Federal, State and Local Clean Water Programs
Prince William County is an active participant in a variety of programs that improve water quality. Our actions demonstrate our commitment to ensuring our waters are safe for drinking, recreation and wildlife. This not only reduces run-off, pollutants and sediment entering our streams, but also helps to prevent flooding and drainage issues.
In 1994, the Board of County Supervisors established the Storm Water Management Program to put funding in place to protect and maintain our storm water infrastructure. These funds are used to:
- maintain improvements, including storm water management ponds and drainage areas
- monitor water quality
- implement flood control measures within our easements
- undertake drainage improvements
- restore degraded streams
The program has consistently met or exceeded requirements of these state and federal programs to control pollution, illicit discharges, nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment and other unwanted materials from entering our local waterways and eventually the Chesapeake Bay.
Clean Water Act
The Federal Clean Water Act was enacted in 1972 to draw attention to the need to safeguard, restore and improve our nation's waters. The Act provides regulations and requirements for states and localities to prevent pollution and improve water quality.
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issues a five year permit to the County to allow for the discharge of storm water into waterways. This permit, known as Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit, is a federal requiment from the Clean Water Act. It requires the County to maintain and improve our storm water infrastructure, which supports clean up of the Chesapeake Bay. Prince William County's current permit is under revision. Click here to review a copy of our current permit and annual report.
The Commonwealth of Virginia is commited to limiting pollutants entering waterways and eventually the Chesapeake Bay through its Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program. The County, like all communities in Virginia, must take steps and implement programs to reduce the total pounds of nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients entering our local streams, creeks and rivers. The County has an active storm water pond retrofit, stream restoration and urban nutrient management program working toward this important goal.
Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act
The Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act was enacted in 1988 to improve water quality in the state and Chesapeake Bay. The act requires localities to implement a variety of strategies to control run-off and pollution including stream buffers, best management practices on environmentally sensitive areas. These areas are known as Resource Protection Areas (RPAs) and Resource Management Areas (RMAs). Landowners are responsible for knowing certain restrictions for activities on these areas.
Virginia Storm Water Management Program
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is responsible for oversight and regulation of land disturbance and related construction activities to ensure compliance with TMDL and Chesapeake Bay standards. Anyone who disturbs land greater than 2500 square feet must apply for a permit through the County. DEQ administers these programs through the Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) permit regulations
, which are authorized by the Virginia Stormwater Management Act. Learn more about rules and regulations related to site and land development
Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Program
The Department of Public Works works with Builders and Developers to ensure proper practices are in place to protect streams, creeks and surrounding areas from erosion run-off and land disturbance activities. Staff members regularly inspect construction sites and land development projects to ensure compliance with local, state and federal laws. For further information, please consult County Staff and follow the Prince William County DCSM Administrative Procedures Manual
There are a variety of requirements to be followed when 2500 square feet or more of land is disturbed anywhere in the County for development (legitimate agricultural practices are exempt). For your reference, we offer general information about Erosion & Sediment Control
. All land disturbance plans must be reviewed by the County to ensure requirements are in place prior to land disturbance. These requirements fulfill the mandates set forth by the Federal Clean Water Act. These guidelines will help ensure sites are safe and well maintained, comply with all mandates and laws, and protect natural resources.
Prince William County works closely with the US Corps of Engineers on issues and projects related to jurisdictional wetlands in our community. Following their guidelines and recommendations, County staff can ensure wetlands can thrive and continue to perform their important function to capture pollutants, litter and run off before these unwanted materials enter our local streams, creeks and rivers.
If you believe you have wetlands on or near your property, please contact us for guidance on protecting these valuable areas.
Virginia Environmental Excellece Program
The Virginia Environmental Excellence Program was established to encourage superior environmental performance. There are two types of participation: facility-based
. The facility-based track
(e.g., E2, E3 and E4) promotes the use of environmental management systems (EMS) and pollution prevention and is based on the principles of ISO 14001, the international standard for EMSs, which originated in Europe in the early 1990s. Prince William County has several agencies recognized as E2 (Libraries and Police) and E3 (Public Works and Fire & Rescue). In addition, the Prince William County Landfill earned the E4 level and is the only active landfill to achieve this status.
In 2012, DEQ launched the VEEP Sustainability Partners (SP) track
to encourage organizations such as local governments, universities and state agencies across Virginia to make environmental sustainability part of their culture through leadership, innovation, and continual improvement. Prince William County is a Sustainability Partner!