November 09 2018
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) has two Stormwater Program permits currently available for public comment: the Industrial General Permit (9 VAC25-870-151) and the Construction General Permit (9 VAC25-870-880). The comment period ends on 12/28/18 for both. Links for commenting are provided below.
Industrial General Permit: http://townhall.virginia.gov/l/ViewXML.cfm?textid=12951
Construction General Permit: http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewXML.cfm?textid=12950
In addition, VDEQ’s 2018-2023 MS4 General Permit is now final with an effective date of 11/01/18 and is posted here https://law.lis.virginia.gov/admincodeexpand/title9/agency25/chapter890.
3e’s Water Resources group is tracking all updates and can help navigate the permitting process and what it may mean for our clients.
September 22 2018
Changes could be coming to the NEPA process. On June 20, 2018, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) requested public comments on "potential revisions to update the regulations and ensure a more efficient, timely, and effective NEPA process” (https://ceq.doe.gov/laws-regulations/regulations.html) with a notice in the Federal Register (83 FR 28591). In response, the NEPA community, including our NEPA specialists here at 3e, is discussing the most effective ways to streamline a process that can take months to years and whether CEQ will overhaul its guidance in response to comments.
For many larger projects across nearly all Federal agencies, NEPA documents have become long and cumbersome to wade through, especially for the general public that is looking for a basic and simple understanding of the potential effects of a Federal action. 3e has noticed that nearly all our Federal clients are sincerely focused on streamlining the process to reduce NEPA timelines and the length of NEPA documents.
One suggestion is for agencies to adopt a broader range of actions that qualify as Categorical Exclusions, which are by nature smaller documents than Environmental Assessments or Environmental Impact Statements. The comment period closed on August 30, 2018 and CEQ is currently reviewing public comments. 3e will be following this topic and help our clients understand and implement any changes in CEQ’s NEPA guidance.
November 27 2017
3e is helping to keep streams clean through our work with private landowners, the Hanover-Caroline Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). We prepared an Agricultural Conservation Plan, including design of exclusion fencing, stream crossings, and other infrastructure aimed at improving water quality on a farm in central Virginia. The project will:
-reestablish riparian buffers by installing new exclusion fence to keep cows out of riparian areas;
-improve water quality by keeping cows from excreting waste directly into the stream; and
-minimize streambank and streambed erosion by constructing new crossings for cattle to cross streams
-minimize travel surface erosion by consolidating trails and establishing a fenced hardened walking trail
Because the landowner and SWCD will receive cost reimbursements from the NRCS, 3e also assisted by preparing a cultural resources evaluation and coordinating with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources for the project to comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. This project, including the design, was funded by a grant from the Virginia Agricultural BMP Cost-Share Program to enhance water quality in the State.
April 11 2017
3e staff had a great time at the 2017 Environment Virginia Symposium at the VMI Center for Leadership & Ethics April 4-6 in Lexington, Virginia. Our staff enjoyed the opportunity to network with peers and attend the interesting breakout sessions. Katie Shoemaker, PE and Steve Marks, PE, CFM gave a presentation on Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Reduction Credits for Urban Stream Restoration. Thanks to the VMI Center for Leadership & Ethics for hosting this great event!
February 03 2017
Clean Water Act Section 404 Nationwide permits (NWPs) are general permits issued by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on a nationwide basis for activities having minimal impacts. NWPs are designed to provide timely USACE authorization for a wide variety of activities in wetlands and other areas that the federal government has determined to be regulated “waters of the United States.” Work in these jurisdictional wetlands and streams can include residential developments, utility lines and road crossings, for example.
The NWPs are proposed, issued, modified, reissued (extended), and revoked from time to time, after the opportunity for public notice and comment. Last issued on March 19, 2012, there are currently 50 Nationwide Permits. All of these Nationwide Permits expire five years after issuance on March 18, 2017.
The USACE has proposed changes to several existing NWPs, as well as the issuance of two new NWPs and modification to some of the General Condition and Definitions. The Corps’ proposed modifications to existing NWPs, which are tabulated in the Corps’ summary table for the Proposal, aim largely to clarify the terms of the NWPs rather than change their substantive authorization.
Permittees with coverage under an existing NWP may wish to consider seeking to “grandfather” their permit by entering into a contract by March 18, 2017 to perform the work authorized by the NWPs, and/or by commencing construction by that date, and must complete construction by March 18, 2018.
Contact 3e if you have questions about your project's permit status.