Virginia Thermal Discharges regulations & environmental compliance analysis

Virginia Thermal Discharges: What you need to know

Governing Law and Regulations

Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) permits: 9 Virginia Administrative Code (VAC) 25-196-10 to 25-196-70

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Temperature limits: 9 VAC 25-260-60

Variances: 9 VAC 25-260-250

Maximum hourly temperature change: 9 VAC 25-260-70

Lakes and impoundments: 9 VAC 25-260-80

Site-specific temperature requirements: 9 VAC 25-260-90

VPDES permit: 9 VAC 25-196-10 to 25-196-70

Permit conditions: 9 VAC 25-196-70

Regulatory Agency

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Division of Water

See ADDRESSES & CONTACTS for addresses and telephone numbers.

See national section for basic information and federal regulations.

Comparison: State vs. Federal

Rules. Virginia has developed thermal discharge regulations that conform to the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). Temperature requirements have been established by DEQ to protect the state's native aquatic life. The requirements apply to the state's lakes, rivers, streams, and nontidal waters.

The state issues a Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) general permit for noncontact cooling water discharges of 50,000 gallons per day (gpd) or less.

Administration and enforcement. DEQ's Division of Water is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the state's thermal discharge regulations.

State Requirements


9 VAC 25-260-60

Virginia prohibits any rise above natural water temperature in excess of 3°C except in the case of Class VI waters, which are natural trout waters. In these Class VI waters, the increase in water temperature may not exceed 1°C above the natural water temperature. However, on a case-by-case basis, the state may impose more stringent limits on the rise above natural ...

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