Nonpoint Source Pollution Management

Section 319 of the Federal Clean Water Act and Section C of the Water Quality Monitoring, Information and Restoration Act (§ 62.1-44.19:5) requires states to assess their state waters and identify those adversely affected by nonpoint sources of pollution. In addition, § 10.1-2124 of the Code of Virginia states that management programs to control nonpoint source pollution are required, and that the state shall assist local governments, soil and water conservation districts and individuals in restoring, protecting, and improving water quality through grants provided from the Virginia Water Quality Improvement Fund.

Virginia completed its first nonpoint source pollution assessment in 1988, with subsequent updates and refinements. The assessment ranks the state's watersheds, based on land use, livestock population, forest harvesting, disturbed acreage, best management practices, implementation and erosion rates for potential nonpoint source pollution. The rankings are used to help direct implementation of Virginia's nonpoint source pollution control programs, as well as agricultural cost-share and Section 319 funding, to watersheds with the greatest pollution potential.

As specified in guidance issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Virginia revised the Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Program in 1999. Virginia's updated program guides federal, state and local actions, as well as funding and citizen participation. The program update also provided an opportunity to better coordinate nonpoint source pollution control programs.

By 2007 the plan needed another update. As a result, Virginia determined that 2006 state legislation on developing a plan to address water quality impairments and protect state waters from further degradation was sufficient. It also was decided that new legislation, "Chesapeake Bay and Virginia Waters Cleanup Plan," should serve as the Commonwealth's updated nonpoint source pollution plan. In 2013 Virginia began the process of developing an updated, comprehensive Nonpoint Source Management Plan for the commonwealth.

Funding Associated with the Nonpoint Source Management Program

Through Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, Virginia is awarded grant funds to implement the nonpoint source programs. DEQ administers the money, in coordination with the advisory committee, to fund watershed projects, demonstration and educational programs, nonpoint source pollution control program development, and technical and program staff. DEQ reports annually to the EPA on the progress made in nonpoint source pollution prevention and control.

As the lead agency in Virginia for nonpoint source pollution control programs, DEQ also coordinates other nonpoint source initiatives, such as the Chesapeake Bay Program and the Coastal Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program.

Please contact Nicole Sandberg, NPS Grant Manager for more information on Virginia's Section 319(h) Grant Program and Virginia's Nonpoint Source Management Program.

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


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