Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
5/30/2024

Part III. Public Involvement in Permit Process

9VAC25-220-150. Public notice of permit action and public comment period.

A. Every draft permit shall be given public notice paid for by the owner, by publication once in a newspaper of general circulation in the area affected by the withdrawal.

B. The department shall allow a period of at least 30 days following the date of the public notice for interested persons to submit written comments on the tentative decision and to request a public hearing.

C. The contents of the public notice of an application for a permit, or proposed permit action shall include:

1. Name and address of the applicant. If the location of the activity resulting in the withdrawal of water differs from the address of the applicant the notice shall also state the location of the withdrawal in sufficient detail such that the specific location may be easily identified;

2. Brief description of the business or activity to be conducted at the withdrawal site;

3. The name of the affected waterway;

4. A statement of the tentative determination to issue or deny a permit;

5. A brief description of the final determination procedure;

6. The address and phone number of a specific person at the state office from whom further information may be obtained; and

7. A brief description on how to submit comments and request a public hearing.

Statutory Authority

§ 62.1-249 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR680-15-03 § 3.1, eff. June 3, 1992; amended, Virginia Register Volume 39, Issue 5, eff. November 23, 2022.

9VAC25-220-160. Public access to information.

All information pertaining to permit processing or in reference to any source of water withdrawal shall be available to the public.

Statutory Authority

Chapter 24 (§ 62.1-242 et seq.) of Title 62.1 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR680-15-03 § 3.2, eff. June 3, 1992.

9VAC25-220-170. Public comments and hearing.

A. The department shall provide a comment period of at least 30 days following the date of public notice of the formulation of a draft permit during which interested persons may submit written comments and requests for an informal hearing on the proposed permit. All written comments submitted during the comment period shall be retained by the department and considered during its final decision process.

B. The director shall consider all written comments and requests for an informal hearing received during the comment period, and shall make a determination on the necessity of an informal hearing in accordance with 9VAC25-220-175.

C. Should the director, in accordance with 9VAC25-220-175, determine to dispense with the informal hearing, the director may grant the permit.

Statutory Authority

§ 62.1-249 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR680-15-03 § 3.3, eff. June 3, 1992; amended, Virginia Register Volume 39, Issue 5, eff. November 23, 2022.

9VAC25-220-175. Criteria for requesting and granting a public hearing in a permit action.

A. During the public comment period on a permit action in those instances where a public hearing is not mandatory under state or federal law or regulation, interested persons may request a public hearing to contest the action or terms and conditions of the permit.

B. Requests for a public hearing shall contain the following information:

1. The name and postal mailing or email address of the requester;

2. The names and addresses of all persons for whom the requester is acting as a representative;

3. The reason for the request for a public hearing;

4. A brief, informal statement setting forth the factual nature and extent of the interest of the requester or the persons for whom the requester is acting as representative in the application or tentative determination, including an explanation of how and to what extent such interest would be directly and adversely affected by the issuance, denial, modification, or revocation of the permit in question; and

5. Where possible, specific references to the terms and conditions of the permit in question, together with suggested revisions and alterations to those terms and conditions that the requester considers are needed to conform the permit to the intent and provisions of the basic laws of the State Water Control Board.

C. Upon completion of the public comment period on a permit action, the director shall review all timely requests for public hearing filed during the comment period on the permit action and, within 30 calendar days following the expiration of the time period for the submission of requests, shall grant a public hearing, unless the permittee or applicant agrees to a later date if the director finds the following:

1. That there is a significant public interest in the issuance, denial, modification, or revocation of the permit in question as evidenced by receipt of a minimum of 25 individual requests for a public hearing;

2. That the requesters raise substantial, disputed issues relevant to the issuance, denial, modification, or revocation of the permit in question; and

3. That the action requested by the interested party is not on its face inconsistent with or in violation of the basic laws of the State Water Control Board for a water permit action, a federal law, or any regulation promulgated thereunder.

D. The director of DEQ shall notify by email or postal mail at his last known address (i) each requester and (ii) the applicant or permittee of the decision to grant or deny a public hearing.

E. If the request for a public hearing is granted, the director shall:

1. Schedule the hearing at a time between 45 and 75 days after emailing or mailing of the notice of the decision to grant the public hearing.

2. Cause or require the applicant to publish notice of a public hearing to be published once, in a newspaper of general circulation in the city or county where the facility or operation that is the subject of the permit or permit application is located, at least 30 days before the hearing date.

F. The public comment period shall remain open for 15 days after the close of the public hearing if required by § 62.1-44.15:01 of the Code of Virginia.

G. The director may, at the director's discretion, convene a public hearing in a permit action.

Statutory Authority

§ 62.1-249 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 39, Issue 5, eff. November 23, 2022.

9VAC25-220-180. Public notice of hearing.

A. Public notice of any informal hearing held pursuant to 9VAC25-220-170 and 9VAC25-220-175 shall be circulated as follows:

1. Notice shall be published once in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or city where the activity is to occur; and

2. Notice of the informal hearing shall be sent to all persons and government agencies which received a copy of the notice of proposed regulation or permit application and to those persons requesting an informal hearing or having commented in response to the public notice.

B. Notice shall be effected pursuant to subdivisions A 1 and 2 above at least 30 days in advance of the informal hearing.

C. The content of the public notice of any hearing held pursuant to 9VAC25-220-170 and 9VAC25-220-175 shall include at least the following:

1. Name and address of each person whose application will be considered at the informal hearing and a brief description of the person's activities or operations;

2. The precise location of such activity and the state surface waters that will or may be affected. The location should be described, where possible, with reference to route numbers, road intersections, map coordinates or similar information;

3. A brief reference to the public notice issued for the permit application, including identification number and date of issuance of the permit application unless the public notice includes the informal hearing notice;

4. Information regarding the time and location for the informal hearing;

5. The purpose of the informal hearing;

6. A concise statement of the relevant water withdrawal issues raised by the persons requesting the informal hearing;

7. Contact person and the address of the Department of Environmental Quality office at which the interested persons may obtain further information, request a copy of the draft permit prepared pursuant to 9VAC25-220-110; and

8. A brief reference to the rules and procedures to be followed at the informal hearing.

D. The public comment period shall remain open for 15 days after the close of the public hearing if required by § 62.1-44.15:01 of the Code of Virginia.

Statutory Authority

§ 62.1-249 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR680-15-03 § 3.4, eff. June 3, 1992; amended, Virginia Register Volume 39, Issue 5, eff. November 23, 2022.

9VAC25-220-185. Controversial permits.

Before rendering a final decision on a controversial permit, the department shall publish a summary of public comments received during the applicable public comment period and public hearing. After such publication, the department shall publish responses to the public comment summary and hold a public hearing to provide an opportunity for individuals who previously commented, either at a public hearing or in writing during the applicable public comment period, to respond to the department's public comment summary and response. No new information will be accepted at that time. In making its decision, the department shall consider (i) the verbal and written comments received during the comment period and the public hearing made part of the record, (ii) any commentary of the broad, and (iii) the agency files.

Statutory Authority

§ 62.1-249 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 39, Issue 5, eff. November 23, 2022.

9VAC25-220-187. Controversial permits reporting.

At each regular meeting of the board, the department shall provide an overview and update regarding any controversial permits pending before the department that are relevant. Immediately after such presentation by the department, the board shall have an opportunity to respond to the department's presentation and provide commentary regarding such pending permits.

Statutory Authority

§ 62.1-249 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 39, Issue 5, eff. November 23, 2022.

9VAC25-220-190. Public notice that permit conditions are in force.

A. When permit conditions become applicable in a surface water management area, the department shall notify each permittee by mail, electronic or postal delivery, or cause notice of it to be published in a newspaper of general circulation throughout the area.

B. The department shall notify each permittee by mail, electronic or postal delivery, or cause notice of it to be published in a newspaper of general circulation throughout the surface water management area when the declaration of water shortage is rescinded.

Statutory Authority

§ 62.1-249 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR680-15-03 § 2.2, eff. June 3, 1992; amended, Virginia Register Volume 29, Issue 24, eff. September 1, 2013; Volume 39, Issue 5, eff. November 23, 2022.

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