Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 10.1. Conservation
Chapter 21.1. Virginia Water Quality Improvement Act of 1997
12/1/2022

Article 3. Cooperative Nonpoint Source Pollution Program.

§ 10.1-2123. Definitions.

As used in this article, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Board" means the State Water Control Board.

"Department" means the Department of Environmental Quality.

"Director" means the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality.

1997, cc. 21, 625, 626; 2013, cc. 756, 793.

§ 10.1-2124. Cooperative nonpoint source pollution program.

A. The state has the responsibility under Article XI of the Constitution of Virginia to protect the bays, lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, and other state waters of the Commonwealth from pollution and impairment. Commercial and residential development of land as well as agricultural and other land uses may cause the impairment of state waters through nonpoint source pollution. In the exercise of their authority to control land use and development, it is the responsibility of counties, cities, and towns to consider the protection of all bays, lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, and other state waters from nonpoint source pollution. The exercise of environmental stewardship by individuals is necessary to protect state waters from nonpoint source pollution. To promote achievement of the directives of Article XI of the Constitution of Virginia and to implement the cooperative programs established by this chapter, the state shall assist local governments, soil and water conservation districts and individuals in restoring, protecting and improving water quality through grants provided from the Fund.

B. In order to restore, protect, and improve the quality of all bays, lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, and other state waters, and to achieve the pollution reduction goals, including nutrient reduction goals, established in commitments made by the Commonwealth to water quality restoration, protection, and enhancement, including but not limited to the Chesapeake Bay Agreement, as amended, the Department shall assist local governments, soil and water conservation districts, and individuals in the control of nonpoint source pollution, including nutrient reduction, through technical and financial assistance made available through grants provided from the Fund as provided in § 10.1-2132.

C. In order to engage stakeholders within each of the Commonwealth's 14 major river basins to develop comprehensive strategic plans to mitigate and prevent local nonpoint source water pollution, the Department may establish the Watershed Coordination Program, hereinafter referred to as "the Program." The Program shall continue the work of watershed roundtables, support citizen stewardship activities, and be coordinated with the agencies of the Secretariat of Natural and Historic Resources, the Department of Forestry, and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The Program shall be funded with private funds; however, the Department may assist with the initial costs associated with the development of the Program to the extent that funding is available. The Department may assist in fund-raising efforts to supplement the Fund and provide assistance to the fund-raising efforts of the watershed roundtables. The Program shall strive to provide appropriate incentives for achievements to include public recognition and awards.

1997, cc. 21, 625, 626; 2004, c. 413.

§ 10.1-2125. Powers and duties of the Board.

The Board, in meeting its responsibilities under the cooperative program established by this article, after consultation with other appropriate agencies, is authorized and has the duty to:

1. Encourage and promote nonpoint source pollution control and prevention, including nutrient control and prevention, for the: (i) protection of public drinking water supplies; (ii) promotion of water resource conservation; (iii) protection of existing high quality state waters and restoration of all other state waters to a condition or quality that will permit all reasonable beneficial uses and will support the propagation and growth of all aquatic life, including finfish and shellfish, which might reasonably be expected to inhabit them; (iv) protection of all state waters from nonpoint source pollution; (v) prevention of any increase in nonpoint source pollution; (vi) reduction of existing nonpoint source pollution; (vii) attainment and maintenance of water quality standards established under subdivisions (3a) and (3b) of § 62.1-44.15; and (viii) attainment of commitments made by the Commonwealth to water quality restoration, protection and enhancement including the goals of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement, as amended, all in order to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the present and future citizens of the Commonwealth.

2. Provide technical assistance and advice to local governments and individuals concerning aspects of water quality restoration, protection and improvement relevant to nonpoint source pollution.

3. Apply for, and accept, federal funds and funds from any other source, public or private, that may become available and to transmit such funds to the Fund for the purpose of providing Water Quality Improvement Grants as prescribed in Article 4 (§ 10.1-2128 et seq.) of this chapter.

4. Enter into contracts necessary and convenient to carry out the provisions of this article.

5. Seek the assistance of other state agencies and entities including but not limited to the Department of Forestry and the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board as appropriate in carrying out its responsibilities under this chapter.

1997, cc. 21, 625, 626; 2005, c. 41.

§ 10.1-2126. Additional powers and duties of Director.

A. In furtherance of the purposes of this article, the Director is authorized to utilize the Fund for the purpose of providing Water Quality Improvement Grants as prescribed in Article 4 (§ 10.1-2128 et seq.) of this chapter.

B. The Director shall be vested with the authority of the Board when the Board is not in session, subject to such limitations as may be prescribed by the Board. In no event shall the Director have the authority to promulgate any final regulation pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

1997, cc. 21, 625, 626.

§ 10.1-2127. Nonpoint source pollution water quality assessment.

A. The Department, in conjunction with other state agencies, shall evaluate and report on the impacts of nonpoint source pollution on water quality and water quality improvement to the Governor and the General Assembly. This evaluation shall be incorporated into the § 305(b) water quality report of the Clean Water Act developed pursuant to § 62.1-44.19:5. The evaluation shall at a minimum include considerations of water quality standards, fishing bans, shellfish contamination, aquatic life monitoring, sediment sampling, fish tissue sampling and human health standards. The report shall be produced in accordance with the schedule required by federal law, but shall incorporate at least the preceding five years of data. Data older than five years shall be incorporated when scientifically appropriate for trend analysis. The report shall, at a minimum, include an assessment of the geographic regions where water quality is demonstrated to be impaired or degraded as the result of nonpoint source pollution and an evaluation of the basis or cause for such impairment or degradation.

B. The Department and a county, city or town or any combination of counties, cities and towns comprising all or part of any geographic region identified pursuant to subsection A as contributing to the impairment or degradation of state waters may develop a cooperative program to address identified nonpoint source pollution impairment or degradation, including excess nutrients. The program may include, in addition to other elements, a delineation of state and local government responsibilities and duties and may provide for the implementation of initiatives to address the causes of nonpoint source pollution, including those related to excess nutrients. These initiatives may include the modification, if necessary, of local government land use control ordinances. All state agencies shall cooperate and provide assistance in developing and implementing such programs.

C. The Department and a county, city or town or any combination of counties, cities and towns comprising all or part of any geographic region not identified pursuant to subsection A as contributing to the impairment or degradation of state waters may develop a cooperative program to prevent nonpoint source pollution impairment or degradation. The program may include, in addition to other elements, a delineation of state and local government responsibilities and duties and may provide for the implementation of initiatives to address the nonpoint source pollution causes, including the modification, if necessary, of local government land use control ordinances. All state agencies shall cooperate and provide assistance in developing and implementing such programs.

D. The Department shall, on or before January 1 of each year, report to the Governor and the General Assembly on whether cooperative nonpoint source pollution programs, including nutrient reduction programs, developed pursuant to this section are being effectively implemented to meet the objectives of this article. This annual report may be incorporated as part of the report required by § 62.1-44.118.

1997, cc. 21, 625, 626; 2003, c. 741; 2007, c. 637.