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Big Changes Coming to Virginia Ms4 Compliance

A massive project by the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) has the potential to be a game changer for Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) compliance for MS4 permitees. When complete in 2030, HRSD’s project SWIFT (www.swiftva.com) will treat all the sewage from HRSD to drinking water standards and inject the treated water into groundwater aquifers. The main benefits to this project are that millions of pounds of nitrigen, phosphorus, and total suspended solids will no longer be discharged to the York and Lower James watersheds and injecting water into groundwater aquifers should result in a decrease or reversal of sinking land elevations. HRSD plans to fund the projected $5 billion cost by raising sewage rates. In exchange, HRSD will give credits to the cities and counties which make up their service area. If allowed by DEQ, these MS4 permittees will be able achieve Cheasepeake Bay TMDL compliance at no additional...

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“One-Stop Shop” Wanted for Stormwater Plans

It appears that legislation to reverse the requirement for all localities to administer the Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) will pass in the General Assembly; however, many non-MS4 localities are planning to ‘opt-in’ to having a local VSMP, instead of having DEQ take it over. Why? One word – Control – control over plan review and inspection outcomes and timeframes. These ‘opt-in’ localities have enough development projects to justify the additional staff and resources to manage the VSMP. Additionally these localities see the advantage to providing a ‘one-stop shop’ for their owners and developers. http://www.nbc29.com/story/24756628/greene-county-to-adopt-stormwater-management-plan...

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Virginia Stormwater Management Programs for Non-MS4 Localities May Be Administered by DEQ Pending Legislative Approval

For the past 2 years localities across the Commonwealth have been preparing to locally administer the Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) and are becoming increasingly concerned about the costs of implementation. However, with the Senate passing of SB423, it is likely that non-MS4 localities will no longer be required to locally administer the VSMP – these localities will have the option to have the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) administer and enforce the VSMP. Additionally, this Bill provides: Reciprocity with programs in other states for the certification of proprietary best management practices (BMPs) An agreement-in-lieu-of a stormwater management plan, and Updates the hearings and appeals processes Information regarding Senate Bill 423 can be found here: http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=141&typ=bil&val=sb423...

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Virginia HB1173 Affecting Stormwater Programs Passes House of Delegates 93-1

Signs are pointing to the Virginia General Assembly adopting HB1173 on the heels of a 93-1 vote on Wednesday in the House of Delegates. HB1173 will allow for non-MS4 localities to opt out of becoming the VSMP Authority and transfer those responsibilities to DEQ. There are other notable revisions to the Virginia Stormwater Management Law provided in HB1173 including: Incorporation of an "agreement in lieu of" for construction of a single-family residence, A provision for non-MS4 localities to opt out of serving asVSMP authority, A requirement that the State enforce state permits, Reciprocity with “…programs in other states for the certification of proprietary best management practices,” and Updates to the hearings and appeals processes. Yesterday, the Senate referred HB1173 to the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources. The latest version of the Bill and revisions included in HB1173 can be found at http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?141+ful+HB1173H2...

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Albemarle County’s Draft Water Protection Ordinance Advancing

Albemarle County staff have been working to meet State DEQ-mandated deadlines regarding stormwater regulations. In the coming months there will be one opportunity prior to the June 13th implementation deadline on May 15th to ask questions and provide comments to the County on how these regulations and new ordinances will affect the citizens and development community in the County. Currently, there are multiple bills in the General Assembly seeking to delay the implementation schedule so that localities can  better complete the planning process as well as receive input and feedback from their local communities. Please follow the link below to read more from Cville Magazine including viewpoints of several individuals representing organizations on various sides of the discussion. Please share your thoughts as well by commenting below. http://www.c-ville.com/going-clear-albemarles-complex-costly-quandary-over-stormwater-management/...

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DEQ Stormwater Local Assistance Fund (SLAF) Matching Grant Awards Announced

Last week Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell announced the award of nearly $23 Million to Virginia localities in a matching grants program designed to support various stormwater improvement projects.  "By targeting the needs of local governments, we are helping to reduce pollution in our waterways, and cleaning up our environment" Governor McDonnell stated. The approved projects are designed to reduce levels of phosphorus, a key pollutant in stormwater. The awarded projects have relatively high environmental benefits in terms of pounds of phosphorus removed per year. These projects were selected  because they were viewed as the most cost-effective of the proposals that DEQ received from localities. For a comprehensive list of localities and projects receiving funding, please follow the link below: http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/CleanWaterFinancingAssistance/StormwaterFundingPrograms/StormwaterLocalAssistanceFundSLAF.aspx...

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Virginia’s Governor Proposes Funding for Water Quality Improvements

Yesterday, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell announced funding in the upcoming biennial budget to support water quality imrpovement projects including Chesapeake Bay restoration, pollution reduction efforts, stormwater grants and other targeted environmental projects. Speaking about the budget proposals, Governor McDonnell said, "As the Chesapeake Bay restoration program celebrates its 30th anniversary, improving the health of the Bay has been one of our most important environmental priorities. The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure and an ecological wonder.  Over the past 30 years, the Chesapeake Bay Partnership has made immense progress in reducing nutrient pollution flows into the Chesapeake Bay.  As Virginians, we are committed to ensuring a clean and vibrant Chesapeake Bay for future generations to cherish." The introduced budget allocates over $31 million from the FY2013 budget surplus, to the Water Quality Improvement Fund (WQIF.) The budget also authorizes an additional $20.0 million of bonds through the Virginia Public Building Authority in FY...

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Update on Charlottesville Stormwater Utility Fee Planning

The credits and incentive program is a great opportunity for not only commercial land owners and developers, but for residential home owners and non-profit property owners  to reduce their stormwater utility fee.  The best part is: improvements made, which are eligible for a credit or incentive, are environmentally the right thing to do-helping to protect the Chesapeake Bay and the waterways from Charlottesville to the Bay.  City staff are committed to working with property owners to inform and assist.  Teaming with the  Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District staff will broaden the outreach. To read more about the City's recent luncheon presentation to a group representing the James River Green Building Council (JRGBC) please follow the link below: http://www.cvilletomorrow.org/news/article/15973-stormwater-utility-fee/ How do you feel the CIty is doing communicating to it's citizens and collaborating with all stakeholder groups?...

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Albemarle County Stormwater Inspection Programs

While Albemarle County continues to consider the implementation of a stormwateer utility fee to meet mandated water quality requirements it has also prepared a draft plan to gnerate necessary revenues for additional inspections and inspectors for their construction site inspection program. The proposed fees have not yet been finalized, but Mark Graham, the county’s Director of Community Development, said that they will be designed to recover 50 percent of the county’s costs. Detailed covereage of potential fee changes are found in the attached Charlottesville Tomorrow article: http://www.cvilletomorrow.org/news/article/15853-stormwater-changes-albemarle/...

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Virginia Stormwater Programs Now Under VDEQ

This week (effective July 1, 2013) The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) became the lead agency for developing and implementing statewide nonpoint source pollution control programs consolidating these programs with otherenvironmental and water programs that ahave been managed by VDEQ. The Virginia Stormwater Management Program had been managed by the Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR.) How do youy think that the new operational and organizational structure will benefit stormwater and environmental programs and policy? Visit the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Stormwater Management web site at: http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/StormwaterManagement.aspx...

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