Virginia Environment - General regulations & environmental compliance analysis

Virginia Environment - General: What you need to know

Overview of Virginia's Environmental Rules


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In Virginia, the counterpart to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). DEQ is responsible for protecting Virginia's land, water, and air from pollution. Virginia has been delegated authority by EPA to administer and enforce regulatory programs for air emissions, water quality, and waste management. Various state regulatory requirements are more stringent than corresponding federal requirements.


Virginia's air program is shaped by its state implementation plan (SIP), which details basic strategies for implementation, maintenance, and enforcement of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). As mandated by the federal Clean Air Act (CAA), each state must adopt and submit a SIP to EPA for approval. Virginia's SIP was officially submitted to EPA in January 1972 and is frequently amended to comply with the 1990 CAA amendments. The SIP focuses on permitting, nonattainment areas, hazardous air pollutants, and numerous other air-related requirements.

DEQ's air program is implemented and enforced by the agency's Air Division.


Virginia rules provide for permits to be issued to businesses, industries, local governments, and individuals to protect state water quality and resources. Virginia is authorized by EPA to administer the federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) wastewater permit program, including general permit authority for stormwater discharges. In addition, Virginia has been granted primacy by EPA to administer the federal drinking water requirements under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).

DEQ's Water Division administers the ...

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