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Media inquiries: Please contact Gary Waugh, gary.waugh@dcr.virginia.gov, 804-786-5045.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: January 28, 2005
Contact: Gary Waugh, DCR Public Relations Manager, (804) 786-5045, gary.waugh@dcr.virginia.gov

Conservation agency to handle stormwater permitting

(RICHMOND, Va.) - Effective Saturday, January 29, 2005, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will be charged with issuing the state's stormwater permits for construction activities and for municipal separate storm sewer systems, known as MS4s. The permits are required under the federal Clean Water Act through U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

These stormwater programs, previously administered by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, were transferred as part of a larger effort to consolidate the state's decentralized stormwater management programs. Previously DEQ, DCR and the Chesapeake Local Assistance Department - now a part of DCR - had stormwater management responsibility. The EPA recently approved the transfer of the construction and MS4 permitting from DEQ to DCR.

DCR is currently in the process of notifying localities with separate storm water systems of the change. More than 100 permits for separate storm water systems are issued to localities and other entities across the state.

In addition, DCR will now issue stormwater permits for any construction project over one acre, or over 2,500 square feet in the 84 eastern Virginia localities covered by the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act. DCR will also be responsible for inspection and compliance enforcement associated with these permits. Contractors and localities seeking information on the transferred programs can go to the DCR website at www.dcr.virginia.gov.

"The preparation for undertaking this regulatory program has required a tremendous amount of staff time and effort," said Joseph H. Maroon, DCR director. "As a result we anticipate a smooth transition in working with the affected localities, contractors and landowners and look forward to positive benefits to the environment and the regulated community."

Transferring the MS4 and construction permitting is part of an effort to both consolidate and strengthen the state's handling of stormwater, one of the leading sources of water pollution. These changes and others are the result of legislation passed by the 2004 session of the General Assembly.

The legislation, a Warner Administration initiative, also calls for localities across the state to establish stormwater management construction permitting programs. In those localities that opt not to establish a stormwater program DCR will issue permits. To encourage localities to establish their own programs a statewide uniform permitting fee will be instituted, with a large portion of the fee remaining with the locality to run the program.

Transfer of the construction stormwater-permitting program to localities is to take place by July 1, 2006. The EPA must also approve this transfer. DCR will work with the EPA and will seek input from localities and other affected parties in the development of the proposal for delegating permitting activities to localities.

For more information on stormwater management in Virginia, and for updates on the new permitting process visit the DCR website at www.dcr.virginia.gov or call DCR at (804) 786-1712.

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