Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code

Article 1. Definitions and Terms

9VAC25-790-10. Definitions.

Unless otherwise specified, for the purpose of this chapter the following words and terms shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Area engineer" means the licensed professional engineer at the Department of Environmental Quality responsible for review and approval of construction plans and related materials who serves the area where a sewerage system or treatment works is located.

"Biosolids" means a sewage sludge that has received an established treatment for required pathogen control and is treated or managed to reduce vector attraction to a satisfactory level and contains limited levels of pollutants, such that it is acceptable for use by land application, marketing or distribution in accordance with the Virginia Pollution Abatement Permit Regulation (9VAC25-32) and the Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Regulation (9VAC25-31).

"Biosolids use facility" means a type of treatment works that specifically treats or stores biosolids.

"Board" means the Virginia State Water Control Board. When used outside the context of the promulgation of regulations, including regulations to establish general permits, "board" means the Department of Environmental Quality.

"CTC" means a Certificate to Construct issued in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. This certificate will normally be in the form of a letter granting authorization for construction.

"CTO" means a Certificate to Operate issued in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. This certificate will normally be in the form of a letter granting authorization for operation.

"Critical areas/waters" means areas/waters in proximity to shellfish waters, a public water supply, recreation or other waters where health or water quality concerns are identified by the Virginia Department of Health or the State Water Control Board.

"Conventional design" means the designs for unit operations (treatment system component) or specific equipment that has been in satisfactory operation for a period of one year or more, for which adequate operational information has been submitted to the department to verify that the unit operation or equipment is designed in substantial compliance with this chapter. Equipment or processes not considered to be conventional may be deemed as alternative or nonconventional.

"Department" means the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

"Director" means the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality or an authorized representative.

"Discharge" means (when used without qualification) discharge of a pollutant.

"Effluent limitations" means any restrictions imposed by the board or department on quantities, discharge rates, and concentrations of pollutants that are discharged from point sources into surface waters, the waters of the contiguous zone, or the ocean.

"Exceptional quality biosolids" means biosolids that have received an established level of treatment for pathogen control and vector attraction reduction and contain known levels of pollutants, such that they may be marketed or distributed for public use in accordance with this chapter.

"Indirect discharger" means a nondomestic discharger introducing pollutants to a POTW.

"Industrial wastes" means liquid or other wastes resulting from any process of industry, manufacture, trade or business, or from the development of any natural resources.

"Land application" means the distribution of treated wastewater of acceptable quality, referred to as effluent, or supernatant from biosolids use facilities or stabilized sewage sludge of acceptable quality, referred to as biosolids, upon, or insertion into, the land with a uniform application rate for the purpose of assimilation, utilization, or pollutant removal. Bulk disposal of stabilized sludge in a confined area, such as in landfills, is not land application.

"Licensee" means an individual holding a valid license issued by the Board for Waterworks and Wastewater Works Operators.

"Licensed operator" means a licensee in the class of the treatment works who is an operator at the treatment works.

"Local review" means a program for obtaining advance approval by the director of an owner's general local plans and specifications for future connections to, or extensions of, existing sewerage systems and of a plan for implementing them, in lieu of obtaining a CTC and CTO for each project within the scope of the plan.

"Manual" and "Manual of Practice" means Part III (9VAC25-790-310 et seq.) of the Sewage Collection and Treatment Regulations.

"Operate" means the act of making a decision on one's own volition (i) to place into or take out of service a unit process or unit processes or (ii) to make or cause adjustments in the operation of a unit process or unit processes at a treatment works.

"Operating staff" means individuals employed or appointed by any owner to work at a treatment works. Included in this definition are licensees whether or not their license is appropriate for the classification and category of the treatment works.

"Operator" means any individual employed or appointed by any owner, and who is designated by such owner to be the person in responsible charge, such as a supervisor, a shift operator, or a substitute in charge, and whose duties include testing or evaluation to control treatment works operations. Not included in this definition are superintendents or directors of public works, city engineers, or other municipal or industrial officials whose duties do not include the actual operation or direct supervision of a treatment works.

"Owner" means the Commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions, including, but not limited to, sanitation district commissions and authorities, and any public or private institution, corporation, association, firm or company organized or existing under the laws of this or any other state or country, or any officer or agency of the United States, or any person or group of persons acting individually or as a group that owns, operates, charters, rents, or otherwise exercises control over or is responsible for any actual or potential discharge of sewage, industrial wastes, or other wastes to state waters, or any facility or operation that has the capability to alter the physical, chemical, or biological properties of state waters in contravention of § 62.1-44.5 of the State Water Control Law.

"Permit" in the context of this chapter means a CTC or a CTO. Permits issued under 9VAC25-31 or 9VAC25-32 will be identified respectively as VPDES permits or VPA permits.

"Primary sludge" means sewage sludge removed from primary settling tanks designed in accordance with this chapter that is readily thickened by gravity thickeners designed in accordance with this chapter.

"Point source" means any discernible, confined and discrete conveyance, including, but not limited to, any pipe, ditch, channel, tunnel, conduit, well, discrete fissure, container, rolling stock, concentrated animal feeding operation, landfill leachate collection system, vessel or other floating craft from which pollutants are or may be discharged. This term does not include return flows from irrigated agriculture or agricultural storm water runoff.

"Pollutant" means dredged spoil, solid waste, incinerator residue, filter backwash, sewage, garbage, sewage sludge, munitions, chemical wastes, biological materials, radioactive materials (except those regulated under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (42 USC 2011 et seq.)), heat, wrecked or discarded equipment, rock, sand, cellar dirt and industrial, municipal, and agricultural waste discharged into the water. It does not mean:

1. Sewage from vessels; or

2. Water, gas, or other material that is injected into a well to facilitate production of oil or gas, or water derived in association with oil and gas production and disposed of in a well, if the well used either to facilitate production or for disposal purposes is approved by the department, and if the department determines that the injection or disposal will not result in the degradation of ground or surface water resources.

"Pollution" means such alteration of the physical, chemical or biological properties of any state waters as will, or is likely to, create a nuisance or render such waters (i) harmful or detrimental or injurious to the public health, safety or welfare, or to the health of animals, fish or aquatic life; (ii) unsuitable with reasonable treatment for use as present or possible future sources of public water supply; or (iii) unsuitable for recreational, commercial, industrial, agricultural or for other reasonable uses; provided that: (a) an alteration of the physical, chemical or biological property of state waters, or either a discharge, or a deposit, of sewage, industrial wastes, or other wastes to state waters by any owner, which by itself is not sufficient to cause pollution, but which, in combination with such alteration of, or discharge, or deposit to state waters by other owners is sufficient to cause pollution; (b) the discharge of untreated sewage by any owner into state waters; and (c) contributing to the contravention of standards of water quality duly established by the State Water Control Board are "pollution" for the terms and purposes of this chapter.

"Reliability" means a measure of the ability of a component or system to perform its designated function without failure or interruption of service.

"Responsible charge" means designation by the owner of any individual to have the duty and authority to operate a treatment works.

"Settled sewage" is effluent from a basin in which sewage is held or remains in quiescent conditions for 12 hours or more and the residual sewage sludge is not reintroduced to the effluent following the holding period. Sewage flows not in conformance with these conditions providing settled sewage shall be defined as nonsettled sewage.

"Sewage" means the water-carried and nonwater-carried human excrement, kitchen, laundry, shower, bath or lavatory wastes, separately or together with such underground, surface, storm and other water and liquid industrial wastes as may be present from residences, buildings, vehicles, industrial establishments or other places.

"Sewage sludge" or "sludge" means any solid, semisolid, or liquid residues which contain materials removed from municipal or domestic wastewater during treatment including primary and secondary residues. Other residuals or solid wastes consisting of materials collected and removed by sewage treatment, septage and portable toilet wastes are so included in this definition. Liquid sludge contains less than 15% dry residue by weight. Dewatered sludge contains 15% or more dry residue by weight.

"Sewerage system" or "sewage collection system" means a sewage collection system consisting of pipelines or conduits, pumping stations and force mains and all other construction, devices and appliances appurtenant thereto, used for the collection and conveyance of sewage to a treatment works or point of ultimate disposal.

"Shall" or "will" means a mandatory requirement.

"Should" means a recommendation.

"Sludge management" means the treatment, handling, transportation, use, distribution or disposal of sewage sludge.

"State waters" means all water, on the surface and under the ground, wholly or partially within, or bordering the state or within its jurisdiction.

"Substantial compliance" means designs that do not exactly conform to the guidelines set forth in Part III as contained in documents submitted pursuant to this chapter but whose construction will not substantially affect health considerations or performance of the sewerage system or treatment works.

"Subsurface disposal" means a sewerage system involving the controlled distribution of treated sewage effluent below the ground surface in a manner that may provide additional treatment and assimilation of the effluent within the soil so as not to create a point source discharge or result in pollution of surface waters.

"Surface waters" means all state waters that are not ground water as defined in § 62.1-255 of the Code of Virginia.

"Toxic pollutant" means any pollutant listed as toxic under § 307(a)(1) or, in the case of sludge use or disposal practices, any pollutant identified in regulations implementing § 405(d) of the Clean Water Act.

"Treatment works" means any device or system used in the storage, treatment, disposal or reclamation of sewage, sewage sludge or combinations of sewage and industrial wastes, including but not limited to pumping, power and other equipment and their appurtenances, septic tanks and any works, including land, that are or will be (i) an integral part of the treatment process or (ii) used for ultimate disposal of residues or effluents resulting from such treatment. Treatment works does not mean land application of biosolids on private land, as permitted under the Virginia Pollution Abatement Permit Regulation (9VAC25-32) and the Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Regulation (9VAC25-31).

"Virginia Pollution Abatement (VPA) permit" means a document issued by the department pursuant to 9VAC25-32 or a general permit issued as a regulation adopted by the board in accordance with 9VAC25-32-260, authorizing pollutant management activities under prescribed conditions.

"Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) Permit" means a document issued by the department pursuant to 9VAC25-31 or a general permit issued as a regulation adopted by the board in accordance with 9VAC25-31-170, authorizing, under prescribed conditions, the potential or actual discharge of pollutants from a point source to surface waters and the use or disposal of sewage sludge. Under the approved state program, a VPDES permit is equivalent to an NPDES permit.

"Water quality standards" means the narrative statements for general requirements and numeric limits for specific requirements, that describe the water quality necessary to meet and maintain reasonable and beneficial uses.

Such standards are established by the State Water Control Board under § 62.l-44.15(3a) of the Code of Virginia as the State Water Quality Standards (9VAC25-260).

Statutory Authority

§ 62.1-44.15 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Former 12VAC5-581-10 derived from Virginia Register Volume 18, Issue 10, eff. February 27, 2002; amended and adopted as 9VAC25-790-10, Virginia Register Volume 20, Issue 9, eff. February 12, 2004; Errata 20:12 VA.R. 1526 February 23, 2004; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 6, eff. January 1, 2008; Volume 39, Issue 5, eff. November 23, 2022.

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