Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 62.1. Waters of the State, Ports and Harbors
Chapter 3.1. State Water Control Law
12/1/2020

This section has more than one version with varying effective dates. Scroll down to see all versions.

§ 62.1-44.15:55. (For contingent expiration date, see Acts 2016, cc. 68 and 758, as amended by Acts 2017, c. 345) Regulated land-disturbing activities; submission and approval of erosion and sediment control plan.

A. Except as provided in § 62.1-44.15:56 for state agency and federal entity land-disturbing activities, no person shall engage in any land-disturbing activity until he has submitted to the VESCP authority an erosion and sediment control plan for the land-disturbing activity and the plan has been reviewed and approved. Upon the development of an online reporting system by the Department, but no later than July 1, 2014, a VESCP authority shall then be required to obtain evidence of Virginia Stormwater Management Program permit coverage where it is required prior to providing approval to begin land disturbance. Where land-disturbing activities involve lands under the jurisdiction of more than one VESCP, an erosion and sediment control plan may, at the request of one or all of the VESCP authorities, be submitted to the Department for review and approval rather than to each jurisdiction concerned. The Department may charge the jurisdictions requesting the review a fee sufficient to cover the cost associated with conducting the review. A VESCP may enter into an agreement with an adjacent VESCP regarding the administration of multijurisdictional projects whereby the jurisdiction that contains the greater portion of the project shall be responsible for all or part of the administrative procedures. Where the land-disturbing activity results from the construction of a single-family residence, an agreement in lieu of a plan may be substituted for an erosion and sediment control plan if executed by the VESCP authority.

B. The VESCP authority shall review erosion and sediment control plans submitted to it and grant written approval within 60 days of the receipt of the plan if it determines that the plan meets the requirements of this article and the Board's regulations and if the person responsible for carrying out the plan certifies that he will properly perform the erosion and sediment control measures included in the plan and shall comply with the provisions of this article. In addition, as a prerequisite to engaging in the land-disturbing activities shown on the approved plan, the person responsible for carrying out the plan shall provide the name of an individual holding a certificate of competence to the VESCP authority, as provided by § 62.1-44.15:52, who will be in charge of and responsible for carrying out the land-disturbing activity. However, any VESCP authority may waive the certificate of competence requirement for an agreement in lieu of a plan for construction of a single-family residence. If a violation occurs during the land-disturbing activity, then the person responsible for carrying out the agreement in lieu of a plan shall correct the violation and provide the name of an individual holding a certificate of competence, as provided by § 62.1-44.15:52. Failure to provide the name of an individual holding a certificate of competence prior to engaging in land-disturbing activities may result in revocation of the approval of the plan and the person responsible for carrying out the plan shall be subject to the penalties provided in this article.

When a plan is determined to be inadequate, written notice of disapproval stating the specific reasons for disapproval shall be communicated to the applicant within 45 days. The notice shall specify the modifications, terms, and conditions that will permit approval of the plan. If no action is taken by the VESCP authority within the time specified in this subsection, the plan shall be deemed approved and the person authorized to proceed with the proposed activity. The VESCP authority shall act on any erosion and sediment control plan that has been previously disapproved within 45 days after the plan has been revised, resubmitted for approval, and deemed adequate.

C. The VESCP authority may require changes to an approved plan in the following cases:

1. Where inspection has revealed that the plan is inadequate to satisfy applicable regulations; or

2. Where the person responsible for carrying out the approved plan finds that because of changed circumstances or for other reasons the approved plan cannot be effectively carried out, and proposed amendments to the plan, consistent with the requirements of this article and associated regulations, are agreed to by the VESCP authority and the person responsible for carrying out the plan.

D. Electric, natural gas, and telephone utility companies, interstate and intrastate natural gas pipeline companies, and railroad companies shall, and authorities created pursuant to § 15.2-5102 may, file general erosion and sediment control standards and specifications annually with the Department for review and approval. Such standards and specifications shall be consistent with the requirements of this article and associated regulations and the Stormwater Management Act (§ 62.1-44.15:24 et seq.) and associated regulations where applicable. The specifications shall apply to:

1. Construction, installation, or maintenance of electric transmission, natural gas, and telephone utility lines and pipelines, and water and sewer lines; and

2. Construction of the tracks, rights-of-way, bridges, communication facilities, and other related structures and facilities of the railroad company.

The Department shall have 60 days in which to approve the standards and specifications. If no action is taken by the Department within 60 days, the standards and specifications shall be deemed approved. Individual approval of separate projects within subdivisions 1 and 2 is not necessary when approved specifications are followed. Projects not included in subdivisions 1 and 2 shall comply with the requirements of the appropriate VESCP. The Board shall have the authority to enforce approved specifications and charge fees equal to the lower of (i) $1,000 or (ii) an amount sufficient to cover the costs associated with standard and specification review and approval, project inspections, and compliance.

E. Any person engaging, in more than one jurisdiction, in the creation and operation of a wetland mitigation or stream restoration bank or banks, which have been approved and are operated in accordance with applicable federal and state guidance, laws, or regulations for the establishment, use, and operation of (i) wetlands mitigation or stream restoration banks, pursuant to a mitigation banking instrument signed by the Department of Environmental Quality, the Marine Resources Commission, or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, or (ii) a stream restoration project for purposes of reducing nutrients or sediment entering state waters may, at the option of that person, file general erosion and sediment control standards and specifications for wetland mitigation or stream restoration banks annually with the Department for review and approval consistent with guidelines established by the Board.

The Department shall have 60 days in which to approve the specifications. If no action is taken by the Department within 60 days, the specifications shall be deemed approved. Individual approval of separate projects under this subsection is not necessary when approved specifications are implemented through a project-specific erosion and sediment control plan. Projects not included in this subsection shall comply with the requirements of the appropriate local erosion and sediment control program. The Board shall have the authority to enforce approved specifications and charge fees equal to the lower of (i) $1,000 or (ii) an amount sufficient to cover the costs associated with standard and specification review and approval, projection inspections, and compliance. Approval of general erosion and sediment control specifications by the Department does not relieve the owner or operator from compliance with any other local ordinances and regulations including requirements to submit plans and obtain permits as may be required by such ordinances and regulations.

F. In order to prevent further erosion, a VESCP authority may require approval of an erosion and sediment control plan for any land identified by the VESCP authority as an erosion impact area.

G. For the purposes of subsections A and B, when land-disturbing activity will be required of a contractor performing construction work pursuant to a construction contract, the preparation, submission, and approval of an erosion and sediment control plan shall be the responsibility of the owner.

1973, c. 486, § 21-89.6; 1979, c. 432; 1988, cc. 732, 891, § 10.1-563; 1993, c. 925; 1999, c. 555; 2001, c. 490; 2003, cc. 827, 966; 2006, c. 466; 2008, c. 23; 2011, cc. 720, 721; 2012, cc. 785, 819; 2013, cc. 756, 793; 2018, c. 627.

§ 62.1-44.15:55. (For contingent effective date, see Acts 2016, cc. 68 and 758, as amended by Acts 2017, c. 345) Regulated land-disturbing activities; submission and approval of erosion and sediment control plan.

A. Except as provided in § 62.1-44.15:31 for a land-disturbing activity conducted by a state agency, federal entity, or other specified entity, no person shall engage in any land-disturbing activity until he has submitted to the VESCP authority an erosion and sediment control plan for the land-disturbing activity and the plan has been reviewed and approved. Where Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit coverage is required, a VESCP authority shall be required to obtain evidence of such coverage from the Department's online reporting system prior to approving the erosion and sediment control plan. A VESCP authority may enter into an agreement with an adjacent VESCP or VESMP authority regarding the administration of multijurisdictional projects specifying who shall be responsible for all or part of the administrative procedures. Should adjacent authorities fail to come to such an agreement, each shall be responsible for administering the area of the multijurisdictional project that lies within its jurisdiction. Where the land-disturbing activity results from the construction of a single-family residence, an agreement in lieu of a plan may be substituted for an erosion and sediment control plan if executed by the VESCP authority.

B. The VESCP authority shall review erosion and sediment control plans submitted to it and grant written approval within 60 days of the receipt of the plan if it determines that the plan meets the requirements of this article and the Board's regulations and if the person responsible for carrying out the plan certifies that he will properly perform the erosion and sediment control measures included in the plan and shall comply with the provisions of this article. In addition, as a prerequisite to engaging in the land-disturbing activities shown on the approved plan, the person responsible for carrying out the plan shall provide the name of an individual holding a certificate to the VESCP authority, as provided by § 62.1-44.15:52, who will be in charge of and responsible for carrying out the land-disturbing activity. However, any VESCP authority may waive the certificate requirement for an agreement in lieu of a plan for construction of a single-family residence. If a violation occurs during the land-disturbing activity, then the person responsible for carrying out the agreement in lieu of a plan shall correct the violation and provide the name of an individual holding a certificate, as provided by § 62.1-44.15:52. Failure to provide the name of an individual holding a certificate prior to engaging in land-disturbing activities may result in revocation of the approval of the plan and the person responsible for carrying out the plan shall be subject to the penalties provided in this article.

When a plan is determined to be inadequate, written notice of disapproval stating the specific reasons for disapproval shall be communicated to the applicant within 45 days. The notice shall specify the modifications, terms, and conditions that will permit approval of the plan. If no action is taken by the VESCP authority within the time specified in this subsection, the plan shall be deemed approved and the person authorized to proceed with the proposed activity. The VESCP authority shall act on any erosion and sediment control plan that has been previously disapproved within 45 days after the plan has been revised, resubmitted for approval, and deemed adequate.

C. The VESCP authority may require changes to an approved plan in the following cases:

1. Where inspection has revealed that the plan is inadequate to satisfy applicable regulations; or

2. Where the person responsible for carrying out the approved plan finds that because of changed circumstances or for other reasons the approved plan cannot be effectively carried out, and proposed amendments to the plan, consistent with the requirements of this article and associated regulations, are agreed to by the VESCP authority and the person responsible for carrying out the plan.

D. In order to prevent further erosion, a VESCP authority may require approval of an erosion and sediment control plan for any land identified by the VESCP authority as an erosion impact area.

E. For the purposes of subsections A and B, when land-disturbing activity will be required of a contractor performing construction work pursuant to a construction contract, the preparation, submission, and approval of an erosion and sediment control plan shall be the responsibility of the owner.

F. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this article, the following activities are not required to comply with the requirements of this article unless otherwise required by federal law:

1. Disturbance of a land area of less than 10,000 square feet in size or less than 2,500 square feet in an area designated as a Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area pursuant to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act (§ 62.1-44.15:67 et seq.). However, the governing body of the program authority may reduce this exception to a smaller area of disturbed land or qualify the conditions under which this exception shall apply;

2. Minor land-disturbing activities such as home gardens and individual home landscaping, repairs, and maintenance work;

3. Installation, maintenance, or repair of any individual service connection;

4. Installation, maintenance, or repair of any underground utility line when such activity occurs on an existing hard surfaced road, street, or sidewalk, provided the land-disturbing activity is confined to the area of the road, street, or sidewalk that is hard surfaced;

5. Installation, maintenance, or repair of any septic tank line or drainage field unless included in an overall plan for land-disturbing activity relating to construction of the building to be served by the septic tank system;

6. Permitted surface or deep mining operations and projects, or oil and gas operations and projects conducted pursuant to Title 45.1;

7. Clearing of lands specifically for bona fide agricultural purposes; the management, tilling, planting, or harvesting of agricultural, horticultural, or forest crops; livestock feedlot operations; agricultural engineering operations, including construction of terraces, terrace outlets, check dams, desilting basins, dikes, ponds, ditches, strip cropping, lister furrowing, contour cultivating, contour furrowing, land drainage, and land irrigation; or as additionally set forth by the Board in regulations. However, this exception shall not apply to harvesting of forest crops unless the area on which harvesting occurs is reforested artificially or naturally in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 11 (§ 10.1-1100 et seq.) of Title 10.1 or is converted to bona fide agricultural or improved pasture use as described in subsection B of § 10.1-1163;

8. Installation of fence and sign posts or telephone and electric poles and other kinds of posts or poles;

9. Shoreline erosion control projects on tidal waters when all of the land-disturbing activities are within the regulatory authority of and approved by local wetlands boards, the Marine Resources Commission, or the United States Army Corps of Engineers; however, any associated land that is disturbed outside of this exempted area shall remain subject to this article and the regulations adopted pursuant thereto;

10. Land-disturbing activities in response to a public emergency where the related work requires immediate authorization to avoid imminent endangerment to human health or the environment. In such situations, the VESMP authority shall be advised of the disturbance within seven days of commencing the land-disturbing activity, and compliance with the administrative requirements of subsection A is required within 30 days of commencing the land-disturbing activity;

11. Discharges to a sanitary sewer or a combined sewer system that are not from a land-disturbing activity; and

12. Repair or rebuilding of the tracks, rights-of-way, bridges, communication facilities, and other related structures and facilities of a railroad company.

1973, c. 486, § 21-89.6; 1979, c. 432; 1988, cc. 732, 891, § 10.1-563; 1993, c. 925; 1999, c. 555; 2001, c. 490; 2003, cc. 827, 966; 2006, c. 466; 2008, c. 23; 2011, cc. 720, 721; 2012, cc. 785, 819; 2013, cc. 756, 793; 2016, cc. 68, 758.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.