Virginia Coastal Program: 2008 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:

97.01

Grantee:

Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission

Project Title:

MPPDC Inventory of Non-traditional OSDS and Impacts on Land Use Patterns

Project Description as Proposed:

The Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission's Environmental Program has been assisting the region's residents and local governments with financial and technical resources for on-site wastewater issues since May 1997. A change in the Virginia Department of Health Sewage Handling and Disposal Regulations (OSDS) in the year 2000 has dramatically changed the development pattern within many Virginia localities (a proposed update to the 2000 regulations “performance based approach” can potentially shift the development paradigm again, which could encourage more development). Much of the current land development, utilizing single family engineered wastewater treatment systems (alternative systems) has brought to light a public policy conundrum: land use planning tools in many rural Virginia coastal communities were developed and predicated on the understanding that “land development potential” decision-making was deferred to the Virginia Health Department, thereby relying on the health department to make de-facto community development decisions (i.e. get a septic permit and come back to us for a zoning permit).

When the OSDS regulations changed in 2000, new technological advances allowed “marginal land” or land that would not 'perk' and therefore not normally support a traditional gravity fed septic system to be developed with ease. This change has resulted in thousands of engineered septic systems being installed. An analogy would be on par with the impact that the National Flood Insurance Program has on coastal land development.

This project proposes to collect spatial data from the Virginia Department of Health and map the spatial extent of permitted engineered septic systems across the Middle Peninsula. MPPDC staff, under a previous CZMA grant (NA17OZ2335 Task 84) initiated an inventory and mapping project of engineered OSDS from 2000-2004 and identified well over 1,000 installed or permitted systems, but has not inventoried the proliferation from 2004-2007. This project proposes to continue the public policy dialog; as well to inventory and map permitted and installed engineered OSDS across the MPPD region. After the spatial distribution is known, MPPDC staff will work with local elected officials and local planning staff to better understand various consequences of existing land use plans and the need for additional or amended public policy as it relates to land development and OSDS systems.

Federal Funding:

$35,000

Project Contact:

Lewie L. Lawrence - 804.758.2311: llawrence@mppdc.com

Project Status:

10/1/2008 - 9/30/2009; Project Completed

Final Product Received:

Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission Inventory of Non Traditional Onsite Sewage Disposal Systems and Impacts on Land Use Patterns (pdf)

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

A change in Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Sewage Handling and Disposal Regulations in 2000 has dramatically changed the development patterns within many Virginia localities. The regulations allowed new engineered onsite sewage disposal system (OSDS) technologies to be installed on “marginal lands,” or land that does not perk and would not normally support a traditional gravity fed septic system. Consequently this regulation reinforced the role of VDH to issue permits for OSDS systems and not address land use development decision making, which is a responsibility of local governments. Moreover, in midst of this grant year the general assembly has passed two regulations (HB 1788 and 12VAC5-610-20) that directly pertain to OSDS and add to the policy and management conundrum of OSDS.
To inform local elected officials and local planning staff of various consequences of existing land use planning and to encourage the need for additional or amended public policy as it relates to land development and OSDS, this project inventoried and mapped permitted engineered OSDS across the Middle Peninsula. MPPDC staff worked closely with VDH to collect spatial data of engineered OSDS permitted from 2004-2008. This project was a continuation of a previous CZMA grant (NA17OZ2335 Task 84), where OSDS installed and permitted from 2000-2004 were inventoried and mapped.  Therefore, data from the previous project was combined with data collected in this year’s project in order to generate both county and town maps of OSDS proliferation from 2000-2008 within the Middle Peninsula.
Through an assessment of the maps, MPPDC staff found that within the Middle Peninsula [from 2000-2008] there were 1,208 installed OSDS and 2,006 permitted OSDS awaiting installation; this infrastructure equates to approximately $57,852,000.00 in total private sector investments. From this analysis MPPDC staff can work with local elected official and local planning staff to convey the implications of these land use development issues and policies.

Disclaimer: This project summary provides the federal dollars initially awarded to the grantee. Due to underexpenditure or reprogramming of grant funds, this figure may change. For more information on the allocation of coastal grant funds, please contact Laura McKay, Virginia Coastal Program Manager, at 804.698.4323 or email: Laura.McKay@deq.virginia.gov

A more detailed Scope of Work for this project is available. Please direct your request for a copy to Virginia.Witmer@deq.virginia.gov

footer divider
footer divider
footer divider
Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000


Some resources on this website require Adobe Reader and Flash Player, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint or Excel. If you wish to receive this content in an accessible format pursuant to Section 508 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. § 794 (d)), please call 800-592-5482. In addition, this website includes hyperlinks to websites neither controlled nor sponsored by DEQ or the Commonwealth of Virginia. Links may open in a new window. If you wish to receive content from a website which is neither controlled nor sponsored by DEQ or the Commonwealth, please contact the host of that website directly.

Privacy Statement | Terms Of Use | WAI Compliance | Contact Us