The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issues permits for the discharge of stormwater into waterways like Four Mile Run and the Potomac River. These permits, called municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permits, are good for five years. Arlington’s current MS4 permit (VPDES Permit No. VA 0088579) was issued on June 26, 2013.
Arlington is the first municipality in Virginia to receive an MS4 permit that includes quantitative pollution reduction requirements to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), which is commonly referred to as the “bay pollution diet,” requires significant reductions in nutrient and sediment pollution across the bay watershed.
Each MS4 permit is good for five years, and the new permit will be in effect through mid-2018. During this permit cycle, Arlington is required to achieve a 5 percent reduction of its share of these bay TDML pollutants. In the next two permit cycles, Arlington will be required to decrease its share of these bay TDML pollutants by an additional 35 percent (2018-2023 permit cycle) and 60 percent (2023-2028 permit cycle).
We began preparing for the 2013-issued permit and its more stringent requirements in 2008 with the adoption of the Stormwater Fund. The fund has allowed for the expansion of permit-required watershed management programs. The following programs and projects are among those that are specifically described in the permit:
- Ballston Pond Restoration Project
- Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program
- Expansion of Arlington’s Water Pollution Control Plant
- Reporting stream pollution
- Green streets projects
- Sanitary sewer rehabilitation
- Stream restoration projects
- Street Sweeping Program
- Stormwater Master Plan
- StormwaterWise Landscapes Program
- Tree planting Programs
- Watershed retrofit studies