Generally, activities requiring a permit include dredging, filling, or discharging any pollutant into or adjacent to surface waters, or otherwise altering the physical, chemical or biological properties of surface waters, excavating in wetlands, or on or after October 1, 2001, conducting the following activities in a wetland:
- New activities to cause draining that significantly alters or degrades existing wetland acreage or functions.
- Filling or dumping.
- Permanent flooding or impounding.
- New activities that cause significant alteration or degradation of existing wetland acreage or functions.
Withdrawal of surface water may require a permit or water use reporting. See, surface water withdrawals and impoundments for more information.
A permit from the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, Clean Water Act Section 404 permit, a Rivers and Harbors Act Section 10 permit, and/or a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license or license re-issuance may be required in addition to a VWP permit.
Specific details on what activities require permits, what activities don't, and which permit applies to which activity are located within the regulations section above.
Application Process for Permits
Obtain the appropriate application form: either the Standard Joint Permit Application (JPA) for most projects, the Tidewater JPA for certain projects in tidal areas, or the DEQ Application for New or Expanded Minor Surface Water Withdrawals. Detailed instructions on how to apply are included with each form. Forms may be downloaded from the links below or can be obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) web site, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) office at (757) 247-2200, or the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality offices.
Applicants may also use DEQ’s Application Checklists when applying for coverage under a DEQ general permit WP1, WP2, WP3, or WP4. The use of the checklists is optional but may assist DEQ permit managers in their review of your application. The checklist spreadsheet contains one checklist for each type of general permit. If you are pretty certain about the type of permit that may cover your project, simply submit the corresponding, completed checklist with your application (either electronically or on paper).
Submit the Joint Permit Application to VMRC at:
Virginia Marine Resources Commission
Habitat Management Division
2600 Washington Avenue, 3rd Floor
Newport News, Virginia 23607-0756
VMRC assigns a permit number and distributes the application to participating federal, state, and local agencies. Each agency will decide separately whether to issue a permit for the proposed project. Each agency responds separately to the applicant. DEQ may consult with other state and federal agencies on the proposed project.
Time Permits are Effective
Issued VWP Individual Permits are valid for a maximum of up to 15 years by law. The actual length of time your individual permit is valid may vary depending on the nature of the authorized project.
Issued VWP General Permit Authorizations are valid for a set time period, as required in the regulations that establish them. For WP1 the maximum authorization term is up to 3 years. For WP2, WP3 and WP4, the maximum term is up to 7 years.