The Clean Water Act directed states to develop management programs to control nonpoint source pollution. First developed in 1988, as specified in federal guidance issued by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Virginia completed a revision to the Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Program in 1999. Virginia's program guides federal, state and local actions, as well as funding and citizen participation. The update was necessary to incorporate changes in federal and state regulations and programs, and to ensure that Virginia remains eligible for federal program funding under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act.
The 1999 plan summarizes Virginia's effort to prevent and control nonpoint source pollution. It identifies programs and initiatives to achieve long-term statewide nonpoint source goals. The program utilizes partnerships to advance long- and short-term goals for the reduction of nonpoint source pollution; through financial, technical, and outreach assistance, and local capacity building to achieve specific nonpoint source pollution control targets. The original plan was intended to provide five-year achievable goals and activities, updated at five-year intervals.
During 2008, Virginia officially adopted the "Chesapeake Bay and Virginia Waters Clean-up Plan" as the Commonwealth's Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Plan update. It was determined that 2006 state legislation (House Bill 1150, "Virginia Waters Cleanup Plan") directing the Commonwealth to develop a plan to address water quality impairments and protect state waters from further degradation was sufficient in addressing nonpoint source activity in Virginia and could fill the need for an updated management plan.
In December 2012 EPA issued new guidance that directed states to update and issue the Nonpoint Source Management Programs by September 2014. In January 2013, DEQ in conjunction with the Department of Conservation and Recreation and other partners started a year-long process to develop and update its Nonpoint Source Management Program. More information is available on the process to update this program.