|Action||Establish water quality criteria for new development activities within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed|
|Comment Period||Ends 2/3/2010|
On behalf of the Home Builders Association of Virginia, I appreciate this opportunity to comment on this new regulatory stage related to urban stormwater runoff. As stated in the NOIRA, EPA has released new data demonstrating that Virginia is within 1% of its target loads of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Sediment. As a result adjustments are needed in the recently adopted stormwater regulation.
The recently adopted regulations were predicated on older data from EPA indicating that the Commonwealth had much further to go in order to reach the goals set out in the last round of allocations for the Chesapeake Bay. Recognizing that the old data that lead to the creation of the entire regulation adopted on December 9th, it is the request of HBAV that this NOIRA be interpreted broadly to include detailed reveiew of all of the contents of Part II of the Stormwater Regulation.
This review should include a review of the grandfathering provisions, the off-site credit purchase programs, and the method by which stormwater is calculated, in addition reacting to the new numerical targets established by the EPA.
Recognizing that much work has gone into this regulation, HBAV is prepared to provide as much pertinent and thorough information as needed by the Soil and Water Conservation Board to create a regulation that is both good for the environment and directs resources in the most efficient and effective manner possible.
Vice President of Regulatory Affairs
As Virginians, we all desire and deserve clean water and healthy rivers and streams. At the same time, the cost of achieving these goals needs to be equitable to all property owners in the Commonwealth and not be so burdensome to those developing property that costs rise far faster than private enterprise can afford to pay. In the end, the restoration of our state's waters should be done in a manner that is equitable, achievable, and fair.
February 2, 2010
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
203 Governor Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Subject: December 10, 2009 NOIRA to establish water quality design criteria for new development activities within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed that are consistent with the pollutant loadings called for in the Virginia TMDL implementation plan
We submit these comments on behalf of the Virginia Fountainhead Alliance, an organization of businesses interested in Virginia’s environmental and economic future. The Alliance applauds the Board’s recognition that the originally proposed 0.28 (#/acre/year) phosphorus standard does not appear necessary to achieve water quality goals as well as its decision to authorize the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to create a new Regulatory Advisory Panel (RAP) to review and develop a separate standard for the Chesapeake Bay watershed .
At the Board’s December 10, 2009 meeting, the Alliance’s representative, David E. Anderson, made the following comment which we wish to restate as a part of our comments to the NOIRA
As I understand it, the DCR staff proposal before you today would provide for [a reexamination of the proposed phosphorus standard]. The 0.28 standard in the Chesapeake Bay watershed would be set aside in favor of what has come to be known as the “new” 0.45 standard. That standard would go into effect next July with the rest of the proposed regulations. In the meantime, a new Regulatory Advisory Panel (RAP) would be created to develop a new phosphorus standard using the latest and best data as it becomes available during the EPA TMDL process … Of course, it is essential that a new RAP be given the latitude to go where the science and data lead and that the scope of its mandate be broad enough to encompass fully and fairly the various issues that underlie the creation and application of a new standard (emphasis added).
The Alliance requests confirmation that the NOIRA published by DCR does allows for the full consideration of all issues that underlie the creation and application of a new standard. Specifically, the NOIRA states as follows:
[T]he Board also authorized and directed the Department of Conservation and Recreation … to consider compliance methodologies and mechanisms associated with any new design criteria (emphasis added).
It is our concern that limiting the RAP’s authority to considering methodologies and mechanisms associated with new design criteria may be interpreted to exclude ancillary issues, for example those dealing with grandfathering, which may be necessary to assure a fair and efficient implementation of the new standard. Consideration of such issues will be necessary even if the standard currently in the regulation (the “new” 0.45) is retained. Indeed, if the General Assembly takes action to delay the implementation of the regulations, there would be little question that the application of the “new” 0.45 standard would be the creation and implementation of a new regulation. We recommend that DCR issue a response advising that this RAP is authorized to consider compliance methodologies and mechanisms associated with the establishment of any phosphorus standard for any portion of the state or for the entire state..
David E. Anderson
Two issues that occur during the design/review phase of plans involving runoff. There is verbiage in the regulations associated with maintaining pre-developed runoff volume. Almost all developments are going to increase volume and peak rates. Controlling peak rates is relatively simple, it's just a matter of the appropriate detention design. Volume is another matter. Infiltration works well in some parts of the state, but in others either the clay content or Karst make infiltration unfeasible. This leaves reuse as the other option. Most developers do not want to get into double plumbing to utilize gray water for flushing. It also adds pumps that would have maintenance issues and the problem with power outages affecting the ability of graywater plumbing working in a building. The other alternative is irrigation. Many developments do not want or need irrigation. This leaves a quandry on what to do with the increased volume.
The second issue is the adequate channel criteria. Many sites drain to wetlands. These wetlands have little if any channels in them. Creating a channel is considered an impact by USACOE and DEQ. There needs to be an alternative design allowed to discharge into wetlands. My experience is that every regulator has a different opinion on what constitutes an adequate conversion from man made improvements, (storm pipe or ditch) into the wetlands.
Re: Regulatory Action to Establish Water Quality Design Criteria for New Development (4VAC50-60)
The Virginia Soil & Water Conservation Board has shown a determination to use the best available science during the recent revision to post-construction stormwater regulations. With the Board’s December 2009 decision to initiate a new regulatory effort to base the water quality criteria on the latest modeling data from EPA, they continue to demonstrate a commitment to establishing rules on the strongest scientific basis.
Potomac Conservancy requests the Board and DCR initiate this regulatory action without delay, laying the groundwork now with the creation of a balanced Regulatory Advisory Panel, and designing a process for incorporating the best science into this regulation. The outcome of this rulemaking will help ensure that future economic growth within the Commonwealth does not negatively impact our waterways and water resources.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this regulatory action.
Virginia Policy Director