VSMP Partners and Their Roles*

To provide protection for state waters across the Commonwealth, all areas of the state are required to be covered by a Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP), operated at the local government level. Construction projects involving regulated land-disturbing activities must submit plans for review and approval by the local governments operating the programs, also called VSMP authorities. These projects must meet certain consistent water quality and quantity technical criteria, employ common water treatment measures or best management practices (BMPs) and all projects must be reviewed in the same manner and pay the same fee in every jurisdiction that operates a VSMP. The goal of protecting state waters depends on the many locally operated VSMPs all working in a consistent manner. This consistency is achieved by having all the local VSMP authorities adopt programs with essentially common regulations, policies, procedures, permit conditions and design standards. As well as protecting water quality, this consistency within the state VSMP serves the interests of the engineering and development communities by providing assurance that every project involving land-disturbing activities will be treated in the same manner in all parts of the Commonwealth.

Managing stormwater to meet the goal of protecting state waters requires cooperation and effort by a number of players from the federal government level down to the construction worker on a project site.

The Federal Role:
At the top of the stormwater management program hierarchy is the federal government and the requirements of the Clean Water Act (CWA), the primary federal law in the United States governing water pollution. CWA makes it unlawful to discharge pollutants into surface waters without a permit and the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program is the mechanism that is used to control pollutant discharges. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the federal agency that carries out the NPDES program, enforces the CWA and oversees the Commonwealth's VSMP.

The Role of the State:
The General Assembly passed and amended the Stormwater Management Act in part to meet the requirements of the CWA, but more importantly to protect state waters. The requirements of the Stormwater Management Act are carried out through the authority of the Soil and Water Conservation Board (State Water Control Board) which promulgated the Stormwater Management Regulations. In addition to the stormwater management requirements governing Multiple Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s), the Stormwater Management Regulations lays out the specific requirements that the state and local level stormwater management programs must meet and the Department of Environmental Quality is the state agency that ensures these regulations are enforced. The Department works with local government and other VSMP authorities to issue permit coverage to land-disturbing activities under the Construction General Permit (CGP). The Department oversees the operation of and provides training and technical assistance to the local and other VSMPs operating in the Commonwealth. The Department is also directly responsible for overseeing the stormwater management requirements for state agency and certain other projects which are not subject to a local jurisdiction.

Local Governments:
The local government level is where the stormwater management program goals are carried out on the ground. Local governments are required to establish, adopt and operate VSMP programs. Local VSMP Authorities accept, review and approve plans, notify the state that a project is acceptable for CGP coverage, collect permit and bond fees and inspect projects under construction. They work directly with builders doing construction projects to ensure compliance with the Stormwater Regulations through their local ordinances and inspections and enforcement actions both during and after construction. They maintain records of the stormwater management projects constructed during each year and report to the state on the pollutants reduced by the VSMP program annually. In addition to overseeing stormwater management compliance of land-disturbing activities in their jurisdictions, local VSMPs manage compliance of the operation of their programs by carrying out their administration, inspection and plan review tasks in accordance with the state requirements. The VSMP must maintain CGP files for three (3) years following permit termination. After three years, the CGP files are to be delivered to DEQ by October 1st of each year. The VSMP needs to maintain stormwater facility maintenance inspection reports on file for five (5) years from the date of inspection. Stormwater maintenance agreements, design standards and specifications, post-construction surveys/as-built drawings, and maintenance records must be maintained in perpetuity by the VSMP.

The Private Sector:
It is the private sector that actually carries out the work of the stormwater management program. Developers create projects and employ architects, engineers, and other licensed professionals and builders to carry out their projects. Civil engineers and other site designers design projects and produce plans that meet the technical criteria and design standards set in the regulations. They produce the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP) that carry out the stormwater management goals through both structural measures and specified procedures. Developers submit their plans for review and work with VSMPs to revise the plans to be acceptable. They pay fees, bonds, and obtain permit coverage. Builders constructing projects educate their workers on the requirements of the SWPPP and manage construction of projects to follow its direction. If necessary, they work with the local VSMP authority to revise the SWPPP that may prove to be ineffective. They perform self-inspections to prevent discharge of pollutants and document them in inspection reports. They perform routine maintenance on temporary and permanent stormwater controls and document their actions and the progress of the project through written updates to the SWPPP. Once complete, the developer or the builder terminates the CGP coverage and submits the record information to the VSMP Authority. Then the operator of the finished facility works with the VSMP Authority through the ensuing years to inspect and maintain the stormwater management facilities constructed with the project.

* from Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Basic Stormwater Course material
Page Last Updated:6/25/2013