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 Virginia Water Protection Compliance Program

VWP has three overlapping program areas that function to fulfill Virginia Water Protection regulations: Permitting, Compliance and Enforcement.  VWP regulatory compliance is a system to make sure permittees and other members of the public are aware of and take steps to follow the State Water Control Law (§ 62.1-44.15:21 and § 62.1-44.15:20), the Virginia Water Protection (VWP) Permit Program Regulation (9 VAC 25-210), and the associated general permit regulations. VWP compliance strives to protect wetlands, streams, and other state waters from being filled, excavated, drained, or dredged without a VWP permit.   Compliance monitoring ensures that VWP permit conditions are followed, and serves as an essential link to DEQ’s enforcement program when serious violations occur.

We monitor permit compliance by:
Reviewing required permit reports and submittals
Reviewing adherence to permit conditions
Inspecting project sites
Communicating and coordinating with permittees

We use compliance inspections to characterize:
Site conditions of construction and restoration sites
Compliance with permit conditions
Construction progress
Alleged noncompliance
Restoration site success

VWP also investigates reports of unpermitted activities in wetlands, streams or other state waters, and initiates enforcement actions if alleged violations of law or regulation are found. 

Other Questions and Resources 

Examples of Noncompliance
How does VWP respond to noncompliance
How to Report Noncompliance
Compliance Assistance

Examples of Noncompliance

  • Filling, excavating, land clearing, ditching, or otherwise damaging wetlands, streams, or other state waters without a required permit
  • Exceeding the amount of wetland, stream, or other state waters impacts that are authorized in a permit
  • Failing to provide VWP with required monitoring reports
  • Failing to provide required compensatory mitigation 
  • Failing to meet the requirements of project specific permit conditions



 Adjacent wetland areas protected from inadvertent impact




Construction activities have encroached into adjacent wetland areas without authorization

How does VWP respond to noncompliance?

During construction, permittees may be out of compliance with one or more permit conditions or VWP regulations. VWP staff work with permittees to bring these projects back into compliance and to minimize environmental harm resulting from the activity.  The compliance process uses different levels of response based on the degree of noncompliance. VWP staff can use the following approaches:


(1) Take no action if the investigation concludes that the permittee is in compliance with a permit,
(2) Make informal requests to resolve the least serious problems,
(3) Send a formal Warning Letter, or
(4) Refer cases to the Enforcement Division with a Notice of Violation (NOV).

How to Report Pollution Complaints or Noncompliance

If you wish to report a pollution incident or activity occurring in wetlands, streams, lakes, or ponds in your community; contact your Regional DEQ Office Pollution Response Coordinator.  DEQ’s Pollution Response Program (PREP) investigates complaints.
Other local, state, and federal agencies have regulatory jurisdiction over wetlands and other waters.  See the Links page for a partial list of other agency contacts.

Compliance Assistance

Permittees or the public can contact VWP staff to request compliance assistance. If you have questions about an activity affecting wetlands, streams, or other state waters, contact VWP staff assigned to your county. If you currently have a permit contact the DEQ project manager who issued your permit.  The best way to avoid legal problems as well as substantial expenditure of time and cost, is to inquire about an activity before you proceed or as soon as an incident occurs.


The following forms are for use by permittees who must document activities before, during and after project construction.
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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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