Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Environmental Quality
State Water Control Board
Water Quality Standards [9 VAC 25 ‑ 260]
Action is Exempt from Article 2 of the Administrative Process Act
Triennial Review Remaining Issues-Ammonia(Action ID 4017-NOIRA & 3171-Proposal) EFF. October 13, 2020
Action 5238
General Information
Action Summary Amendments to Virginia’s Water Quality Standards Regulation (9 VAC 25-260) have been adopted to revise section155, which updates the ammonia criteria for the protection of freshwater aquatic life and includes implementation options for regulated dischargers. The following substantive changes have been made since the proposed action was published: • Addition of language stating the 4-day average ammonia concentration in freshwater may not exceed 2.5 times the chronic criterion within a 30 day period, more than once every 3 years on the average. • Addition of the Phased Implementation Plan language. The amendments to the ammonia criteria resulted from continuation of the Triennial Review (TR) of the water quality standards which was the subject of a Notice of Intended Regulatory Action published in the Virginia Register of Regulations on August 12, 2013 (Volume 29, Issue 25). (For details of the initial TR action see The Board, at its meeting on January 14, 2016, adopted several amendments to the water quality standards but postponed adoption of the bacteria, ammonia, cadmium and human health (BACH) amendments included in the initial TR proposal in response to public comments and concerns and to provide an opportunity for the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to gather additional information, utilize the most current information and further consult with interested stakeholders. DEQ reconvened the TR Regulatory Advisory Panel which met four times, then presented amendments to the Board at their December 2016 meeting and received authorization for public comment on the amendments. A Notice of Public Comment (NOPC) was published in the Virginia Register of Regulations on September 18, 2017 (Volume 34, Issue 2). (For details on the BACH action see The Board at its meeting on August 21, 2018 adopted the bacteria, cadmium and human health criteria amendments, but delayed action on the amendments to the freshwater ammonia criteria (9VAC25-260-155 A-C) due to the passage of House Bill 1475 during the 2018 General Assembly. The legislation directed the Board not to adopt the most recent ammonia criteria recommended by EPA unless the Board included in such adoption a phased implementation program consistent with the federal Clean Water Act with certain funding and timing considerations. DEQ staff developed this phased implementation program, issued a notice soliciting public comment, held two public hearings, and reconvened the RAP to gain input from interested stakeholders. (For notice details see: The Board, adopted the amendments to the ammonia criteria at the December 13, 2018, meeting completing action on the TR initiated in 2013.
Chapters Affected Only affects this chapter.
Executive Branch Review This Action is exempt from Article 2 of the Administrative Process Act. The normal executive branch review process is not required. As such, it can be submitted directly for publication and is effective upon publication.
Exempt Citation: APA
RIS Project Yes  [005530]
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
8559 Final Stage complete. This regulation became effective on 10/13/2020.
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.