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Authority to enact Virginia Water Protection (VWP) permit regulations is given by §62.1-44.15:20 of the Code of Virginia.

The over-arching regulation for the permit program is the Virginia Water Protection (VWP) Permit Program Regulation, 9VAC25-210 

Certain activities that are considered to have minimal impacts to human health and the environment may be covered under one of these VWP general permit regulations:

  • VWP General Permit WP1  for Impacts Less than One-Half of Acre, 9VAC 25-660
  • VWP General Permit WP2  for Facilities and Activities of Utility and Public Service Companies Regulated by the Federal Energy Commission or the State Corporation Commission and Other Utility Line Activities, 9VAC 25-670
  • VWP General Permit WP3  for Linear Transportation Projects, 9VAC 25-680 
  • VWP General Permit WP4  for Impacts from Development and Certain Mining Activities, 9VAC 25-690

For more information on how regulations are developed, please visit DEQ's Regulatory Guide that describes the Administrative Process Act (APA). New regulations or revisions to existing regulations are posted in the Virginia Register.  Public meetings, public notices, and regulatory actions may also be posted on the Virginia Town Hall web site. Please visit these web sites often for the latest information on regulatory actions conducted by DEQ. However, please be aware that some regulatory actions, such as the development and revision of general permit regulations, are exempt from certain steps in the APA.

Additional State and Federal Regulations

In 2000, the General Assembly removed the dependence of the State nontidal wetlands program on the issuance of a Federal permit, thus authorizing the Virginia Water Protection Permit Program to regulate activities in wetlands such as certain types of excavation in wetlands and fill in isolated wetlands (which may not be under Federal jurisdiction).

The U.S Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) issues nationwide permits (NWPs) and Regional Permits (RPs) to authorize certain activities that require Department of the Army permits under Section 404 of the clean Water Act and/or Section 10 of the River and Harbor Act of 1899. Section 404(e) of the Clean Water Act states that NWPs and other general permits may only authorize activities that "will cause only minimal adverse environmental effects when performed separately, and will have only minimal cumulative adverse effects on the environment". NWPs and RPs can be issued for a maximum 5-year period, and must be renewed before they expire.  The Corps issues and reissues the NWPs through the Administrative Procedure Act rulemaking process.

DEQ can provide Section 401 Certification through permitting or by certifying U.S. Army Corps of Engineers nationwide or regional permits. Some U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit Certifications contain conditions which must be met in order for the Certification to apply. 

The following information below summarizes DEQ's Section 401 Certification of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers nationwide and regional permits and any DEQ conditions that exist on the certification.

The enactment of the Tidal Wetlands Act of 1972 gave the Virginia Marine Resources Commission the responsibility for issuing tidal wetlands permits under Chapters 12 and 13 of Title 28.2 of the Code of Virginia. 

EPA’s Proposed Rulemaking

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed rulemaking regarding the definition of ‘Waters of the U.S. (or WOTUS)’ which may affect federal permitting under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, such as permits issued through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ permit program.
In Virginia, this proposed federal rulemaking will not replace or supersede the authority given to DEQ under the Code of Virginia and the Virginia State Water Control Law for permitting impacts to state waters (see Title 62.1).  DEQ is currently considering what effects, if any, the federal proposed rulemaking may have on applicable agency functions, roles and/or staffing.

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

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