Effective July 1, 2013, DEQ is the lead agency for developing and implementing statewide nonpoint source pollution control programs to protect the Commonwealth's water quality and quantity.
Nonpoint source pollution is water pollution caused by stormwater runoff that is not confined to a single source, such as a wastewater treatment plant or industrial discharge pipe. One of the main ways of controlling nonpoint source pollution is through stormwater management, which includes erosion and sediment control.
Stormwater runoff is water flowing overland into surface waters or water that is channeled into natural or constructed conveyance systems during and after precipitation. Unmanaged stormwater can cause erosion and flooding. It can also carry excess nutrients, sediment and other contaminants into our waters. Properly managed stormwater protects land and streams from erosion, flooding and pollutants.
A permit may be required to discharge stormwater from a construction activity. Such a permit also may be required to discharge stormwater through a conveyance system owned or operated by a government entity. DEQ administers these permits under Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) regulations, authorized by the Virginia Stormwater Management Act (§ 62.1-44.15:24 et seq).
During construction, a permit may be required for erosion and sediment control. These land disturbance permits are issued by localities as part of their erosion and sediment control programs. DEQ also conducts reviews of local erosion and sediment control programs.
The Stormwater Act and VSMP permit regulations provide DEQ the ability to manage the quantity and quality of stormwater runoff on construction sites as well as on a regional or watershed basis.
- Quantity of stormwater runoff:
Compared with impervious surfaces such as pavement or rooftops, pervious surfaces such as meadows and woodlands absorb and filter rainfall and reduce runoff. When development occurs in meadows and woodlands, the increase in impervious surfaces increases the amount of runoff that occurs when it rains. This can overwhelm waterways, causing erosion, localized flooding and property damage.
- Quality of stormwater runoff:
Pervious and impervious surfaces in urban areas collect pollutants, such as automobile oil, grease, sediment, bacteria from animal waste, excess nutrients and pesticides, and deposits from airborne pollutants. Stormwater runoff with large amounts of these pollutants may enter nearby waterways when it rains.
Technical assistance, financial assistance, education and research efforts are enhanced by funds available from the federal Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program (Section 319 of the Clean Water Act) and the Chesapeake Bay Program.
Assistance is provided to local governments, private organizations and the public by staff members located in the DEQ stormwater management offices.