Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
Title 9. Environment
Agency 25. State Water Control Board
7/10/2020

Chapter 380.

9VAC25-380-10. General requirement and purpose.

A. The purpose of this policy is to establish the policy of the State Water Control Board in order to support the principles of the Wetlands Act, in dealing with water quality of the wetlands of the Commonwealth.

B. Further, this establishes the policy of the board to preserve the wetland ecosystems and to protect them from destruction by (i) reduction or elimination of deleterious point source or non-point source discharges to state waters which wash over wetlands, (ii) the treatment or control of these discharges, (iii) the development and construction of waste water treatment facilities, and (iv) other physical, chemical, or biological means.

Statutory Authority

§§ 62.1-44.15(10) and 62.1-44.36 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR680-11-02 § 1.01, eff. June 23, 1974.

9VAC25-380-20. The wetland resource.

A. Wetlands represent an ecosystem of unique and major importance to the citizens of this Commonwealth and, as a result, they require extraordinary protection. Comparable destructive forces would be expected to inflict more lasting damage to them than to other ecosystems. The Constitution of Virginia establishes a strong policy of natural resource protection. The General Assembly has recognized the importance of wetlands in its policy set forth in Title 28.2, Chapter 13 of the Code of Virginia and, the General Assembly has provided in Title 62.1, Chapter 3.1 of the Code of Virginia (The State Water Control Law) that it is the policy of the Commonwealth to protect existing high quality state waters and restore all other state waters to such condition of quality that any such waters will support the propagation and growth of all aquatic life which might reasonably be expected to inhabit them. Through this policy statement, the board establishes appropriate safeguards for the preservation and protection of the wetland resource from the damage caused by inappropriate discharges to the waters of the state which wash over the wetlands.

B. The wetlands of the Commonwealth, including marshes, swamps, bogs, and other low-lying areas, which during some period of the year will be covered in part by natural non-flood waters, are a unique, valuable, and irreplaceable natural resource. They serve as a habitat for important fur-bearing mammals, many species of fish, and waterfowl. Such areas moderate extremes in water flow, aid in the natural purification of water, and maintain and recharge the groundwater resource. They are the nursery areas for a great number of wildlife and aquatic species of significant commercial and recreational value to the citizens of the Commonwealth, and serve at times as the source of valuable harvestable timber. They are unique recreational areas, high in aesthetic value, that contain delicate and irreplaceable specimens of fauna and flora and support fishing, as well as wildfowl and other hunting.

C. Fresh water wetlands support the adjacent or downstream aquatic ecosystem in addition to the complex web of life that has developed within the wetland environment. The relationship of the fresh water wetland to the subsurface environment is symbiotic, intricate, and fragile. In the tidal wetland areas the tides tend to redistribute the nutrients and sediments throughout the tidal marsh and these in turn form a substrate for the life supported by the tidal marsh. These marshes produce large quantities of plant life that are the source of much of the organic matter consumed by shellfish and other aquatic life in associated estuaries.

D. Protection of wetland areas requires the proper control of any construction activities and of non-point sources to prevent discharges which will impair the quality of the wetland area. Alteration in quantity or quality of the natural flow of water, which nourishes the ecosystem, should be minimized. The addition of harmful waste waters or nutrients contained in such waters should be kept below a level that will alter the natural, physical, chemical, or biological integrity of the wetland areas and that will ensure no significant increase in nuisance organisms through biostimulation.

Statutory Authority

§§ 62.1-44.15(10) and 62.1-44.36 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR680-11-02 § 1.02, eff. June 23, 1974.

9VAC25-380-30. Policy.

A. In its decision processes, it shall be the board's policy to give particular cognizance and consideration to any proposal to the State Water Control Board that has the potential to damage wetlands, to recognize the irreplaceable value and man's dependence on them to maintain an environment acceptable to society, and to preserve and protect them from damaging misuses.

B. It shall be the board's policy to minimize alteration in the quantity or quality of the natural flow of water that nourishes wetlands and to protect wetlands from adverse dredging or filling practices, solid waste management practices, siltation, or the addition of pesticides, salts, or toxic materials arising from non-point source wastes and through construction activities, and to prevent violation of applicable water quality standards from such environmental insults.

C. It shall be the policy of this board not to approve the construction of waste water treatment facilities or other waste treatment-associated appurtenances which may interfere with the existing wetland ecosystem except where no other alternative of lesser environmental damage is found to be feasible. In the application for such facilities or appurtenances, where there is reason to believe that wetlands will be damaged, an assessment will be requested from the applicant that delineates the various alternatives that have been investigated for the control or treatment of the waste water, including the reasons for rejecting those alternatives not used. A full economic appraisal of all alternatives should be included to the extent possible.

D. To promote the most environmentally protective measures for the wetlands, it shall be the policy of the board to advise those applicants for waste treatment facilities that the selection of the most environmentally protective alternative should be made, and to advise those applicants for discharge permits for all other activities which may affect the wetlands that those activities should be carried in the most environmentally protective manner. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the Marine Resources Commission, and any other appropriate state or federal agency will be consulted to aid in the determination of the probable impact on the pertinent fish and wildlife resources of wetlands. In the event of projected significant adverse environmental impact, a public hearing on the wetlands issue may be held to aid in the selection of the most appropriate action, and the board may deny the issuance of a discharge permit, and may recommend against the furnishing of appropriate state or federal grant funds.

Statutory Authority

§§ 62.1-44.15(10) and 62.1-44.36 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR680-11-02 § 1.02[1], eff. June 23, 1974.

9VAC25-380-40. Implementation.

The board will apply this policy to the extent of its authorities in conducting all program activities, including regulatory activities, research, development and demonstration, technical assistance, and the administration of all state and federal grants programs.

Statutory Authority

§§ 62.1-44.15(10) and 62.1-44.36 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR680-11-02 § 1.03, eff. June 23, 1974.



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