Rulemaking information

The following tables describe the status of rulemakings to amend the Water Quality Standards Regulation

Exceptional State Waters - Laurel Fork

Water Quality Criteria Rulemaking

Triennial Review

Freshwater Nutrient Criteria

James River Chlorophyll Study

mountain stream


Public notices asking for comment and ad hoc meeting dates are published in the Virginia Register. Look for submittals in the Register under the State Water Control Board. Submittals - Proposed Regulations, Final Regulations or General Notices (for ad hoc or standing advisory committee meetings).

Track these amendments through the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall. Search for Water Quality Standards

1. Exceptional State Waters - Laurel Fork. A citizen submitted a petition to designate a portion of Laurel Fork as Exceptional State Waters (ESW). ESWs are sometime referred to as Tier 3 waters and are provided special protection to prevent degradation and preserve them for future generations. 

Action Schedule Other Information

State Water Control Board meeting

General Assembly Building - Room C

December 12, 2016

 December 12 Board memo

Laurel Fork - staff presentation

Notice Of Intended Regulatory Action (NOIRA)

Laurel Fork NOIRA-Link to Notice - (page 2034)

Comment period - May 15, 2017 - June 14, 2017   Laurel Fork Agency Background Document 


2. Water Quality Criteria Rulemaking. During the latest Triennial Review of the water quality standards, adoption of several amendments under consideration was deferred until a later time in order to more fully examine the issues. Potential amendments are: bacteria criteria to protect recreational uses, freshwater ammonia criteria, cadmium criteria, human health criteria.

Action Schedule Other Information

Regulatory Advisory Panel meeting

March 23, 2016           



March 23, 2016 Agenda
DEQ Staff Presentation - March 23, 2016
Presentation - “Assessing the effects of wastewater treatment plant effluents on freshwater mussels: ammonia data” – Serena Ciparis
March 23 - Meeting summary

Ammonia criteria fact sheet - EPA
Suggested language for ammonia criteria implementation and variance - VAMWA
Human health criteria fact sheet - EPA
Human health criteria comparison - Final updated (2015) and previous EPA criteria

Soon after the 3/23 RAP meeting, EPA issued their "Aquatic Life Ambient Water Quality Criteria Update for Cadmium"

  Regulatory Advisory Panel meeting
May 9, 2016 - DEQ Central Office
May 9 - Agenda
Staff presentation - May 9, 2016
May 9 - Meeting summary
  Regulatory Advisory Panel meeting
June 13, 2016 - DEQ Central Office
Staff presentation - June 13, 2016
June 13 - Meeting summary
VDH Background & Discussion Points handout
BEACH Act language
  Regulatory Advisory Panel meeting
July 20, 2016 - DEQ Piedmont Regional Office
July 20 - Agenda
Staff presentation - July 20, 2016
July 20 - Meeting summary
Selenium fact sheet
'Strawman' permit implementation language
Summation of issues addressed

 State Water Control Board meeting

General Assembly Building - Room C

December 12, 2016

 Board memo - November 4, 2016

Staff presentation - SWCB meeting December 12, 2016

Notice Of Public Comment - Water Quality Criteria - Comment period Sept. 18 - Nov. 17, 2017

Additional Notice- 2nd public hearing

NOTE: Comment period extended until Dec. 8, 2017

 10/24/2017 - 2:00 PM

DEQ Central Office

629 East Main St.

2nd Floor

Richmond, VA


11/28/2017 - 4:00 PM

DEQ Roanoke Regional Office

3019 Peters Creek Road, Roanoke, VA


Agency background document - Water Quality Criteria rulemaking 

Regulatory Advisory Panel meeting
February 21, 2018, 1:00 – 3:00
Department of Environmental Quality – Central Office, 14th Floor
1111 East Main Street, Suite 1400
Richmond, VA 23218



3. Triennial Review. DEQ must fulfill legal mandates for a three-year review under the Code of Virginia §62.1-44.15(3a) and federal regulations 40 CFR 131. The existing regulation may be proposed for amendment(s) to reflect new scientific information and to clarify the regulation. Changes may also be proposed to improve implementation of water quality standards in Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits and in monitoring and assessments of surface waters. Some of the changes may be to numerical and narrative criteria, use designations, classifications, site specific or special standards, stream descriptions, antidegradation and implementation procedures such as mixing zones, variances and assessment procedures.

Action Schedule Other Information

State Water Control Board meeting

Minutes - March 28, 2014

March 28, 2014, 10:00 AM

DEQ Training Room

Piedmont Regional Office
4949-A Cox Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060

Board memo - February 25, 2014
Attachment 1
Attachment 2
Attachment 3
Attachment 4

Notice Of Public Comment - Link to Notice (page 1949)

7/29/2015 - 2:00 PM at DEQ Piedmont Regional Office - 4949-A Cox Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060

8/4/2015 - 2:00 PM at DEQ Roanoke Regional Office - 3019 Peters Creek Road, Roanoke, VA 24019

Agency Background Document - Triennial Review

Staff Public Hearing Presentation

State Water Control Board meeting

Minutes January 14, 2016

January 14, 2016, 9:30 AM

Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Board Room
7870 Villa Park Drive, Richmond, VA 23228

Board Memo - December 18, 2015
Memo Attachment 1
Memo attachment 2
Memo attachment 3
Memo attachment 4
Memo attachment 5

 Notice of effective date

 EPA approval Letter and rationale  


4. James River Chlorophyll Study. DEQ is undertaking a comprehensive review of the existing James River Site-Specific Numeric Chlorophyll-a Criteria and associated modeling framework for the tidal James River to determine the best scientific basis for the standard. This effort is being initiated as a result of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL Phase I Watershed implementation Plan (WIP). Detailed information regarding technical development progress and meetings is located on the Nutrient Criteria Development web page.

Action Schedule Other Information

Notice Of Intended Regulatory Action (NOIRA) - link to NOIRA - page 4

Comment period September 12, 2011 - October 12, 2011
Regulatory Advisory Panel meeting June 21, 2016 1:00 - 3:00 Meeting minutes - June 21
DEQ staff presentation - June 21
Chesapeake Bay Foundation presentation
Current and alternate chlorophyll 'a' assessment methodology presentation
Regulatory Advisory Panel meeting DEQ Piedmont Regional Office
August 10, 2016

Meeting minutes - August 10
Agenda - August 10

VMA Concerns with Proposed Revisions to the JamesRiver Chlorophyll a Criteria - VMA

Options For Moving Forward With Establishing Chlorophyll 'a' Criteria for the James River - Ches. Bay Foundation/Ches. Bay Program
VAMWA Perspectives - James River Chlorophyll 'a' Criteria Study - VAMWA

 Regulatory Advisory Panel meeting 

Patrick Henry Building

1111 East Broad St.

Richmond, VA

December 14, 2016 
Meeting minutes - TBA

Agenda - December 14, 2016


Proposed Revisions to James River Chlorophyll-a Criteria and Assessment Methodology– DEQ

Initial James River Chlorophyll Criteria Attainability Evaluation – DEQ

Criteria and Assessment Development Documents

-Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee Peer Review for the James River Chlorophyll-a Criteria Re-evaluation

-Critical Review of the Existing Tidal Waters Chlorophyll a Assessment Procedures and Recommendations on Alternatives– Criteria Assessment Protocol Work Group

-Proposed Chlorophyll ‘a’ Criteria Revisions for the Tidal James River – DEQ

-James River Chlorophyll Criteria Attainability According to EPA and James River Models - DEQ           

-Chlorophyll‐a Criteria Recommendations for the James River Estuary – Virginia Association of Municipal Wastewater Agencies

-Establishing Defensible Chlorophyll a Criteria for Protection of the Tidal James River - Chesapeake Bay Foundation/U.S. EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Office



 Regulatory Advisory Panel meeting

 DEQ Piedmont Regional Office

April 25, 2017


Potential Chlorophyll-a Criteria Alternatives - C. Bell

Representativeness of pH and Chlorophyll at Rice Center Pier - T. Robertson

   James River Chlorophyll Criteria Development
Regulatory Advisory Panel meeting
February 26, 2018, 10:00 – 12:00
Department of Environmental Quality – Central Office, 14th Floor
1111 East Main Street, Suite 1400
Richmond, VA 23218
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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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