Stormwater

Importance of Stormwater Management

Stormwater is rainwater and melted snow that runs off streets, lawns, and other sites. When stormwater is absorbed into the ground, it is filtered and ultimately replenishes aquifers or flows into streams and rivers. In developed areas, however, impervious surfaces such as pavement and roofs prevent precipitation from naturally soaking into the ground. Instead, the water runs rapidly into storm drains, sewer systems, and drainage ditches and can cause:

  • Flooding
  • Stream bank erosion
  • Increased turbidity
  • Habitat destruction
  • Changes in stream flows
  • Infrastructure damage
  • Combined sewer overflows
  • Increased water pollution

VEEP and Stormwater

Proper stormwater management is imperative in Virginia and the responsibility of the business, municipal and residential sectors. Best Management Practices (BMPs) are a method by which the adverse impacts of development and redevelopment are controlled. Raising awareness of current stormwater BMP’s can help to:

  • Protect the environment
  • Improve water quality
  • Save money

For these reasons, the Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ) Office of Pollution Prevention is committed to promoting efficient stormwater management.

By embracing innovations in environmental efforts like stormwater BMPs, Virginia Environmental Excellence Program (VEEP) members are uniquely positioned to lead by example. DEQ and the Office of Pollution Prevention request that VEEP members lead the regulated community by voluntarily implementing stormwater BMPs and assess successes or share current efforts with the DEQ Office of Pollution Prevention. This information will be used to refine and expand stormwater outreach efforts in Virginia and support similar efforts in Chesapeake Bay Watershed states.

Virginia Approved Stormwater BMP Standards and Specifications

The Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) involves several types of permits issued to municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) and those developing land in Virginia. In particular, the individual and general permits issued for management of stormwater discharges from MS4s involve the implementation of several programs aimed at reducing the amount of pollutants discharged from storm sewer systems operated by regulated government entities. Most MS4s have coverage under the General Permit for the Discharge of Stormwater from Small MS4s. To assist in implementation of appropriate BMPs to meet the requirements of the General Permit, EPA has developed a National Menu of Stormwater Practices divided into six categories of BMPs (first six types listed below). Each of these categories of BMPs is linked to a separate web page on this site that provides BMP standards and specifications, or to resources outside of this web site that describe in more detail and provide useful reference material pertaining to the applicable practices.

Stormwater BMPs

VEEP Member Stormwater BMPs

  • Use spill kits in areas to contain spills before they reach storm drains.
  • Use Gutterbuddies to prevent debris from entering storm drains.
  • Stormceptors help to prevent sediment discharge.
  • Inspect roll off boxes and trailers to reduce the likelihood of leaks.
  • Store recycling and construction debris under roof to reduce stormwater contamination.
  • Use vacuum truck to vacuum out storm drains.
  • Create custom-fit absorbent “sock” for storm drains near fueling facilities.
  • Use de-chlorinators when flushing hydrants in the immediate vicinity of a storm drain.
  • Educate staff annually on the Environmental Management System (EMS) and stormwater awareness.  Develop and implement training for new hires that describes EMS program, stormwater permit and environmental goals.
  • Install debris/sediment filters in selected storm drains and install additional curbing to capture and channel runoff to these drains. Design construction of new drain culverts so that sediment/debris filters are positioned in areas that receive the greatest amount of runoff. During replacement, weigh filters to determine the amount of material captured from stormwater runoff.
  • Use stormwater drop inlet filters (“Witch Hats”) to collect stormwater debris.
  • Clean site periodically with a street sweeper.
  • Inspect facilities daily to ensure compliance with stormwater BMPs.
  • Identify and label all stormwater outfalls and drop inlets for easy identification. 
  • Do not store waste outside.
  • Do not conduct vehicle maintenance activities outside.
  • Clean equipment with compressed air.
  • If possible recycle stormwater runoff as mechanical cooling water or for dust suppression.
  • Develop a stormwater BMP maintenance database with field inspection program to monitor construction projects.
  • Develop Low Impact Development (LID) projects to include rainwater infiltration trenches and rain gardens and  limit asphalt.
  • Develop LID parking areas with permeable pavers.
  • Use stainless steel grit traps for parking lot drop inlets to capture sediment.
  • Do not use detergents outside.
  • During construction, if appropriate, use secondary containment, double-walled piping, stormwater retention basins/ponds and erosion sediment control plans.
  • Vegetate banks and slopes to protect creeks and streams from runoff.
  • Promptly remove scrap from site.
  • Keep dumpster and recycling bins covered and empty regularly. 
  • Keep secondary containment areas free from debris and do not these areas to store materials capable of rainwater contamination.
  • Do not wash vehicles outside.
  • Inspect facilities regularly to identify potential pollution opportunities.   
  • Prominently display emergency contact information and signage indicating the location of emergency shutoffs at fueling stations.
  • Store hazardous materials in approved containers.  
  • Prevent litter from blowing into stormwater drains with litter fencing.
  • In case of spill, use deflection booms called wattles to direct the flow of fluid away from storm drains.
  • Install filters filled with perlite in all stormwater drains and inspect every year and conduct maintenance as required.
  • Use hay bales and booms at inlets to catch sediment so as not to load filters.
  • Conduct quarterly stormwater audits.
  • Do not allow vehicle wash water is allowed to enter storm drains.
  • Inspect outfalls during dry weather to monitor for non-stormwater discharges. 
  • Ensure stormwater construction site inspections are conducted on all projects.
  • Use qualified site operators to conduct inspections of construction projects for compliance with stormwater regulations to ensure that contractors are adhering to requirements.

Other Resources



Stormwater Tip

Curbs and gutters transport flow as quickly as possible to a stormwater drain without allowing for infiltration or pollutant removal. Eliminating curbs and gutters can increase sheet flow and reduce runoff volumes
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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000


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