Groundwater Withdrawal Permitting and Fees

Who Must Apply

Any person or entity in the Eastern Virginia or Eastern Shore Groundwater Management Areas needing to establish new withdrawals of groundwater in excess of 300,000 gallons per month (from a well, well system or pond recharged by groundwater with mechanical assistance), or who need to expand an existing withdrawal shall apply for a new or expanded groundwater withdrawal permit before exceeding the 300,000 gallons per month use limit or increasing a permitted withdrawal.

Map of Groundwater Management Areas in Virginia

Printable version of GWMA map

Permit Term

Permits are issued for a maximum term of 10 years.

Fees

Type of Groundwater Permit  Issuance/Reissuance Modification 
Agricultural withdrawals No Fee  No Fee 
Historic permits - (Initial permit for an existing withdrawal based solely on historic withdrawals) $1,200.00  $600.00 
New or expanded groundwater withdrawal permits $6,000.00  $3,000.00 
     

Well Construction Requirements

All new wells installed for a permitted withdrawal, or where a permit may be needed in the future, are to have a full suite of geophysical logs and be constructed in a manner that prevents leakance or interaction between aquifers.

See the Well Installation Factsheet for additional information. Contact the DEQ OWS Staff at least two weeks prior to installing a new well for a permitted facility to help ensure compliance with permit requirements. Collecting a suite of geophysical logs after the well is constructed requires installation of a new geophysical borehole near the production well to obtain the logs and meet permitting requirements. Geophysical logs allow the determination of the tops of the aquifer at the well location (and therefore the allowable pump intake setting required for permitting) and help identify the most productive zones to place the screens. DEQ recommends geophysical logging for all wells installed in the coastal plain, other than private residential wells.

Typical Requirements for New and Expanded Permit Applications

Most applications for new or expanded groundwater withdrawal permits are required to include the following:

  • A preapplication meeting with the DEQ Office of Water Supply staff before submittal of an application
  • Demonstration of the need for the proposed amount of water withdrawal
  • Well construction documentation (via a GW2 form), geophysical log data and location data for all system wells 
  • Hydrogeologic information such as, but not limited to, aquifer properties (transmissivity and storage coefficient). Aquifer testing may be required before, at or following the pre-application meeting. This testing is usually conducted during well construction. This information will be required as appropriate to the individual site so that DEQ OWS staff may perform a technical evaluation to determine the areas of any aquifers that will experience at least one foot of water level decline due to the proposed withdrawal.  (Aquifer Test Technical Advisory document)
  • A plan to mitigate impacts to pre-existing users within the area of impact of the project
  • A water conservation and management plan that requires:
  • The use of water-saving plumbing and processes
  • A water loss reduction program that defines the leak detection and repair program
  • A water use education program
  • Evaluation of potential water reuse options
  • Mandatory use reduction during water shortage emergencies with ordinances and penalties in place for municipal systems
  • An evaluation of the lowest quality water needed for the intended beneficial use
  • An alternative water supply source evaluation for the proposed withdrawal
  • The required application fee, depending upon the type of use

Public notices are issued for all draft new and expanded use permits and a hearing is conducted if justified.

Application Process

All applications to withdrawal groundwater within a groundwater management area must meet the requirements in 9VAC25-610-10 et seq. Applications must contain all required information and be deemed “complete” at least 270 days before start of construction or operation of a new or expanded use permit or before expiration of an existing permit. Applications shall be submitted to the Groundwater Withdrawal Permitting Program at:

Office of Water Supply
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218

Note: A preapplication meeting is required before submittal of a new and/or expanded use permit application.

Current Permits

A spreadsheet listing the currently active Groundwater Withdrawal Permits is available for download from the link below:

Currently Active Groundwater Withdrawal Permits

These permits are final and therefore not open for public comment.  Contact Water Withdrawal Permitting staff for information about a particular permit or permits.

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


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