Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
2/6/2023

Part V. Public Involvement

9VAC25-610-250. Public notice of permit or special exception action and public comment period.

A. Every draft permit described in 9VAC25-610-160 A and draft special exception shall be given public notice, paid for by the applicant, by publication once in a newspaper of general circulation in the area affected by the withdrawal.

B. Notice of each draft permit described in 9VAC25-610-160 A and draft special exception will be mailed by the department to each local governing body within the groundwater management area within which the proposed withdrawal will occur on or before the date of public notice.

C. 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.

D. The contents of the public notice of a draft permit or draft special exception action shall include:

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

2. Brief description of the beneficial use that the groundwater withdrawal will support;

3. The name and depth below ground surface of the aquifer that will support the proposed withdrawal;

4. The amount of groundwater withdrawal requested expressed as an average gallonage per day;

5. A statement of the tentative determination to issue or deny a permit or special exception;

6. A brief description of the final determination procedure;

7. The address, email address, and phone number of a specific person or persons at the department's office from whom further information may be obtained; and

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

E. 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 or for draft permits for existing groundwater withdrawals when such draft permits are based solely on historic withdrawals.

F. When a permit or special exception is denied the department will do so in accordance with 9VAC25-610-340.

Statutory Authority

§ 62.1-256 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR680-13-07 § 5.1, eff. September 22, 1993; amended, Virginia Register Volume 15, Issue 5, eff. January 1, 1999; Volume 30, Issue 5, eff. January 1, 2014; Volume 39, Issue 5, eff. November 23, 2022.

9VAC25-610-260. Public access to information.

All information pertaining to groundwater permit processing or in reference to any activity requiring a groundwater permit under this chapter shall be available to the public unless the applicant has made a showing that the information is protected by the applicant as a trade secret covered by § 62.1-44.21 of the Code of Virginia. All information claimed confidential must be identified as such at the time of submission to the department.

Statutory Authority

§ 62.1-256 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR680-13-07 § 5.2, eff. September 22, 1993; amended, Virginia Register Volume 30, Issue 5, eff. January 1, 2014; Volume 39, Issue 5, eff. November 23, 2022.

9VAC25-610-270. Public comments and public hearing.

A. The director shall consider all written comments and requests for a public hearing received during the comment period, and shall make a determination on the necessity of a public hearing in accordance with 9VAC25-610-275. All proceedings, public hearings, and decisions from it will be in accordance with 9VAC25-610-275.

B. Any applicant or permittee aggrieved by an action of the department or director taken without a formal hearing or inaction of the department or director may request in writing a formal hearing pursuant to § 62.1-44.25 of the Code of Virginia.

Statutory Authority

§ 62.1-256 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR680-13-07 § 5.3, eff. September 22, 1993; amended, Virginia Register Volume 30, Issue 5, eff. January 1, 2014; Volume 39, Issue 5, eff. November 23, 2022.

9VAC25-610-275. Criteria for requesting and granting a public hearing on an individual permit or a special exception 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 a 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 of 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 the notice of the decisions 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 or 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

§ 62.1-256 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

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

9VAC25-610-280. Public notice of hearing.

A. Public notice of any public hearing held pursuant to 9VAC25-610-270 and 9VAC25-610-275 shall be circulated as follows:

1. Notice shall be published once in a newspaper of general circulation in the area affected by the proposed withdrawal at least 30 days in advance of the public hearing; and

2. Notice of the public hearing shall be sent to all persons and government agencies which received a copy of the public notice of the draft permit or special exception and to those persons requesting a public hearing or having commented in response to the public in accordance with 9VAC25-610-275.

B. The cost of public notice shall be paid by the applicant.

C. The content of the public notice of any public hearing held pursuant to 9VAC25-610-270 and 9VAC25-610-275 shall include at least the following:

1. Name and address of each person whose application will be considered at the public hearing, the amount of groundwater withdrawal requested expressed as an average gallonage per day, and a brief description of the beneficial use that will be supported by the proposed groundwater withdrawal.

2. The precise location of the proposed withdrawal and the aquifers that will support the withdrawal. 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 or special exception application and draft permit or special exception, including identification number and date of issuance unless the public notice includes the public hearing notice.

4. Information regarding the time and location for the public hearing.

5. The purpose of the public hearing.

6. A concise statement of the relevant issues raised by the persons requesting the public hearing.

7. Contact person and the mailing address, email address, phone number, and name of the Department of Environmental Quality office at which interested persons may obtain further information or request a copy of the draft permit or special exception.

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

D. Public notice of any formal hearing held pursuant to 9VAC25-610-270 B shall be in accordance with Procedural Rule No.1 (9VAC25-230).

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

Statutory Authority

§ 62.1-256 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR680-13-07 § 5.4, eff. September 22, 1993; amended, Virginia Register Volume 30, Issue 5, eff. January 1, 2014; Volume 39, Issue 5, eff. November 23, 2022.

9VAC25-610-285. 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 board, and (iii) the agency files.

Statutory Authority

§ 62.1-256 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

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

9VAC25-610-287. 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

§ 62.1-256 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

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

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