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9VAC25-31-170. General permits.

A. The board may issue a general permit in accordance with the following:

1. The general permit shall be written to cover one or more categories or subcategories of discharges or sludge use or disposal practices or facilities described in the permit under subdivision 2 b of this subsection, except those covered by individual permits, within a geographic area. The area should correspond to existing geographic or political boundaries, such as:

a. Designated planning areas under 208 and 303 of CWA;

b. Sewer districts or sewer authorities;

c. City, county, or state political boundaries;

d. State highway systems;

e. Standard metropolitan statistical areas as defined by the Office of Management and Budget;

f. Urbanized areas as designated by the Bureau of the Census according to criteria in 30 FR 15202 (May 1, 1974); or

g. Any other appropriate division or combination of boundaries.

2. The general permit may be written to regulate one or more categories or subcategories of discharges or sludge use or disposal practices or facilities, within the area described in subdivision 1 of this subsection, where the sources within a covered subcategory of discharges are either:

a. Storm water point sources; or

b. One or more categories or subcategories of point sources other than storm water point sources, or one or more categories or subcategories of treatment works treating domestic sewage, if the sources or treatment works treating domestic sewage within each category or subcategory all:

(1) Involve the same or substantially similar types of operations;

(2) Discharge the same types of wastes or engage in the same types of sludge use or disposal practices;

(3) Require the same effluent limitations, operating conditions, or standards for sewage sludge use or disposal;

(4) Require the same or similar monitoring; and

(5) In the opinion of the board, are more appropriately controlled under a general permit than under individual permits.

3. Where sources within a specific category of dischargers are subject to water quality-based limits imposed pursuant to 9VAC25-31-220, the sources in that specific category or subcategory shall be subject to the same water quality-based effluent limitations.

4. The general permit must clearly identify the applicable conditions for each category or subcategory of dischargers or treatment works treating domestic sewage covered by the permit.

5. The general permit may exclude specified sources or areas from coverage.

B. Administration.

1. General permits may be issued, modified, revoked and reissued, or terminated in accordance with applicable requirements of this chapter.

2. Authorization to discharge, or authorization to engage in sludge use and disposal practices.

a. Except as provided in subdivisions 2 e and 2 f of this subsection, dischargers (or treatment works treating domestic sewage) seeking coverage under a general permit shall submit to the department a written notice of intent to be covered by the general permit. A discharger (or treatment works treating domestic sewage) who fails to submit a notice of intent in accordance with the terms of the permit is not authorized to discharge, (or in the case of a sludge disposal permit, to engage in a sludge use or disposal practice), under the terms of the general permit unless the general permit, in accordance with subdivision 2 e of this subsection, contains a provision that a notice of intent is not required or the board notifies a discharger (or treatment works treating domestic sewage) that it is covered by a general permit in accordance with subdivision 2 f of this subsection. A complete and timely notice of intent (NOI) to be covered in accordance with general permit requirements fulfills the requirements for permit applications for the purposes of this chapter. As of the start date in Table 1 of 9VAC25-31-1020, all notices of intent submitted in compliance with this subsection shall be submitted electronically by the discharger (or treatment works treating domestic sewage) to the department in compliance with this subsection and 40 CFR Part 3 (including, in all cases, 40 CFR Part 3 Subpart D), 9VAC25-31-110, and Part XI (9VAC25-31-950 et seq.) of this chapter. Part XI of this chapter is not intended to undo existing requirements for electronic reporting. Prior to this date, and independent of Part XI of this chapter, dischargers (or treatment works treating domestic sewage) may be required to report electronically if specified by a particular permit.

b. The contents of the notice of intent shall be specified in the general permit and shall require the submission of information necessary for adequate program implementation, including at a minimum, the legal name and address of the owner or operator, the facility name and address, type of facility or discharges, and the receiving stream or streams and other required data elements as identified in Appendix A to 40 CFR Part 127, as adopted by reference in 9VAC25-31-1030. General permits for storm water discharges associated with industrial activity from inactive mining, inactive oil and gas operations, or inactive landfills occurring on federal lands where an operator cannot be identified may contain alternative notice of intent requirements. Notices of intent for coverage under a general permit for concentrated animal feeding operations must include the information specified in 9VAC25-31-100 J 1, including a topographic map. All notices of intent shall be signed in accordance with 9VAC25-31-110.

c. General permits shall specify the deadlines for submitting notices of intent to be covered and the date or dates when a discharger is authorized to discharge under the permit.

d. General permits shall specify whether a discharger (or treatment works treating domestic sewage) that has submitted a complete and timely notice of intent to be covered in accordance with the general permit and that is eligible for coverage under the permit, is authorized to discharge, (or in the case of a sludge disposal permit, to engage in a sludge use or disposal practice), in accordance with the permit either upon receipt of the notice of intent by the department, after a waiting period specified in the general permit, on a date specified in the general permit, or upon receipt of notification of inclusion by the board. Coverage may be terminated or revoked in accordance with subdivision 3 of this subsection.

e. Discharges other than discharges from publicly owned treatment works, combined sewer overflows, primary industrial facilities, and storm water discharges associated with industrial activity, may, at the discretion of the board, be authorized to discharge under a general permit without submitting a notice of intent where the board finds that a notice of intent requirement would be inappropriate. In making such a finding, the board shall consider: the type of discharge; the expected nature of the discharge; the potential for toxic and conventional pollutants in the discharges; the expected volume of the discharges; other means of identifying discharges covered by the permit; and the estimated number of discharges to be covered by the permit. The board shall provide in the public notice of the general permit the reasons for not requiring a notice of intent.

f. The board may notify a discharger (or treatment works treating domestic sewage) that it is covered by a general permit, even if the discharger (or treatment works treating domestic sewage) has not submitted a notice of intent to be covered. A discharger (or treatment works treating domestic sewage) so notified may request an individual permit under subdivision 3 c of this subsection.

g. A CAFO owner or operator may be authorized to discharge under a general permit only in accordance with the process described in subdivision C 4 of 9VAC25-31-130.

3. Requiring an individual permit.

a. The board may require any discharger authorized by a general permit to apply for and obtain an individual VPDES permit. Any interested person may request the board to take action under this subdivision. Cases where an individual VPDES permit may be required include the following:

(1) The discharger or treatment works treating domestic sewage is not in compliance with the conditions of the general VPDES permit;

(2) A change has occurred in the availability of demonstrated technology or practices for the control or abatement of pollutants applicable to the point source or treatment works treating domestic sewage;

(3) Effluent limitation guidelines are promulgated for point sources covered by the general VPDES permit;

(4) A water quality management plan containing requirements applicable to such point sources is approved;

(5) Circumstances have changed since the time of the request to be covered so that the discharger is no longer appropriately controlled under the general permit, or either a temporary or permanent reduction or elimination of the authorized discharge is necessary;

(6) Standards for sewage sludge use or disposal have been promulgated for the sludge use and disposal practice covered by the general VPDES permit; or

(7) The discharge(s) is a significant contributor of pollutants. In making this determination, the board may consider the following factors:

(a) The location of the discharge with respect to surface waters;

(b) The size of the discharge;

(c) The quantity and nature of the pollutants discharged to surface waters; and

(d) Other relevant factors.

b. Permits required on a case-by-case basis.

(1) The board may determine, on a case-by-case basis, that certain concentrated animal feeding operations, concentrated aquatic animal production facilities, storm water discharges, and certain other facilities covered by general permits that do not generally require an individual permit may be required to obtain an individual permit because of their contributions to water pollution.

(2) Whenever the board decides that an individual permit is required under this subsection, except as provided in subdivision 3 b (3) of this subsection, the board shall notify the discharger in writing of that decision and the reasons for it, and shall send an application form with the notice. The discharger must apply for a permit within 60 days of notice, unless permission for a later date is granted by the board. The question whether the designation was proper will remain open for consideration during the public comment period for the draft permit and in any subsequent public hearing.

(3) Prior to a case-by-case determination that an individual permit is required for a storm water discharge under this subsection, the board may require the discharger to submit a permit application or other information regarding the discharge under the law and 308 of the CWA. In requiring such information, the board shall notify the discharger in writing and shall send an application form with the notice. The discharger must apply for a permit under 9VAC25-31-120 A 1 within 60 days of notice or under 9VAC25-31-120 A 7 within 180 days of notice, unless permission for a later date is granted by the board. The question whether the initial designation was proper will remain open for consideration during the public comment period for the draft permit and in any subsequent public hearing.

c. Any owner or operator authorized by a general permit may request to be excluded from the coverage of the general permit by applying for an individual permit. The owner or operator shall submit an application under 9VAC25-31-100 with reasons supporting the request. The request shall be processed under the applicable parts of this chapter. The request shall be granted by issuing of an individual permit if the reasons cited by the owner or operator are adequate to support the request.

d. When an individual VPDES permit is issued to an owner or operator otherwise subject to a general VPDES permit, the applicability of the general permit to the individual VPDES permittee is automatically terminated on the effective date of the individual permit.

e. A source excluded from a general permit solely because it already has an individual permit may request that the individual permit be revoked, and that it be covered by the general permit. Upon revocation of the individual permit, the general permit shall apply to the source.

Statutory Authority

62.1-44.15 of the Code of Virginia; 402 of the Clean Water Act; 40 CFR Parts 122, 123, 124, 403, and 503.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 12, Issue 20, eff. July 24, 1996; amended, Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 25, eff. September 27, 2000; Volume 17, Issue 13, eff. April 11, 2001; Volume 21, Issue 2, eff. November 3, 2004; Volume 21, Issue 9, eff. February 9, 2005; Volume 26, Issue 11, eff. March 3, 2010; Volume 30, Issue 4, eff. November 20, 2013; Volume 33, Issue 22, eff. July 26, 2017.


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