Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
5/27/2024

Article 4. Monitoring, Operation, and Maintenance Requirements

12VAC5-640-490. Monitoring.

Article 4
Monitoring, Operation, and Maintenance Requirements

A. Discharging systems that discharge improperly treated effluent can endanger public health and threaten environmental resources. All discharging systems shall be routinely inspected and the effluent sampled to determine compliance with the effluent limitations set forth by the State Water Control Board in the General Permit and in accordance with 12VAC5-640-430 and 12VAC5-640-510. All testing requirements contained in this chapter are the responsibility of the system owner to have collected, analyzed, and reported to the department.

B. There are two types of testing recognized by this chapter: formal compliance testing and informal (process control) testing. Formal testing is conducted to determine either compliance or noncompliance with the General Permit. Informal testing is conducted to assess the treatment system's performance and to determine when additional formal compliance testing is necessary. Informal testing may support but shall not be the sole basis for revoking the approval of the system pursuant to 12VAC5-640-280.

C. All treatment systems shall undergo startup testing to assess the ability of the system to comply with the established performance requirements.

1. Treatment systems are considered generally approved for the purposes of establishing startup testing requirements only when all treatment components (i.e., biological treatment unit, disinfection, dechlorination, post-aeration, etc.) of the system are considered generally approved as described in 12VAC5-640-432.

2. All new discharging systems shall undergo formal startup compliance testing for parameters limited by the General Permit. The collection, storage, transportation, and analysis of all formal compliance samples shall be in accordance with the requirements of the General Permit.

a. For generally approved systems, the first formal compliance testing event shall occur 45 to 90 days after the system begins discharging. If the formal compliance test data indicate the system is in compliance with the General Permit, then the system will revert to annual formal compliance sampling in accordance with the General Permit. The initial sample may be used to comply with the first annual sampling requirement. If the testing data indicates that any parameter is out of compliance, subsection E of this section shall apply.

b. For nongenerally approved systems, the first formal compliance testing event shall occur 45 to 90 days after the system begins discharging. Three additional formal compliance testing events are to occur quarterly and at least 60 days apart. If the four startup compliance test data indicate the system is in compliance with the General Permit, then the system will revert to annual formal compliance sampling in accordance with the General Permit. If the testing data indicates that any parameter is out of compliance, subsection E of this section shall apply.

3. Informal (process control) testing shall be conducted monthly for at least six consecutive months beginning the second full month after the issuance of the operation permit. After successful startup of the treatment system, informal testing shall be conducted semiannually at a minimum and any time formal testing is conducted. Informal testing shall be in accordance with the approved operation and maintenance manual, which shall include at a minimum the tests listed in Table 3.3. The specific test, sample location, and frequency shall be itemized in the operation and maintenance manual for the treatment system.

D. Both formal and informal routine monitoring is required after a system successfully completes startup testing.

1. After a system successfully completes startup testing, the system formal testing reverts to the General Permit monitoring frequency for the parameters limited by the General Permit. The collection, storage, transportation, and analysis of all formal testing shall be in accordance with the requirements of the General Permit.

2. Informal (process control) testing shall be conducted during routine maintenance visits. The specific test, sample location, and frequency shall be itemized in the operation and maintenance manual for the treatment system. When an operation and maintenance manual is not available, informal testing shall be sufficient to assess the treatment system's performance. Table 3.3 contains the minimum informal testing that must be conducted as appropriate for a given system.

TABLE 3.3
INFORMAL (PROCESS CONTROL) TESTING

Treatment Unit

Informal Tests

Septic tank/trash tank

Sludge depth

Suspended growth biological treatment unit

Dissolved oxygen, settleabilty, pH, odor

Fixed film biological treatment unit

Dissolved oxygen (effluent from unit), pH, odor

Chlorine disinfection/dechlorination

TRC at end of contact tank (>1.0 mg/l),

TRC after dechlorination

Ultraviolet disinfection UV

Turbidity prior to UV

Final effluent

Dissolved oxygen, pH, odor, color

E. The department may require additional formal compliance testing or informal testing, or both, as necessary to protect public health and the environment. Additional testing shall be based on observed problems and shall not be implemented routinely on all discharging systems.

1. Anytime a discharging system is found to be out of compliance with the effluent limitations of the General Permit, follow-up formal compliance testing shall be repeated between 45 and 90 days after the original samples were collected and the results reported to the local health department. Prior to resampling, the operator should attempt to determine the reason for the noncompliance and take corrective actions.

2. Anytime an informal test reveals a potential problem, additional formal or informal testing may be conducted to review the effectiveness of any repairs or adjustments.

3. Anytime the results of two consecutive formal compliance tests as specified in subdivision C 2 or D 1 of this section result in a violation of the effluent limitations of the General Permit, informal testing shall revert to monthly frequency until satisfactory results are obtained for six consecutive months. Nothing in this section shall preclude requiring the collection of samples for formal compliance testing as described in subdivisions C 2 and D 1 of this section to determine compliance with the effluent limitations set forth in the General Permit.

F. The owner of each system is responsible for ensuring that the collection, analysis, and reporting of all effluent sample tests are completed in a timely fashion and in accordance with this section and 12VAC5-640-510. The department shall conduct an annual inspection and may conduct additional inspections at its discretion. Furthermore, the department may conduct or mandate formal or informal testing as deemed appropriate. If a system is in compliance three consecutive years, the department may reduce the department inspection frequency to a three-year cycle. Annual inspections by the department will resume if the department receives evidence that the system is out of compliance. Compliance for the purposes of this section is compliance with the testing, inspection, effluent limits, and reporting requirements of this chapter. Inspection by the department does not substitute for the required operation, maintenance, testing, and reporting requirements in 12VAC5-640-490, 12VAC5-640-500, and 12VAC5-640-510.

Statutory Authority

§§ 32.1-12 and 32.1-164 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-34-400 § 3.11, eff. July 30, 1992; amended, Virginia Register Volume 32, Issue 6, eff. December 16, 2015.

12VAC5-640-500. Operation and maintenance requirements.

A. Due to the potential for degrading surface water and groundwater quality or jeopardizing the public health, or both, routine operation and maintenance of discharging systems is required. In order to assure the treatment system is operated, maintained, monitored, and reported properly, the permit holder shall engage a licensed operator as defined in subsection E of this section. Reporting in accordance with 12VAC5-640-490 and 12VAC5-640-510 is sufficient evidence of an ongoing contract. Owners with existing monitoring waivers that allow the owner to collect formal compliance samples as of December 16, 2015, may be extended, but no new waivers shall be issued. In the event the individual fails to collect three or more of any of the required samples in any five-year period, the department will void the waiver and require evidence of an operation and maintenance contract that includes monitoring.

B. It is the owner's responsibility to do the following:

1. Have the system operated and maintained by a licensed operator;

2. Have an operator visit the system at the frequency required by this chapter (at least semiannually);

3. Have an operator collect and analyze any samples required by this chapter;

4. Provide prompt maintenance and repair of the treatment works. If an owner is notified by the operator of a repair or maintenance need pursuant to subdivision C 4 of this section and the discharge does not comply with the effluent requirements of the General Permit, then the owner shall begin pump and haul of the sewage and take other actions as may be directed by the local health department until the treatment works returns to normal function;

5. Keep a copy of the log provided by the operator on the property where the system is located in electronic or hard copy form, make the log available to the department upon request, and make a reasonable effort to transfer the log to any future owner;

6. Follow the O&M manual (where available) and keep a copy of the O&M manual in electronic or hard copy form for the system on the property where the system is located, make the O&M manual available to the department upon request, and make a reasonable effort to transfer the O&M manual to any future owner; and

7. Comply with the VPDES permit requirements contained in 9VAC25-110.

C. The operator has the following responsibilities:

1. Perform all testing required in either Part I A or Part I B (9VAC25-110-80) of the General Permit, as appropriate, and in this chapter, unless the owner maintains a waiver in accordance with subsection A of this section. Note: The treatment works will be sampled during normal discharging operations or normal discharging conditions (i.e., operations that are normal for that facility). The operator should not force a discharge in order to collect a formal sample, but the informal sampling should be used to identify any operational problems;

2. Whenever an operator performs a visit that is required by this chapter, he shall do so in such a manner as to accomplish the various responsibilities and assessments required by this chapter through visual or other observations and through laboratory and field tests that are required by this chapter or that he deems appropriate;

3. When performing activities pursuant to a visit that is required by this chapter, the operator is responsible for the entire system, and where applicable, the operator shall follow the approved O&M manual;

4. Provide a written or electronic notification to the owner within 24 hours whenever the operator becomes aware that maintenance or repair of the owner's treatment works is necessary; and

5. Document the results of each site visit in the log and report in accordance with 12VAC5-640-510. Each operator shall keep an electronic or hard copy log for each system for which he is responsible. The operator shall provide a copy of the log to the owner. In addition, the operator shall make the log available to the department upon request. At a minimum, the operator shall record the following items in the log:

a. Results of all testing and sampling;

b. A copy of the Discharge Monitoring Report required by the General Permit;

c. Maintenance, corrective actions, and repair activities that are performed;

d. Recommendations for repair and replacement of system components;

e. Sludge or solids removal; and

f. The date reports were given to the owner.

D. In localities where a public service authority, sanitary district, or other public utility exists which operates and maintains the systems, permitted under this chapter, the requirements for the operation and maintenance contract may be waived by the division provided the owner of the system subscribes to the service and the utility meets the minimum elements described in 12VAC5-640-490, 12VAC5-640-500, and 12VAC5-640-510.

E. In order to competently evaluate system performance, collect samples, interpret sample results, and repair and maintain discharging systems, an individual must be knowledgeable in sewage treatment processes. All individuals who perform maintenance on discharging systems pursuant to 12VAC5-640-500 are required to hold a valid Class IV or higher wastewater works operator license or an alternative onsite sewage system operator license issued by the Board for Waterworks and Wastewater Works Operators and Onsite Sewage System Professionals.

Statutory Authority

§§ 32.1-12 and 32.1-164 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-34-400 § 3.12, eff. July 30, 1992; amended, Virginia Register Volume 32, Issue 6, eff. December 16, 2015.

12VAC5-640-510. Information to be reported electronically.

A. Every owner issued an operation permit for a discharging system is responsible for having the results of all mandated testing and inspections submitted to the department in the form and format acceptable to the department.

B. All formal compliance testing, informal testing, repairs, modifications, alterations, expansions and routine maintenance must be reported.

C. All reports and test results must be submitted by the 15th of the month following the month in which the activity occurred.

D. All reports and test results shall be submitted electronically. When formal testing indicates that a discharge limit established in the General Permit is being exceeded or when informal testing indicates a discharging system may be in violation of the General Permit requirements, the owner shall notify the maintenance provider and the department within 24 hours.

Statutory Authority

§§ 32.1-12 and 32.1-164 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-34-400 § 3.13, eff. July 30, 1992; amended, Virginia Register Volume 32, Issue 6, eff. December 16, 2015.

12VAC5-640-520. Failure to submit information.

Failure to conduct mandatory monitoring or to report monitoring results as required in 12VAC5-640-490 and 12VAC5-640-510 may result in the revocation of the owner's operation permit. The department shall notify the Department of Environmental Quality of the revocation of the operation permit.

Statutory Authority

§§ 32.1-12 and 32.1-164 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR355-34-400 § 3.14, eff. July 30, 1992; amended, Virginia Register Volume 32, Issue 6, eff. December 16, 2015.

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