Discharges from municipal separate storm sewer systems are regulated under the Virginia Stormwater Management Act, the Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) Permit regulations, and the Clean Water Act as point source discharges. MS4 regulations were developed and implemented in two phases. Implementation of the first phase began in the early 1990s and required that operators of MS4s serving populations of greater than 100,000 people (per the 1990 decennial census) apply for and obtain a permit to discharge stormwater from their outfalls. The second phase of MS4 regulations became effective March 23, 2003, and required that operators of small MS4s in "urbanized areas" (as defined by the latest decennial census) obtain a permit to discharge stormwater from their outfalls.
Stormwater discharges from Phase I (large and medium) municipal separate storm sewer systems are authorized under individual permits. Under these permits, the MS4 owner/operator must implement a collective series of programs to reduce the discharge of pollutants from the given storm sewer system to the maximum extent practicable in a manner that protects the water quality of nearby streams, rivers, wetlands and bays.
The programs must include elements to:
- Operate and maintain structural stormwater controls
- Control discharges from areas of development and significant redevelopment
- Operate and maintain public streets, roads and highways
- Identify, monitor and control discharges from municipal waste treatment, storage or disposal facilities
- Control pollutants related to application of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers
- Implement an inspection program to enforce ordinances, which prohibit illicit connections and illegal dumping into the MS4
- Screen the MS4 for illicit connections and illegal dumping
- Implement standard investigative procedures to identify and terminate sources of illicit connections or discharges
- Prevent, contain and respond to spills that may discharge into the MS4
- Limit the infiltration of sanitary seepage into the MS4
- Identify, monitor and control discharges from municipal landfills; hazardous waste treatment, storage, disposal and recovery facilities; facilities subject to EPCRA Title III, Section 313; and any other industrial or commercial discharge the permittee determines to be contributing a substantial pollutant loading to the MS4
- Control pollutants in construction site runoff
- Conduct public education on stormwater
Stormwater discharges from Phase II (small) MS4s are regulated under the General Permit for the Discharge of Stormwater from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems. Small MS4s include storm sewer systems operated by cities, counties, towns, federal facilities such as military bases, Veteran’s Affairs hospitals and research facilities, Department of Defense facilities and parkways, and state facilities such as VDOT, community colleges and public universities.
Under the general permit, small MS4s must develop, implement and enforce a program that includes the following “six minimum control measures":
- Public education and outreach on stormwater impacts
- Public involvement and participation
- Illicit discharge detection and elimination
- Construction site stormwater runoff control
- Post-construction stormwater management in new development and redevelopment
- Pollution prevention/good housekeeping for municipal operations
Similar to the Phase I programs, small MS4 programs must be designed and implemented to control the discharge of pollutants from their storm sewer system to the maximum extent practicable in a manner that protects the water quality in nearby streams, rivers, wetlands and bays.
To apply for general permit coverage, a complete registration statment, application fee form and the appropriate fee must be submitted to DEQ.
General Permit Forms effective through June 30, 2018:
Permit Issuance Fees:
Large or Medium (Phase I) MS4s applying for an individual permit
- $16,000; due with the permit application
Small (Phase II) MS4s applying for coverage under the General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Small MS4s
- $4,000; due with the registration statement
Annual Permit Maintenance Fees:
Large or Medium (Phase I) MS4s with individual permits (VA0088XXX)
- $8,800 due by Oct. 1st of each year. DEQ will mail invoices to all Phase I operators.
Small (Phase II) MS4s registered under the General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Small MS4s (VAR040XXX)
- $3,000 due by the anniversary date of permit coverage. DEQ will main invoices to all Phase II operators.
All permit fees shall be payable to the "Treasurer of Virginia" and submitted to:
Department of Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1104
Richmond, VA 23218
Checks should include the permit number or invoice number in the check's reference field. Also, a copy of the invoice should accompany the check.
Current MS4 Permits