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Date: August 01, 2001

Virginia's coastal nonpoint source pollution control plan receives federal approval

(RICHMOND) - Virginia becomes only the sixth of 33 states, commonwealths or territories eligible to have its Coastal Nonpoint Program approved by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Failure to achieve program approval could have potentially cost the state up to $6 million per year in federal funding.

"Controlling nonpoint source pollution is a complex issue because of its many, diffuse sources," said Secretary Woodley. "The approval of Virginia's coastal nonpoint source program is the result of a comprehensive effort across many fronts, with many partners involved." The Virginia DCR is responsible for developing and amending the nonpoint source control program.

The approval became official with today's signing of Virginia's plan in Washington, D.C. Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources John Paul Woodley, Jr. was joined at the signing by Department of Conservation and Recreation Director David G. Brickley and Department of Environmental Quality Deputy Director David Johnson. Representing NOAA was National Ocean Service Deputy Assistant Administrator Jamison Hawkins and Don Welsh, Region III Administrator, represented the U.S. EPA.

Virginia's coastal nonpoint source pollution, or runoff pollution, control program covers 46 localities with tidal waters. This is roughly the entire area east of Interstate 95. In 1998, Virginia received conditional approval of its program, contingent on successfully addressing concerns in nine management areas - agriculture, forestry, urban, wetlands and riparian, marinas and recreational boating, hydromodifications, technical assistance, monitoring, and roads highways and bridges.

Actions taken to satisfy the federal government's conditions include:

  • Development and implementation of the Virginia Agricultural Stewardship Act
  • Establishment of the Virginia Poultry Waste Management Program
  • Adopting funding and tax breaks to farmers installing agricultural Best Management Practices
  • Having 42 of 46 jurisdictions subject to National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater permits
  • Identifying watersheds with high potential for nonpoint source pollution and incorporating these geographic priorities into the competitive Water Quality Improvement Fund grant process
  • Changing the Virginia Department of Health's Sewage Handing and Disposal Regulations, requiring an 18" separation between the bottom of a drainfield and the water table
  • The establishment of the Virginia Clean Marina Program
  • The Virginia Department of Transportation's submittal of an annual stormwater management plan to DCR
  • The requirement that contractors working on VDOT rights-of-way must now have completed the DCR contractor training course

Virginia's development of nutrient reduction tributary strategies for all river basins flowing into the Chesapeake Bay was cited as helping satisfy conditions under several of the management areas. The strategies are the result of Virginia's continuing voluntary participation in the multi-state Chesapeake Bay Program.

A complete listing of the NOAA/EPA Decisions on Conditions of Approval can be found on the DCR website at


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