Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Environmental Quality
State Water Control Board
Water Quality Standards [9 VAC 25 ‑ 260]
Designation of Portion of Laurel Fork in Highland County as Exceptional State Waters
Action 4754
General Information
Action Summary The State Water Control Board (Board) proposes to amend Virginia’s Antidegradation Policy (9 VAC 25-260-30), part of the Water Quality Standards Regulation, by designating a portion of Laurel Fork as Exceptional State Waters (“ESW”; 9 VAC 25-260-30.A.3.c). The ESW category of the Antidegradation Policy allows the Board to designate waters which display exceptional environmental settings and either exceptional aquatic communities or exceptional recreational opportunities for added protection. ("Tier III" is how the public commonly refers to those waters that are protected from water quality degradation through a prohibition on new or increased point source discharges. The equivalent regulatory terms are "Outstanding National Resource Waters" for EPA and "Exceptional State Waters" for Virginia.) Once designated, the Antidegradation Policy provides that no water quality degradation would be allowed in the ESW (i.e., no new, additional or increased point source discharge of sewage, industrial wastes or other pollution would be allowed into waters designated as ESW). The only exception would be temporary, limited impact activities, with the provision that after a minimal period of time the waters are returned or restored to conditions equal to or better than those existing just prior to the temporary source of pollution. The goal is to protect these special waters at their present quality for use and enjoyment by future generations of Virginians. The section of Laurel Fork under consideration for possible Exceptional State Waters designation is: Laurel Fork in Highland County, from approximately 0.33 miles upstream of the confluence with Collins Run (Lat. N38.490051, Long. W79.666039) downstream to a point approximately 0.5 miles upstream from the confluence of Mullenax Run (Lat. N38.508322, Long. W79.652757).
Chapters Affected Only affects this chapter.
Executive Branch Review This action will go through the normal Executive Branch Review process.
RIS Project Yes  [005021]
Associated Petitions for Rulemaking Exceptional State Water Designation - Segment of Laurel Fork in Highland County
New Periodic Review This action will not be used to conduct a new periodic review.
Stages associated with this regulatory action.
Stage ID Stage Type Status
7824 NOIRA Stage complete. Comment period ended 06/14/2017.
8151 Proposed Stage complete. Comment period ended 04/15/2022.
Contact Information
Name / Title: David Whitehurst 
Address: 1111 East Main Street, Suite 1400
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
Email Address:
Phone: (804)774-9180    FAX: ()-    TDD: ()-

This person is the primary contact for this chapter.