Oversight of the regulations and permits pertaining to biosolids were transferred to DEQ from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) on January 1, 2008. The VDH Biosolids Use Regulation (BUR) was incorporated into the Virginia Pollution Abatement (VPA) Permit Regulation. Land application of biosolids is now regulated by DEQ under the VPA Permit Regulation and the Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) Permit Regulation. Many VDH-BUR permits are still active and will be phased out as DEQ permits are issued. Biosolids treatment and land application requirements have their basis in the requirements found in Federal regulations, 40 CFR Part 503, and additional requirements as specified in Virginia State Water Control Law § 62.1-44.19:3.
Biosolids treated to meet Class B pathogen standards may be land applied on agricultural, silvicultural (forestland) and mined land reclamation sites. Contractors who land apply or propose to land apply Class B biosolids in Virginia are required to obtain a VPA permit for each county or city in which they land apply. Municipal wastewater treatment plants may also be authorized to land apply Class B biosolids; they may be authorized under their existing VPDES permit or obtain a separate VPA permit for land application activities.
A VPA permit is also required for the operation of a facility, other than the wastewater treatment plant, that prepares biosolids from sewage sludge or further treats the biosolids to produce an exceptional quality biosolids product, including compost. Biosolids that have been treated to meet Class A Pathogen standards, as well exceptional quality standards for vector attraction reduction and metals concentrations, may be permitted for distribution and marketing, allowing the product to be sold to the public by the bag or in bulk. The VPA Distribution and Marketing Permit may be obtained by the biosolids preparer or the distributor.
A VPA permit is required for the land application of industrial waste (sludge and wastewater). The VPA permit application requires a conceptual design of the treatment works, including the storage facility and land area determination. Analyses are conducted to determine the land application site’s capacity to assimilate nutrients, metals, and any other pollutants of concern, in order to demonstrate that adequate land base is provided. Since the VPA Permit Regulation does not prescribe any technical standards for industrial wastes, DEQ staff uses other technical resources such as the Part IX of the VPA Regulation governing biosolids, 40 CFR Part 503 and the Virginia Nutrient Management Standards and Criteria (Department of Conservation and Recreation, Revised 2005), in the evaluation of land application of specific industrial wastes.
Unless the wastewater treatment works maintains an option to discharge pursuant to a VPDES permit, a VPA permit is required for land application of treated municipal wastewater. DEQ's Sewage Collection and Treatment Regulations prescribe the design, operational, and maintenance standards for the municipal wastewater treatment works and land treatment systems, and the pretreatment standards of the wastewater being land applied. DEQ staff will consult with VDH during the permitting process regarding health related issues.