Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
6/25/2022

Part III. Public Involvement

9VAC25-32-140. Public notice of VPA permit action and public comment period.

A. Draft VPA permits.

1. Every draft VPA permit shall be given public notice, paid for by the owner, by publication once a week for two successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the area affected by the pollutant management activity except for animal feeding operations as defined in 9VAC25-32-10, when the modifications are to the nutrient management plan.

2. Interested persons shall have a period of at least 30 days following the date of the initial newspaper public notice to submit written comments on the tentative decision and to request a public hearing.

3. The contents of the public notice of an application for a VPA permit shall include:

a. The name and address of the applicant. If the location of the pollutant management activity differs from the address of the applicant the notice shall also state the location of the pollutant management activity including storage and land application sites;

b. A brief description of the business or activity conducted at the facility;

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

d. A brief description of the final determination procedure;

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

f. A brief description of how to submit comments and request a hearing.

B. VPA permit application.

1. Upon receipt of an application for the issuance of a new or modified permit, the department shall notify in writing the locality wherein the pollutant management activity does or is proposed to take place. This notification shall, at a minimum, include:

a. The name of the applicant;

b. The nature of the application and proposed pollutant management activity;

c. The availability and timing of any comment period; and

d. Upon request, any other information known to, or in the possession of, the board or the department regarding the application except as restricted by 9VAC25-32-150.

2. Whenever the department receives an application for a new permit for land application of biosolids or land disposal of treated sewage, stabilized sewage sludge, or stabilized septage, or an application to reissue with the addition of sites increasing acreage by 50% or more of that authorized in the initial permit, the department shall establish a date for a public meeting to discuss technical issues relating to proposals for land application of biosolids or land disposal of treated sewage, stabilized sewage sludge or stabilized septage. The department shall give notice of the date, time, and place of the public meeting and a description of the proposal by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the city or county where the proposal is to take place. Public notice of the scheduled meeting shall occur no fewer than seven nor more than 14 days prior to the meeting. The department shall not issue the permit until the public meeting has been held and comment has been received from the local governing body or until 30 days have lapsed from the date of the public meeting.

3. Following the submission of an application for a new permit for land application of biosolids or land disposal of treated sewage, stabilized sewage sludge, or stabilized septage, the department shall make a good faith effort to notify or cause to be notified persons residing on property bordering the sites that contain the proposed land application fields. This notification shall be in a manner selected by the department. For the purposes of this subsection, "site" means all contiguous land under common ownership, but which may contain more than one tax parcel.

4. Public notice shall not be required for submission or approval of plans and specifications or conceptual engineering reports not required to be submitted as part of the application.

C. Following the submission of an application to add a site that is not contiguous to sites included in an existing permit authorizing the land application of biosolids:

1. The department shall notify persons residing on property bordering such site and shall receive written comments from those persons for a period of 30 days. Based upon written comments, the department shall determine whether additional site-specific requirements should be included in the authorization for land application at the site.

2. An application for any permit amendment to increase the acreage authorized by the initial permit by 50% or more shall be considered a major modification and shall be treated as a new application for purposes of public notice and public hearings. The increase in acreage for the purpose of determining the need for the public meeting is the sum of all acreage that has been added to the permit since the last public meeting, plus that proposed to be added.

D. Before issuing any permit, if the board finds that there are localities particularly affected by the permit, the board shall:

1. Publish, or require the applicant to publish, a notice in a local paper of general circulation in the localities affected at least 30 days prior to the close of any public comment period. Such notice shall contain a statement of the estimated local impact of the proposed permit, which at a minimum shall include information on the specific pollutants involved and the total quantity of each which may be discharged; and

2. Mail, by electronic or postal delivery, the notice to the chief elected official and chief administrative officer and planning district commission for those localities.

Written comments shall be accepted by the board for at least 15 days after any public hearing on the permit, unless the board votes to shorten the period. For the purposes of this section, the term "locality particularly affected" means any locality which bears any identified disproportionate material water quality impact which would not be experienced by other localities.

Statutory Authority

§ 62.1-44.15 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 12, Issue 20, eff. July 24, 1996; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 6, eff. January 1, 2008; Volume 25, Issue 26, eff. September 30, 2009; Volume 29, Issue 24, eff. September 1, 2013; Volume 32, Issue 5, eff. December 2, 2015.

9VAC25-32-150. Public access to information.

A. Any secret formulae, secret processes, or secret methods other than effluent data submitted to the department pursuant to this chapter may be claimed as confidential by the submitter pursuant to § 62.1-44.21 of the Code of Virginia. Any such claim must be asserted at the time of submission in the manner prescribed on the application form or instructions or, in the case of other submissions, by stamping the words "secret formulae, secret processes or secret methods" on each page containing such information. If no claim is made at the time of submission, the department may make the information available to the public without further notice. If a claim is asserted, the information will be treated in accordance with the procedures in the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.1-340 et seq. of the Code of Virginia) and § 62.1-44.21 of the Code of Virginia.

B. Claims of confidentiality for the following information will be denied:

1. The name and address of any permit applicant or permittee; and

2. Permit applications, permits, and effluent data.

C. Information required by VPDES application forms provided by the department may not be claimed confidential. This includes information submitted on the forms themselves and any attachments used to supply information required by the forms.

Statutory Authority

§§ 62.1-44.15, 62.1-44.16, 62.1-44.17, 62.1-44.18, and 62.1-44.19 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 12, Issue 20, eff. July 24, 1996.

9VAC25-32-160. Conditions requested by other government agencies.

If during the comment period any other state agency with jurisdiction over fish, wildlife, or public health advises the department in writing that the imposition of specified conditions upon the VPA permit is necessary to avoid substantial impairment of human health or of fish, shellfish, or wildlife resources, the board shall consider the inclusion of the specified conditions in the VPA permit. If any conditions requested are not included in the VPA permit, the agency making the request shall be notified of the reasons for not including the conditions.

Statutory Authority

§§ 62.1-44.15, 62.1-44.16, 62.1-44.17, 62.1-44.18, and 62.1-44.19 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 12, Issue 20, eff. July 24, 1996.

9VAC25-32-170. Public comments and hearings.

A. A comment period of at least 30 days following the initial date of the newspaper public notice of the formulation of a draft VPA permit shall be provided. During this period any interested persons may submit written comments on the draft VPA permit and may request a public hearing. A request for a public hearing shall be in writing and shall state the nature of the issues to be raised pursuant to the board's Procedural Rule No. 1 (9VAC25-230-10 et seq.), or its successor. All comments shall be considered by the board in preparing the final VPA permit and shall be responded to in writing.

B. The board may hold a public hearing on any permit action. The board shall hold a public hearing where there is a significant degree of public interest relevant to a draft VPA permit. Public notice of that hearing shall be given as specified in 9VAC25-32-180. Nothing in this subsection shall relieve the board of the requirement to hold a hearing where a hearing is required by applicable law or regulation.

C. Any hearing convened pursuant to this section will be held in the geographical area of the proposed pollutant management activity, or in another appropriate area. Related groups of VPA permit applications may be considered at any such hearing.

D. If changes are made to the VPA permit based on public comments, the permittee and all persons who commented will be notified of the changes and the reasons for the changes. No further public notice is required.

E. Any owner aggrieved by any action of the board taken without a formal hearing, or by inaction of the board, may demand in writing a formal hearing pursuant to § 62.1-44.25 of the Code of Virginia.

F. Proceedings at, and the decision from, the public hearing will be governed by the board's Procedural Rule No. 1 (9VAC25-230-10 et seq) or its successor.

Statutory Authority

§§ 62.1-44.15, 62.1-44.16, 62.1-44.17, 62.1-44.18, and 62.1-44.19 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 12, Issue 20, eff. July 24, 1996.

9VAC25-32-180. Public notice of hearing.

A. Public notice of any hearing held pursuant to 9VAC25-32-170 shall be circulated as follows:

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

2. Notice of the hearing shall be sent to all persons and government agencies which received a copy of the notice of the VPA permit application.

B. Notice shall be effected pursuant to subsection A of this section at least 30 days in advance of the hearing.

C. The content of the public notice of any hearing held pursuant to 9VAC25-32-170 shall include at least the following:

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

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

3. Information regarding the time and location for the hearing;

4. The purpose of the hearing;

5. A concise statement of the issues raised by the persons requesting the hearing;

6. The name of a contact person and the address at which interested persons may obtain further information, request a copy of the draft VPA permit prepared pursuant to 9VAC25-32-110, request a copy of the fact sheet prepared pursuant to 9VAC25-32-120 and inspect or arrange for receipt of copies of forms and related documents; and

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

Statutory Authority

§§ 62.1-44.15, 62.1-44.16, 62.1-44.17, 62.1-44.18, and 62.1-44.19 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 12, Issue 20, eff. July 24, 1996.

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