Construction General Permits

Coverage under the General VPDES Permit for Discharges of Stormwater from Construction Activities (i.e., the Construction General Permit) may be required to discharge stormwater from a construction activity.  Many local governments in Virginia administer the Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) that regulates these stormwater discharges.  DEQ implements the VSMP in localities that have not been approved to administer the program.

New DEQ Plan Review Procedures

DEQ is “regionalizing” our stormwater and erosion and sediment control plan review process. The “regionalizing” process involves changing the address that you should use to send your plans for stormwater and erosion and sediment control plan review.  The “regionalizing” only involves stormwater and erosion and sediment control plans normally sent to DEQ Central Office for review.  Plans normally sent to a locality for review will still be sent to that locality.  For more information, please refer to Permit Processing Requirements for Land Disturbance under the Construction General Permit below.

Who Must Apply for General Permit Coverage

  • Operators of construction activities resulting in land disturbance equal to or greater than one acre.
  • Operators of construction activities resulting in land disturbance less than one acre that are part of a larger common plan of development or sale that ultimately disturbs one or more acres. A common plan of development or sale is a contiguous area where separate and distinct construction activities may be taking place at different times on different schedules. General permit coverage is required if one or more acres of land will be disturbed, regardless of the size of the individually owned or developed sites. For example, if a developer buys a 20-acre lot and builds roads with the intention of building homes or other structures in the future, or if the land is parceled off or sold, and construction occurs on plots that are less than an acre by separate, independent builders, these activities would still be subject to stormwater permitting requirements. A larger common plan of development or sale applies to various types of land development including but not limited to residential, commercial or industrial use.

Single-Family Detached Residential Structures

  • Single-family detached residential structures that disturb less than one acre of land and that are not part of a larger common plan of development or sale (e.g., subdivision), including additions or modifications to existing single-family detached residential structures, do not require coverage under the general permit.
  • Single-family detached residential structures that disturb less than one acre of land and that are part of a larger common plan of development or sale (e.g., subdivision) require coverage under the general permit and must submit a registration statement to the VSMP Authority.
  • Single-family detached residential structures that disturb equal to or greater than one acre of land require coverage under the general permit. Operators of these land-disturbing activities are authorized to discharge under the general permit and are not required to submit a registration statement or the Department of Environmental Quality portion of the permit fee. Operators must also comply with the terms and conditions of the general permit including the preparation of a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).

Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP)

The general permit requires the construction activity operator that obtained permit coverage to develop and implement a site specific SWPPP. The SWPPP must be prepared prior to submitting a registration statement for permit coverage to the VSMP Authority or DEQ. The SWPPP is to be retained at the construction site along with a copy of the general permit and general permit coverage letter. The permitted operator has the lead in developing, implementing and maintaining the SWPPP and committing the resources necessary to prevent pollution. Site inspections for compliance with the general permit, including SWPPP review, may be conducted by VSMP Authority or DEQ staff.

The SWPPP outlines the steps and techniques the operator will take to comply with the terms and conditions of the permit, including water quality and quantity requirements that are consistent with the VSMP permit regulations, to reduce pollutants in the stormwater runoff from the construction site. The SWPPP also specifies all potential pollutant sources that could enter stormwater leaving the construction site and covers methods used to reduce pollutants in stormwater runoff during and after construction.  A complete list of SWPPP requirements is contained in Part II of the Construction General Permit.

Permit Processing Requirements for Land Disturbance under the Construction General Permit

Land-disturbing Activities where the Locality is the VSMP Authority

Many localities in Virginia administer a Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP).  Under a locality VSMP, stormwater management plans, VPDES Stormwater Construction General Permit registration statements, notices of termination, permit modifications and transfer of ownership agreements are to be submitted to the local VSMP Authority where the land-disturbing activity occurs.  Please contact the local VSMP Authority for additional instructions on permit processing.  See link below for a list of locality VSMP Authorities.

Land-disturbing Activities where DEQ is the VSMP Authority

If your land-disturbing activity is within a locality that is not a VSMP Authority or if your land-disturbing activity is a state or federal project, then DEQ is the VSMP authority.   When DEQ is the VSMP authority stormwater management plans, VPDES Stormwater Construction General Permit registration statements, notices of termination, permit modifications and transfer of ownership agreements are to be submitted to DEQ.

DEQ is also the VSMP Authority for land disturbing activities performed by state and federal entities not authorized under the Annual Standards and Specifications Program.

For public or private projects in localities where DEQ is the VSMP authority or state or federal projects not authorized under an approved Annual Standards and Specifications Program, submit the Construction General Permit Application Package to the DEQ Regional Office that serves the area where the construction activity is located.

For state, federal, electric, natural gas, telephone utility, interstate and intrastate natural gas pipeline, and railroad projects authorized under an approved Annual Standards and Specification Program, DEQ is the VSMP Authority. For entities with  approved Annual Standards and Specification submit the Construction General Permit Application Package to the DEQ Central Office.

Construction General Permit Payment Instructions

For projects where DEQ is the VSMP Authority, please do not submit your payment with Construction General Permit Application Package.  DEQ will invoice you prior to permit coverage approval.  The VSMP Fee Schedule will be used to determined invoiced amount based upon the disturbed acreage listed on your submitted registration statement.  Please ensure that you that you include an email address on your registration statement so that DEQ may email the invoice.  The email provides instructions that allows you to pay by online by credit card as well as to pay by mail with a check or money order. 

Construction General Permit Termination

To terminate Construction Stormwater General Permit coverage DEQ requires the following information to be submitted as one, complete package:

Stormwater Documents

State Water Control Law and associated Regulations

General Permit Forms and Fee Schedule:
Useful Links:
EPA Resources:
General Permit Listing

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


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