covered by an individual Groundwater Withdrawal permit; or

(4) A statement indicating that termination of coverage is being requested for another reason (state the reason); and

(5) The following certification: "I certify under penalty of law that all groundwater withdrawals from the surficial aquifer at the identified facility that are authorized by this general permit have been eliminated, or covered under a groundwater withdrawal individual permit, or that I am no longer the owner of the facility, or permit coverage should be terminated for another reason listed above. I understand that by submitting this notice of termination, that I am no longer authorized to withdraw groundwater in accordance with the general permit, and that withdrawing groundwater is unlawful where the withdrawal is not authorized by a groundwater withdrawal permit or otherwise excluded from permitting. I also understand that the submittal of this notice of termination does not release an owner from liability for any violations of this permit or the Virginia Groundwater Management Act."

4. The notice of termination shall be signed in accordance with 9VAC25-610-150.

L. Continuation of coverage. Permit coverage shall expire at the end of its term. However, expiring permit coverages are automatically continued if the owner has submitted a complete application at least 90 calendar days prior to the expiration date of the permit, or a later submittal established by the board, which cannot extend beyond the expiration date of the original permit. The permittee is authorized to continue to withdraw until such time as the board either:

1. Issues coverage to the owner under this general permit; or

2. Notifies the owner that the withdrawal is not eligible for coverage under this general permit.

M. Duty to reapply. If the permittee wishes to continue an activity regulated by this permit after the expiration date of this permit, the permittee shall apply for and obtain coverage under a new permit. All permittees with currently effective permit coverage shall submit a new application at least 90 calendar days before the expiration date of the existing permit, unless permission for a later date has been granted in writing by the board. The board shall not grant permission for application to be submitted later than the expiration date of the existing permit.

Statutory Authority

§§ 62.1-256 and 62.1-262.1 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 39, Issue 7, eff. December 21, 2022.

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