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9VAC25-31-850. Variances from categorical pretreatment standards for fundamentally different factors.

A. The term "requester" means an industrial user or a POTW or other interested person seeking a variance from the limits specified in a categorical pretreatment standard.

B. Any interested person believing that factors relating to an industrial user are fundamentally different from the factors considered during development of a categorical pretreatment standard applicable to that user and further, that the existence of those factors justifies a different discharge limit than specified in the applicable categorical pretreatment standard, may request a fundamentally different factors variance under this section.

C. Criteria.

1. General criteria. A request for a variance based upon fundamentally different factors shall be approved only if:

a. There is an applicable categorical pretreatment standard which specifically controls the pollutant for which alternative limits have been requested;

b. Factors relating to the discharge controlled by the categorical pretreatment standard are fundamentally different from the factors considered by EPA in establishing the standards; and

c. The request for a variance is made in accordance with the procedural requirements in subsections G and H of this section.

2. Criteria applicable to less stringent limits. A variance request for the establishment of limits less stringent than required by the standard shall be approved only if:

a. The alternative limit requested is no less stringent than justified by the fundamental difference;

b. The alternative limit will not result in a violation of prohibitive discharge standards prescribed by or established under 9VAC25-31-770;

c. The alternative limit will not result in a nonwater quality environmental impact (including energy requirements) fundamentally more adverse than the impact considered during development of the pretreatment standards; and

d. Compliance with the standards (either by using the technologies upon which the standards are based or by using other control alternatives) would result in either:

(1) A removal cost (adjusted for inflation) wholly out of proportion to the removal cost considered during development of the standards; or

(2) A nonwater quality environmental impact (including energy requirements) fundamentally more adverse than the impact considered during development of the standards.

3. Criteria applicable to more stringent limits. A variance request for the establishment of limits more stringent than required by the standards shall be approved only if:

a. The alternative limit request is no more stringent than justified by the fundamental difference; and

b. Compliance with the alternative limit would not result in either:

(1) A removal cost (adjusted for inflation) wholly out of proportion to the removal cost considered during development of the standards; or

(2) A nonwater quality environmental impact (including energy requirements) fundamentally more adverse than the impact considered during development of the standards.

D. Factors considered fundamentally different. Factors which may be considered fundamentally different are:

1. The nature or quality of pollutants contained in the raw waste load of the user's process wastewater;

2. The volume of the user's process wastewater and effluent discharged;

3. Nonwater quality environmental impact of control and treatment of the user's raw waste load;

4. Energy requirements of the application of control and treatment technology;

5. Age, size, land availability, and configuration as they relate to the user's equipment or facilities; processes employed; process changes; and engineering aspects of the application of control technology; and

6. Cost of compliance with required control technology.

E. Factors which will not be considered fundamentally different. A variance request or portion of such a request under this section may not be granted on any of the following grounds:

1. The feasibility of installing the required waste treatment equipment within the time the CWA allows;

2. The assertion that the standards cannot be achieved with the appropriate waste treatment facilities installed, if such assertion is not based on factors listed in subsection D of this section;

3. The user's ability to pay for the required waste treatment; or

4. The impact of a discharge on the quality of the POTW's receiving waters.

F. Local law. Nothing in this section shall be construed to impair the right of any locality under the Code of Virginia or 510 of the CWA to impose more stringent limitations than required by federal law.

G. Application deadline.

1. Requests for a variance and supporting information must be submitted in writing to the department or to the administrator, as appropriate.

2. In order to be considered, a request for a variance must be submitted no later than 180 days after the date on which a categorical pretreatment standard is published in the Federal Register.

3. Where the user has requested a categorical determination pursuant to 9VAC25-31-780 A, the user may elect to await the results of the category determination before submitting a variance request under this section. Where the user so elects, he must submit the variance request within 30 days after a final decision has been made on the categorical determination pursuant to 9VAC25-31-780 A 4.

H. Contents submission. Written submissions for variance requests, whether made to the administrator or the department, must include:

1. The name and address of the person making the request;

2. Identification of the interest of the requester which is affected by the categorical pretreatment standard for which the variance is requested;

3. Identification of the POTW currently receiving the waste from the industrial user for which alternative discharge limits are requested;

4. Identification of the categorical pretreatment standards which are applicable to the industrial user;

5. A list of each pollutant or pollutant parameter for which an alternative discharge limit is sought;

6. The alternative discharge limits proposed by the requester for each pollutant or pollutant parameter identified in subdivision 5 of this subsection;

7. A description of the industrial user "s existing water pollution control facilities;

8. A schematic flow representation of the industrial user's water system including water supply, process wastewater systems, and points of discharge; and

9. A statement of facts clearly establishing why the variance request should be approved, including detailed support data, documentation, and evidence necessary to fully evaluate the merits of the request, e.g., technical and economic data collected by the EPA and used in developing each pollutant discharge limit in the pretreatment standard.

I. Deficient requests. The administrator or the director will only act on written requests for variances that contain all of the information required. Persons who have made incomplete submissions will be notified by the administrator or the director that their requests are deficient and unless the time period is extended, will be given up to 30 days to remedy the deficiency. If the deficiency is not corrected within the time period allowed by the administrator or the director, the request for a variance shall be denied.

J. Public notice. Upon receipt of a complete request, the administrator or the director will provide notice of receipt, opportunity to review the submission, and opportunity to comment.

1. The public notice shall be circulated in a manner designed to inform interested and potentially interested persons of the request. Procedures for the circulation of public notice shall include mailing, by electronic or postal delivery, notices to:

a. The POTW into which the industrial user requesting the variance discharges;

b. Adjoining states whose waters may be affected; and

c. Designated 208 planning agencies, federal and state fish, shellfish and wildlife resource agencies; and to any other person or group who has requested individual notice, including those on appropriate mailing lists.

2. The public notice shall provide for a period not less than 30 days following the date of the public notice during which time interested persons may review the request and submit their written views on the request.

3. Following the comment period, the administrator or the director will make a determination on the request taking into consideration any comments received. Notice of this final decision shall be provided to the requester (and the industrial user for which the variance is requested if different), the POTW into which the industrial user discharges and all persons who submitted comments on the request.

K. Review of requests.

1. Where the director finds that fundamentally different factors do not exist, he may deny the request and notify the requester (and industrial user where they are not the same) and the POTW of the denial.

2. Where the director finds that fundamentally different factors do exist, he shall forward the request, with a recommendation that the request be approved, to the administrator.

Statutory Authority

62.1-44.15 of the Code of Virginia; 402 of the federal 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 29, Issue 24, eff. September 1, 2013.


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