State Water Control Board adopts Nutrient Trading Program, groundwater permits for poultry

virginia deqThe State Water Control Board has approved groundwater withdrawal permits for 45 poultry facilities on the Eastern Shore.

Each of the applications was evaluated individually and collectively by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to consider the potential effects of pumping over 50 years on the Eastern Shore aquifer system.

All of the permits place specific limits on water withdrawal and require well monitoring and conservation plans. Mitigation plans are required when necessary to protect existing groundwater users. Special conditions requiring investigations of the surficial aquifer as a potential alternative source were included for 26 of the farms. The SWCB added a similar special condition to the remaining permits.

The SWCB also adopted a new regulation, Certification of Nonpoint Source Nutrient Credits, 9VAC25-900, as a final regulation. The regulation establishes a process for certification of nonpoint source nitrogen and phosphorus nutrient credits and ensures a level playing field for participants in the trading program. Credits are generated from agricultural and urban stormwater best management practices, land use conversion, stream or wetland restoration and other established or innovative methods for reducing or removing nutrient pollution.

DEQ also submitted reports to the SWCB on significant noncompliance actions, the 2020 Revolving Loan Fund, the Financial Assistance program and the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

The next meeting of the SWCB will be scheduled next spring. For more information about DEQ, visit


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