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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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2014 Virginia Stormwater Legislation

For those not already following these Bills, here are links to several important legislative Bills in the 2014 Virginia General Assembly that will have an important impact on how localities as well as the general public - home and business owners as well as developers - may be impacted by ongoing changes to stormwater programs and policies in Virginia. Legislation related to the delayed implementation of VSMP Local Programs for MS4 localities: House Bill 697 (HB 697) Patron Delegates Poindexter, Helsel, Fariss, Peace and Ramadan and Senator: Stosch http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?141+ful+HB697 House Bill 1071 (HB 1071) Patron Delegate Fariss http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?141+ful+HB1071 House Bill 1117 (HB 1117) Patron Delegate Wright http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?141+ful+HB1117 Senate Bill 530 (SB 530) Patron Senator Hanger http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?141+ful+SB530 Other proposed stormwater legislation: Senate Bill 53 (SB 53) Patrons Senators Stuart and Smith  http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?141+ful+SB53  - Waiver of stormwater charges for places of worship House Bill 261 (HB 261) Patron Delegate Scott http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?141+ful+HB261 - Stormwater management program; regulations; single-family residence House Bill 649 (HB 649) Patron Delegate...

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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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Hopewell Virginia Recommends Investigating Stormwater Utility Fee

It’s the perfect storm impacting localities this year – new MS4 general permit requirements and stricter stormwater management program regulations – leaving administrators and elected officials with a significant financial responsibility and searching for alternate funding sources for stormwater. Many local governments, like the City of Hopewell, are considering a stormwater utility fee to fund the mandates from state and federal regulations. Stormwater utility fees are restricted for use only for stormwater purposes – planning, design, and construction of projects to alleviate flooding and/or improve  water quality. Read more about the City of Hopewell’s proposal here - http://progress-index.com/news/unfunded-stormwater-mandates-to-cost-millions-1.1568316...

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Chesapeake Bay Cleanup to be About Collaboration and Accountability

The cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay is a huge multi-state effort that will span decades, making it perhaps the largest environmental restoration project in US history. Senator Mark Warner and Representative Robert Wittman have introduced the Chesapeake Bay Accountability and Recovery Act of 2013 (HR 739) to make the process more accountable at the federal level. Some of you may remember similar measures proposed in 2009 and 2011. If passed, this will require the EPA to develop a management plan for the Chesapeake Bay Program and restoration activities related to the bay. EPA would be required to update the management plan every two years. The legislation would require new financial reports on the Chesapeake Bay Program from the Office of Management and Budget and would require EPA to appoint an independent evaluator, who would review and report to the Congress on the plan. Read more about the proposed legislation that hopes...

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Report Details Strategies for Stormwater Improvements in James River Watershed

[caption id="attachment_1086" align="alignleft" width="300"] Stormwater Retrofit ()Henrico County, Virginia)[/caption] Now that the MS4 General Permit has been approved by the Board of Conservation & Recreation, the future is rapidly becoming now. Now is the time to determine compliance costs to budget the necessary funds. The report from the James River Association and the Center for Watershed Protection provides much useful cost information, hopefully the start of a continuing sharing of information. The report ranks treatment methods by cost effectiveness, with urban stream restoration ranked as the most cost effective. Though cost effective, stream restoration projects cannot be small projects. Upstream and downstream conditions affect hydraulically stablity, so it is difficult to restore short stream sections. There should still be room for smaller projects, such as parking lot retrofits. The James River Association has championed such projects through their Extereme Stream Makeover programs. Below is a photograph of one such retrofit in Henrico County, a bioretention area in a parking lot...

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