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VPDES Industrial Activity Stormwater Permitting

DEQ's Stormwater Permitting Programs

Traditional definitions of stormwater have usually characterized it as non-point source runoff. However, most urban and industrial stormwater is discharged through conveyances, such as separate storm sewers, ditches, channels or other conveyances which are considered point sources under the Clean Water Act (CWA), and subject to regulation through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program.

Virginia is an authorized state under the federal water permitting program. As mandated by the Clean Water Act and EPA's Phase 1 (11/16/90) and Phase 2 (12/8/99) stormwater regulations, DEQ issues Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) permits to dischargers of stormwater from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s), and to dischargers of stormwater from Industrial Activities, and Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) permits to dischargers of stormwater from Construction Activities.

Industrial Activity Permitting

Under EPA's Phase 1 stormwater regulations, the following "industrial activity" stormwater discharges are regulated: manufacturing facilities (SIC Code specific); hazardous waste treatment, storage, or disposal facilities; landfills, land application sites and open dumps that receive or have received "industrial activity" wastes; recycling facilities (limited to SIC Codes 5015 and 5093); steam electric power generating facilities (including coal handling sites); transportation facilities (SIC Code specific) that have vehicle maintenance shops, equipment cleaning operations or airport deicing operations; and domestic sewage treatment plants (i.e., treatment works treating domestic sewage) with a design flow of 1.0 MGD or more, or required to have an approved pretreatment program. The EPA Phase 2 stormwater regulations added a "no-exposure" exemption provision for industrial facilities.

Any industrial facility covered by these regulations that discharges stormwater associated with industrial activity to surface waters through a point source or through a separate storm sewer system (either municipal or non-municipal) must apply for a VPDES stormwater permit, or for a "no-exposure" exemption from permitting (see below).

DEQ issues both individual and general permits to industrial activity stormwater dischargers. DEQ's new 2014 Industrial Stormwater General Permit Regulation became effective on July 1, 2014.  Documents relative to the new 2014 Industrial Stormwater General Permit are available on the VPDES Permits, Fees and Regulations page.  An industrial stormwater permitting handout is also available which provides additional details on the industrial stormwater permitting process.

Table SW-1 lists the regulated industrial activities that are eligible for coverage under the VPDES Industrial Stormwater General Permit (VAR05). Facility classifications are broken down by industrial sector, and within each sector by either 4-digit Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code or 2-letter Industrial Activity Code.  A list of regulated industrial activities sorted by SIC Code is also available.

Stormwater permits for industrial activity discharges require technology-based controls based on Best Available Technology (BAT) / Best Conventional Pollutant Control Technology (BCT) considerations or water quality-based controls, if necessary. An industrial facility may have a permit that covers both stormwater discharges and other non-stormwater discharges.

DEQ's industrial activity stormwater permits are based upon EPA's Multi-Sector Storm Water General Permit (MSGP).  All industrial activity stormwater permits include the requirement that a stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) be developed for the permitted facility.

The pollution prevention plan identifies all stormwater discharges at the facility, actual and potential sources of stormwater contamination, and requires the implementation of both structural and non-structural best management practices (BMPs) to reduce the impact of stormwater runoff on the receiving stream to the maximum extent practicable, and to meet water quality standards.  Industrial stormwater permits may also contain water quality based effluent limits, as well as the requirement for storm event monitoring, and the regular assessment of the effectiveness of stormwater controls. DEQ does not specify which best management practices a facility must implement, and does not specify any minimum best management practice design criteria.

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2014 Industrial Stormwater GP documents on the VPDES Permits and Fees page.

Changes to the DMV license requirements for a Demolisher/Rebuilder/Salvage Dealer/Salvage Pool/Vehicle Removal Operator license went into effect in October of 2009. A change in the law now requires license applicants to certify to the Commissioner that they either are permitted under a VPDES industrial stormwater permit, or that they are exempt from that permitting requirement. See below for more information.

No-Exposure Certification

Industrial facilities that would otherwise be required to have a stormwater permit can be exempted from permitting if they certify that all their stormwater discharges meet the definition of "no exposure". If all industrial materials and activities at a facility are protected by a storm resistant cover so that they are not exposed to rain, snow, snowmelt, or runoff, then the facility can qualify for the "no exposure" exemption. Facilities must file a "No-Exposure Certification" every five years with the appropriate DEQ Regional Office using the DEQ No-Exposure Certification form. If conditions change at the facility and materials or activities become exposed, the facility must immediately file for a VPDES stormwater permit. The DEQ No-Exposure Certification form can also be downloaded from the Permits, Fees and Regulations page. There is no fee to file the No-Exposure Certification.

Applicants for DMV's Demolisher/Rebuilder/Salvage Dealer/Salvage Pool/Vehicle Removal Operator License

The 2009 General Assembly made a change to Virginia Code § 46.2-1601 (Licensing of Dealers of Salvage Vehicles; Fees). The change went into effect on October 1, 2009, and now requires persons applying or reapplying to DMV for a demolisher, rebuilder, salvage dealer, salvage pool, or vehicle removal operator license to certify to the DMV Commissioner that their business is either: (a) permitted under a VPDES individual or general permit issued by the State Water Control Board for their industrial activity stormwater discharges, and provide the permit number from that permit; or (b) otherwise exempt from those permitting requirements.

For a business applying to DMV for a demolisher, rebuilder, salvage dealer, salvage pool, or vehicle removal operator license, only those facilities whose primary industrial activity at the site involves the recycling of materials (facilities classified as Standard Industrial Classification Codes 5015 and 5093 - - which includes metal scrapyards, battery reclaimers, salvage yards, and automobile junkyards) are required to be permitted under the VPDES Industrial Stormwater Program.

In July 2014, DMV modified their questions on page 2 of their application form DSD 10A.  Question "A" now reads:

A. In accordance with Virginia Code § 46.2-1601 licensed salvage type dealers must meet Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) requirements.

Is your licensed business permitted under a Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit - individual or general - issued by the Water Control Board for the discharge of stormwater associated with industrial activity?  (YES/NO)  

If yes, enter permit number(s).

If no permit number(s), is your business exempt from permitting requirements?  (YES/NO)

Some examples of businesses that are NOT required to be permitted because their primary industrial activity at the site is not regulated under the VPDES Industrial Stormwater Program are:
  • Used Car Dealerships
  • Rebuilders/Auto Body Shops
  • Vehicle Removal Operators
These facilities are exempt from the industrial activity stormwater permitting requirements (see 9 VAC 25-151 - Industrial Stormwater General Permit Regulation for the list of "Industrial Activities" that are required to be permitted).

Additional Information

Stormwater permitting questions about specific industrial facilities should be directed to the DEQ Regional Office that serves the area where the facility is located.

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

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