Vol. 33 Iss. 19 - May 15, 2017

Chapter 260
Notice of Intended Regulatory Action

Notice is hereby given in accordance with § 2.2-4007.01 of the Code of Virginia that the State Water Control Board intends to consider amending 9VAC25-260, Water Quality Standards. The purpose of the proposed action is to amend Virginia's antidegradation policy, part of the Water Quality Standards Regulation, by designating a portion of Laurel Fork as exceptional state waters (ESW) in 9VAC25-260-30 A 3 c. The ESW category of the antidegradation policy allows the State Water Control Board to designate waters that display exceptional environmental settings and either exceptional aquatic communities or exceptional recreational opportunities for added protection. ("Tier III" is how the public commonly refers to those waters that are protected from water quality degradation through a prohibition on new or increased point source discharges. The equivalent regulatory terms are "outstanding national resource waters" for the federal Environmental Protection Agency and "exceptional state waters" for Virginia.)

Once designated, the antidegradation policy provides that no water quality degradation would be allowed in the ESW (i.e., no new, additional, or increased point source discharge of sewage, industrial wastes, or other pollution would be allowed into waters designated as ESW). The only exception would be temporary, limited impact activities, with the provision that after a minimal period of time the waters are returned or restored to conditions equal to or better than those existing just prior to the temporary source of pollution. The goal is to protect these special waters at their present quality for use and enjoyment by future generations of Virginians.

The section of Laurel Fork under consideration for possible exceptional state waters designation is Laurel Fork in Highland County, from approximately 0.33 miles upstream of the confluence with Collins Run (Latitude N38.490051, Longitude W79.666039) downstream to a point approximately 0.5 miles upstream from the confluence of Mullenax Run (Latitude N38.508322, Longitude W79.652757).

The agency does not intend to hold a public hearing on the proposed action after publication in the Virginia Register.

Statutory Authority: § 62.1-44.15 of the Code of Virginia; 33 USC § 1251 et seq. of the Clean Water Act; 40 CFR Part 131.

Public Comment Deadline: June 14, 2017.

Agency Contact: David Whitehurst, Department of Environmental Quality, 629 East Main Street, P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA 23218, telephone (804) 698-4121, FAX (804) 698-4032, or email

VA.R. Doc. No. R17-5021; Filed April 20, 2017, 9:05 a.m.