County of Fairfax

Fairfax Stormwater Laws and Regulations

County of Fairfax regulations are compliant with its Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP/NPDES) permit requirements for the county's small municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4). Information below comes from Fairfax County Government websites, links to this and additional information are available at the bottom of the page.

Excerpt- Stormwater Management Ordinance

Fairfax County has adopted a Stormwater Management Ordinance in response to state regulations requiring localities to adopt ordinances and take over reviews and inspections for Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) general permits relating to stormwater runoff from construction sites effective July 1, 2014. The ordinance and related code amendments implement the Virginia Stormwater Management Act (Va. Code Ann. § 62.1-44.15:24, et seq.) and Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) Permit Regulations (9 VAC 25-870 et seq.).

Section 124-1-6. - Areas of Applicability.

This Chapter and all regulations adopted hereunder shall apply to all land located within the unincorporated areas of Fairfax County. (08-14-124.)

Section 124-1-7. - Exemptions.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Chapter, the following activities are exempt from the provisions of this Chapter, unless otherwise required by federal law:

  1. Permitted surface or deep mining operations and projects, or oil and gas operations and projects conducted under the provisions of Title 45.1 of the Virginia Code ;
  2. Clearing of lands specifically for agricultural purposes and the management, tilling, planting or harvesting of agricultural, horticultural, or forest crops; livestock feedlot operations, or as additionally set forth by the State Water Control Board in regulations, including engineering operations as follows: construction of terraces, terrace outlets, check dams, desilting basins, dikes, ponds, ditches, strip cropping, lister furrowing, contour cultivating, contour furrowing, land drainage, and land irrigation; however, this exception shall not apply to harvesting of forest crops unless the area on which harvesting occurs is reforested artificially or naturally in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 11 of the Virginia Code (§ 10.1-1100 et seq.) or is converted to bona fide agricultural or improved pasture use as described in subsection B of § 10.1-1163, Virginia Code ;
  3. Single-family dwellings separately built and disturbing less than 1 acre and not part of a larger common plan of development or sale, including: additions to existing single-family detached dwellings; accessory structures to single-family detached dwellings; and demolitions of single-family detached dwellings or accessory structures all subject to the following:
    1. Control measures are not required to address a specific WLA for a pollutant that has been established in a TMDL and assigned to stormwater discharges from construction activities within the watershed; and
    2. The proposed construction meets one of the following conditions:
      1. Total imperviousness on the lot will be less than 2,500 square feet or 18% of the lot area, whichever is greater; or
      2. The total lot area is one-half acre or less and no more than 500 square feet of new impervious area will be added; or
      3. Water quality controls meeting requirements in effect at the time were provided with the original subdivision construction and are currently in place; or
      4. The property is served by an existing regional stormwater management facility providing water quality control.
      5. In order to demonstrate compliance with conditions (3) or (4) above, an applicant for a land-disturbing permit need only certify that water quality controls were included as part of the approved subdivision plans and have not been removed or that the site drains to an existing regional stormwater management facility providing water quality control.
  4. Land-disturbing activities that disturb less than or equal to 2,500 square feet except for land-disturbing activities that are part of a larger common plan of development or sale that disturbs one acre or greater;
  5. Discharges to a sanitary sewer or a combined sewer system;
  6. Activities under a State or federal reclamation program to return an abandoned property to an agricultural or open land use;
  7. Routine maintenance that is performed to maintain the original line and grade, hydraulic capacity, or original construction of the project. The paving of an existing road with a compacted or impervious surface and reestablishment of existing associated ditches and shoulders shall be deemed routine maintenance if performed in accordance with this subsection; and
  8. Conducting land-disturbing activities in response to a public emergency where the related work requires immediate authorization to avoid imminent endangerment to human health or the environment. In such situations, the County shall be advised of the disturbance within seven days of commencing the land-disturbing activity and compliance with the administrative requirements of this Chapter is required within 30 days of commencing the land-disturbing activity. (08-14-124; 06-15-124.)

Section 124-1-8. - Right of Entry.

  • The Director, or any duly authorized agent of the Director, may, at reasonable times and under reasonable circumstances, enter any establishment or upon any property, public or private, for the purpose of obtaining information or conducting surveys or investigations necessary in the enforcement of the provisions of the Act and this Chapter.
  • In accordance with a performance bond with surety, cash escrow, letter of credit, any combination thereof, or such other legal arrangement, the Director, or any duly authorized agent of the Director also may enter any establishment or upon any property, public or private, for the purpose of initiating or maintaining appropriate actions that are required by the permit conditions associated with a land-disturbing activity when a permittee, after proper notice, has failed to take acceptable action within the time specified.

  • If the Director, or any duly authorized agent of the Director, has been refused access to a property for the purpose of conducting an investigation under this Article, he may obtain a search warrant upon demonstrating, to the satisfaction of any judge or magistrate or other person having the authority to issue warrants, that probable cause exists to support issuance of a search or administrative warrant to conduct an inspection or investigation necessary to carry out the provisions of this Chapter. (08-14-124.)

Section 124-1-13. - Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act Land-Disturbing Activity.

In order to protect the quality of state waters and to control the discharge of stormwater pollutants from land-disturbing activities, runoff associated with Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act land-disturbing activities shall be controlled unless otherwise exempt under § 124-1-7. Such land-disturbing activities shall not require completion of a registration statement or require coverage under the General Permit for Discharges of Stormwater from Construction Activities unless they are part of a larger common plan of development or sale that ultimately will disturb equal to or greater than one acre of land but shall be subject to the following technical criteria and program and administrative requirements:

A. An erosion and sediment control plan consistent with the requirements of Chapter 104 (Erosion and Sedimentation Control) of the Code and the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Law and regulations must be designed and implemented during land disturbing activities. Prior to land disturbance, this plan must be approved by the Director in accordance with Chapter 104 and the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Law and attendant regulations.

B. A stormwater management plan consistent with the requirements of this Chapter and the Virginia Stormwater Management Act and regulations must be designed and implemented during the land disturbing activity. The stormwater management plan shall be developed and submitted in accordance with § 124-2-7. Prior to land disturbance, this plan must be approved by the Director.

C. Exceptions may be requested in accordance with Article 6.

D. Long-term maintenance of stormwater management facilities shall be provided for and conducted in accordance with § 124-2-10.

E. Water quality design criteria in § 124-4-2 shall be applied to the site.

F. Water quality compliance shall be achieved in accordance with § 124-4-3.

G. Channel protection and flood protection shall be achieved in accordance with § 124-4-4.

H. Offsite compliance options in accordance with § 124-4-5 shall be available to Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act land-disturbing activities.

I. Such land-disturbing activities shall be subject to the design storm and hydrologic methods set out in § 124-4-6, linear development controls in § 124-4-8, and criteria associated with stormwater impoundment structures or facilities in the PFM.

Single-family detached residential structures, disturbing less than one acre and part of a larger common plan of development or sale that ultimately will disturb equal to or greater than one acre of land are authorized to discharge under the General Permit for Discharges of Stormwater from Construction Activities and are not required to submit a registration statement or the state portion of the permit fee. (08-14-124; 06-15-124.)

Section 124-2-5. - Monitoring, Reports, Investigations, and Inspections.

A. The Director (i) shall provide for periodic inspections of the installation of stormwater management measures, (ii) may require monitoring and reports from the person responsible for meeting the Permit conditions to ensure compliance with the Permit and to determine whether the measures required in the Permit provide effective stormwater management, and (iii) conduct such investigations and perform such other actions as are necessary to carry out the provisions of this Chapter.

B. Land-disturbing activity shall be inspected during construction for:

  1. Compliance with the approved erosion and sediment control plan;
  2. Compliance with the approved stormwater management plan;
  3. Development, updating, and implementation of a pollution prevention plan; and
  4. Development and implementation of any additional control measures necessary to address a TMDL.

C. Every permit applicant, permittee, or any person subject to state permit requirements under this Chapter shall furnish, when requested by the County, such application materials, plans, specifications, and other pertinent information as may be necessary to determine the effect of his discharge on the quality of state waters, or such other information as may be necessary to accomplish the purposes of this Chapter. (08-14-124; 06-15-124.)

Section 124-2-6. - Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan Requirements.

  A. A stormwater pollution prevention plan shall include, but not be limited to, an approved erosion and sediment control plan, an approved stormwater management plan, a pollution prevention plan for regulated land-disturbing activities, and a description of any additional control measures necessary to address a TMDL pursuant to subsection E. The stormwater pollution prevention plan shall meet all requirements of 9VAC25-870-54 and 9VAC25-880-70.

B. An erosion and sediment control plan consistent with the requirements of the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Law and regulations, Chapter 104, and the PFM must be designed and implemented during construction activities. Prior to land disturbance, this plan must be approved by the Director in accordance with the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Law and attendant regulations, Chapter 104, and the PFM.

C. A stormwater management plan consistent with the requirements of § 124-2-7 must be designed and implemented during construction activities. Prior to land disturbance, this plan must be approved by the Director.

D. A pollution prevention plan consistent with the requirements § 124-2-8 must be developed before land disturbance commences.

E. In addition to the above requirements, if a specific WLA for a pollutant has been established in an approved TMDL and is assigned to stormwater discharges from a construction activity, additional control measures must be identified and implemented by the operator so that discharges are consistent with the assumptions and requirements of the WLA as specified in 40 CFR 450.21.

F. The stormwater pollution prevention plan must address the following requirements as specified in 40 CFR 450.21, to the extent otherwise required by state law or regulations and any applicable requirements of a State Permit:

1. Control stormwater volume and velocity within the site to minimize soil erosion;

2. Control stormwater discharges, including both peak flow rates and total stormwater volume, to minimize erosion at outlets and to minimize downstream channel and stream bank erosion;

3. Minimize the amount of soil exposed during construction activity;

4. Minimize the disturbance of steep slopes;

5. Minimize sediment discharges from the site. The design, installation and maintenance of erosion and sediment controls must address factors such as the amount, frequency, intensity and duration of precipitation, the nature of resulting stormwater runoff, and soil characteristics, including the range of soil particle sizes expected to be present on the site;

6. Provide and maintain natural buffers around surface waters, direct stormwater to vegetated areas to increase sediment removal and maximize stormwater infiltration, unless infeasible;

7. Minimize soil compaction and, unless infeasible, preserve topsoil;

8. Stabilization of disturbed areas must, at a minimum, be initiated immediately whenever any clearing, grading, excavating or other earth disturbing activities have permanently ceased on any portion of the site, or temporarily ceased on any portion of the site and will not resume for a period exceeding 14 calendar days. Stabilization must be completed within a period of time determined by the County. In drought stricken areas where initiating vegetative stabilization measures immediately is infeasible, alternative stabilization measures must be employed as specified by the County; and

9. Utilize outlet structures that withdraw water from the surface, unless infeasible, when discharging from basins and impoundments.

G. The SWPPP shall be amended whenever there is a change in design, construction, operation, or maintenance that has a significant effect on the discharge of pollutants to state waters and that has not been previously addressed in the SWPPP. The SWPPP must be maintained at a central location onsite. If an onsite location is unavailable, notice of the SWPPP's location must be posted near the main entrance at the construction site. (08-14-124; 06-15-124.)

Section 124-2-7. - Stormwater Management Plans.

A. A stormwater management plan shall be developed and submitted to the County. The stormwater management plan shall be implemented as approved or modified by the Director and shall be developed in accordance with the following:

  1. A stormwater management plan for a land-disturbing activity shall apply the stormwater management technical criteria set forth in Article 4 or Article 5 as applicable to the entire land disturbing activity. Individual lots in new residential, commercial, or industrial developments, including those developed under subsequent owners, shall not be considered separate land-disturbing activities.
  2. A stormwater management plan shall consider all sources of surface runoff and all sources of subsurface and groundwater flows converted to surface runoff.
  3. Stormwater management plans shall meet all requirements of the PFM.

B. A complete stormwater management plan shall include the following elements:

  1. Information on the type of and location of stormwater discharges, information on the features to which stormwater is being discharged including surface waters, and predevelopment and post-development drainage areas;
  2. Contact information including the name, address, telephone number, and email address of the owner and the tax reference number and parcel number of the property or properties affected;
  3. A narrative that includes a description of current site conditions and final site conditions and any proffers or conditions relating to stormwater management;
  4. A general description of the proposed stormwater management facilities and the mechanism through which the facilities will be operated and maintained after construction is complete;
  5. Information on the proposed stormwater management facilities, including the type of facilities, location, including geographic coordinates, acres treated, and the surface waters into which the facility will discharge;
  6. Hydrologic and hydraulic computations, including runoff characteristics;
  7. Documentation and calculations verifying compliance with the water quality and quantity requirements of this Chapter;
  8. A map or maps of the site that depicts the topography of the site and includes:

a. All contributing drainage areas;

b. Existing streams, ponds, culverts, ditches, wetlands, other water bodies, and floodplains;

c. Soil types, forest cover, and other vegetative areas;

d. Current land use including existing structures, roads, and locations of known utilities and easements;

e. Sufficient information on adjoining parcels to assess the impacts of stormwater from the site on these parcels;

f. The limits of clearing and grading, and the proposed drainage patterns on the site;

g. Proposed buildings, roads, parking areas, utilities, and stormwater management facilities; and

h. Proposed land use with tabulation of the percentage of surface area to be adapted to various uses, including but not limited to planned locations of utilities, roads, and easements.

  1. If an operator intends to meet the requirements established in § 124-4-2 or § 124-4-4 through the use of off-site compliance options, where applicable, then a letter of availability from the off-site provider must be included.
  2. Any other information deemed necessary by the Director to evaluate potential impacts of the proposed land-disturbing activity.

C. Stormwater management plans shall be appropriately sealed and signed by a professional registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia pursuant to Article 1 (§ 54.1-400 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of Title 54.1.

D.  A stormwater management plan approved for a residential, commercial, or industrial subdivision shall govern the development of the individual parcels, including those parcels developed under subsequent owners. A note shall be placed on the subdivision plat stating that individual parcels shall be developed in accordance with the approved stormwater management plan for the subdivision. (08-14-124; 06-15-124.)

Section 124-2-8. - Pollution Prevention Plans.

A. A plan for implementing pollution prevention measures during construction activities shall be developed, implemented and updated as necessary. The pollution prevention plan shall detail the design, installation, implementation and maintenance of effective pollution prevention measures as specified in 40 CFR 450.21(d) to minimize the discharge of pollutants. At a minimum, such measures must be designed, installed, implemented and maintained to:

  1. Minimize the discharge of pollutants from equipment and vehicle washing, wheel wash water, and other wash waters. Wash waters must be treated in a sediment basin or alternative control that provides equivalent or better treatment prior to discharge;
  2. Minimize the exposure of building materials, building products, construction wastes, trash, landscape materials, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, detergents, sanitary waste and other materials present on the site to precipitation and to stormwater; and
  3. Minimize the discharge of pollutants from spills and leaks and implement chemical spill and leak prevention and response procedures.

B. The pollution prevention plan shall include effective best management practices to prohibit the following discharges in accordance with 40 CFR 450.21(e):

  1. Wastewater from washout of concrete, unless managed by an appropriate control;
  2. Wastewater from washout and cleanout of stucco, paint, form release oils, curing compounds and other construction materials;
  3. Fuels, oils, or other pollutants used in vehicle and equipment operation and maintenance; and
  4. Soaps or solvents used in vehicle and equipment washing

C. Discharges from dewatering activities, including discharges from dewatering of trenches and excavations, are prohibited unless managed by appropriate controls in accordance with 40 CFR 450.21(c). (08-14-124.)

Section 124-2-9. - Stormwater Management Plan Review.

A. A stormwater management plan shall be approved or disapproved by the Director in accordance with the following:

  1. The completeness of a plan shall be determined in accordance with § 124-2-7.B. The applicant shall be notified of any determination within 15 calendar days of receipt of the plan. Where available to the applicant, electronic communication may be considered communication in writing.
    1.  If within those 15 calendar days the plan is deemed to be incomplete, the applicant shall be notified in writing of the reasons the plan is deemed incomplete.
    2. If a determination of completeness is made and communicated to the applicant within the 15 calendar days, an additional 60 calendar days from the date of the communication will be allowed for the review of the plan.
    3. If a determination of completeness is not made and communicated to the applicant within the 15 calendar days, the plan shall be deemed complete as of the date of submission and a total of 60 calendar days from the date of submission will be allowed for the review of the plan.
    4. Any plan that has been previously disapproved shall be reviewed within 45 calendar days of the date of resubmission.
  2. During the review period, the plan shall be approved or disapproved and the decision communicated in writing to the person responsible for the land-disturbing activity or his designated agent. If the plan is not approved, the reasons for not approving the plan shall be provided in writing. Approval or denial shall be based on the plan's compliance with the requirements of this Chapter and all applicable codes, regulations, and policies, as determined by the Director. Where available to the applicant, electronic communication may be considered communication in writing.
  3. If a plan meeting all requirements of this Chapter and all applicable codes, regulations, and policies, as determined by the Director, is submitted and no action is taken within the time specified above, the plan shall be deemed approved.

B. Each approved plan may be modified as follows:

  1. Modifications to an approved stormwater management plan shall be allowed only after review and written approval by the Director. Requests for modifications containing all required information shall be approved or disapproved in writing within 60 calendar days of receipt of such requests.
  2. Based on an inspection, the Director may require amendments to the approved stormwater management plan to address any deficiencies within a time frame set by the Director.

C. The Director will not provide authorization to begin land disturbance until provided evidence of state permit coverage, where it is required, in accordance with § 124-2-2. (08-14-124.)

Section 124-2-10. - Long-term Maintenance of Permanent Stormwater Management Facilities.

A. Provisions for long-term responsibility for and maintenance of stormwater management facilities and other techniques specified to manage the quality and quantity of runoff are required. For all facilities and techniques intended to be privately maintained, such requirements shall be set forth in a Private Maintenance Agreement recorded in the Fairfax County land records prior to approval to begin land-disturbing activity. Private Maintenance Agreements shall, at a minimum:

  1. Be submitted in a form acceptable to the Director for review and approval and executed prior to the approval of the stormwater management plan;
  2. Be stated to run with the land;
  3. Provide for all necessary access to the property for purposes of maintenance and regulatory inspections;
  4. Provide for inspections and maintenance and the submission of inspection and maintenance reports to the County on an annual basis;
  5. Be enforceable by all appropriate governmental parties;
  6. Ensure that measures could be taken by the County to maintain the stormwater management facilities or perform inspections at the owner's expense should the owner fail to maintain the stormwater management facilities in good working order in accordance with the maintenance specifications in the agreement or perform the periodic inspections required by the agreement;
  7. Provide that in the event the County, pursuant to the agreement, performs work of any nature or expends any funds in performance of said work for labor, use of equipment, supplies, materials, and the like, the owner will reimburse the County for all costs incurred by the County; and
  8. Provide for liens to be placed on the property should the owner fail to reimburse the County for costs incurred by the County.

B. The Director may utilize the inspection reports of the owner of a stormwater management facility as part of an inspection program established in subsection C of this section if the inspection is conducted by a person who is licensed as a professional engineer, architect, landscape architect, or land surveyor pursuant to Article 1 (§ 54.1-400 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of Title 54.1; a person who works under the direction and oversight of the licensed professional engineer, architect, landscape architect, or land surveyor; or a person who holds an appropriate certificate of competence from the SWCB.

C. The Director shall establish an inspection program that ensures that stormwater management facilities are being adequately maintained as designed after completion of land-disturbing activities. The inspection programs shall:

  1. Be approved by the SWCB;
  2. Ensure that each stormwater management facility is inspected by the Director, or his designee, not to include the owner, except as provided in subsection B of this section, at least once every five years; and
  3. Be documented by records. (08-14-124.)

Section 124-8-2. - Criminal Violations and Penalties.

 A. Any person who willfully or negligently violates any provision of this Chapter, excluding Article 9, any condition of a permit or state permit, or any order of a court shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not less than $2,500 nor more than $32,500, either or both. Any person who knowingly violates any provision this Chapter, excluding provisions of Article 9, any condition of a permit or state permit or any order of a court issued as herein provided, or who knowingly makes any false statement in any form required to be submitted under this Chapter or knowingly renders inaccurate any monitoring device or method required to be maintained under this Chapter, shall be guilty of a felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than three years, or in the discretion of the jury or the court trying the case without a jury, confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $50,000 for each violation. Any defendant that is not an individual shall, upon conviction of a violation under this subsection, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $10,000. Each day of violation of each requirement shall constitute a separate offense.

B. Any person who knowingly violates any provision of this Chapter, excluding Article 9, and who knows at that time that he thereby places another person in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm, shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than two years nor more than 15 years and a fine of not more than $250,000, either or both. A defendant that is not an individual shall, upon conviction of a violation under this subsection, be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding the greater of $1 million or an amount that is three times the economic benefit realized by the defendant as a result of the offense. The maximum penalty shall be doubled with respect to both fine and imprisonment for any subsequent conviction of the same person under this subsection. (08-14-124.)

Section 124-8-3. - Civil Penalties.

A.Any person who violates any provision of this Chapter or standards and specifications adopted or approved thereunder, neglects or refuses to comply with any order issued hereunder by the Director or a court, shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $32,500 for each violation within the discretion of the court. Each day of violation of each requirement shall constitute a separate offense.

B.Violations for which a civil penalty may be imposed under this subsection shall include but are not limited to the following:

  • No state permit registration;
  • No SWPPP;
  • Incomplete SWPPP;
  • SWPPP not available for review;
  • No approved erosion and sediment control plan;
  • Failure to install stormwater BMPs or erosion and sediment controls;
  • Stormwater BMPs or erosion and sediment controls improperly installed or maintained;
  • Operational deficiencies;
  • Failure to conduct required inspections;
  • Incomplete, improper, or missed inspections;
  • Discharges not in compliance with the requirements of Section 9VAC25-880-70 of the general permit; and
  • Illicit discharges into the Storm Sewer System and State Waters, and illicit connections to the County MS4 under Article 9 of this Chapter.

C. The Director may issue a summons for collection of the civil penalty and the action may be prosecuted in the appropriate circuit court. Any civil penalties assessed by a court as a result of a summons issued by Fairfax County shall be paid into the treasury of Fairfax County, except where the violator is Fairfax County, or its agent. Such civil penalties paid into the treasury of Fairfax County are to be used for the purpose of minimizing, preventing, managing, or mitigating pollution of the waters of the locality and abating environmental pollution therein in such manner as the court may, by order, direct.

D. With the consent of any person who has violated or failed, neglected, or refused to obey this Chapter, any condition of a permit or state permit, or any order of the VSMP authority, the Director may provide, in an order issued against such person, for the payment of civil charges or violations in specific sums, not to exceed the limit specified in this section. Any civil charges collected shall be paid into the treasury of Fairfax County. (08-14-124.)

Section 124-9-4. - Standards for Inspection of Industrial and Commercial Property Discharging to the County MS4.

The Director shall develop a program for the routine inspection of properties, which because of the nature of the industrial or commercial use thereon, present a high risk of discharging non-stormwater substances to the County MS4 that may, in the opinion of the Director, result in a significant pollutant load. The Director shall make publicly available the methodology and criteria for including properties in the inspection program and the basis for selecting a particular property for inspection under this program. (08-14-124.)

Excerpt: Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit

Fairfax County's Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit requires the county to prevent the discharge of pollutants (often called "non-point source" pollutants) such as engine oil, fertilizer, pet waste and trash from the stormwater management system into waterways to the maximum extent practicable. The permit also prohibits non-stormwater discharges into the storm drainage system, such as from sanitary sewer connections or illegal dumping. It also requires storm event monitoring and assessment of the effectiveness of stormwater controls being used in the county. Annual reports submitted to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality summarize the efforts of government agencies, non-profit agencies and private organizations in managing stormwater runoff and limiting non-point source pollution to the maximum extent practicable

Activities and collective efforts in support of the mission of effective stormwater control include:

  • Defining a strategic plan for comprehensive stormwater management.
  • Developing watershed management plans.
  • Implementing water quality and quantity control practices.
  • Conducting inspection and maintenance programs for stormwater control systems and structures to ensure their effectiveness.
  • Conducting stream monitoring and evaluation programs.
  • Providing technical support to residents and developers.
  • Sharing resources and information for the purposes of educating residents and developing strategies to promote good water quality improvement practices.

Excerpt- Private Facility Maintenance

What does it mean to be privately maintained?

Privately maintained stormwater management facilities are maintained by the facility owner.  The county does not have direct maintenance responsibility.  However, Fairfax County is still responsible under state and federal stormwater permits for ensuring that the facilities remain in place, operate properly and are functional.  To this end the county has established an inspection schedule for all privately maintained facilities, together with reporting and enforcement procedures for communicating inspection results to facility owners and gaining maintenance compliance. 

Introduction to the Private Inspection Program

As part of Fairfax County’s stormwater management program, Maintenance and Stormwater Management Division (MSMD) inspects stormwater management facilities to ensure proper maintenance is performed and that the facility is functioning according to the approved design. The county performs maintenance inspections of stormwater management facilities to meet regulatory requirements and to practice good environmental stewardship.  For privately maintained facilities, the facility owner is responsible for ensuring proper maintenance and functionality of the stormwater facility.

Private Inspections

Privately maintained stormwater facilities are inspected at least once every five years.  The condition assessment is a point-in-time visual observation of a facility and does NOT include full confined space entry for detailed structural analysis, chemical testing of the water quality or precise quantity estimates.  However, MSMD may request the owner to perform one or more additional investigations at their own expense to determine functionality of the facility.

Property owners should expect to receive a letter in the mail in the months preceding the inspection informing them of the upcoming inspection.  These pre-inspection letters are by default sent to the owner of record from the county tax administration database.  Please email MSMD if you would prefer to have written notices mailed to a different address, and include the Site ID and Facility ID listed on the letter.  Use the online county stormwater map to find your facility ID.  If, for any reason, the inspectors are unable to complete the inspection, notification will be mailed to the owner of record requesting cooperation in scheduling an inspection.  Failure to provide access to the facility for inspection purposes may be considered a violation.

If you are curious about the privately maintained stormwater facilities on your property, or when to expect the next inspection of those facilities, please call 703-877-2800, TTY 711, for more detailed information.

Notice of Inspection

Within 30 to 45 days of the facility inspection, a formal Notice of Inspection (NOI) is sent via certified mail to the facility owner describing the inspection findings and any required maintenance that must be performed.  When a stormwater facility has multiple owners, the NOI may be mailed to the property management company rather than to each individual owner.  Where there are multiple stormwater facilities on a single site, the NOI reports for those multiple facilities may be combined into a single mailing.  The NOI typically includes:

  • Condition Assessment Report (CAR) with corresponding photos detailing the required maintenance items observed during the inspection
  • Copy of approved facility plan sheets
  • Copy of recorded Private Maintenance Agreement/Maintenance Agreement for Stormwater Management Facilities (PMA) (described further below)
  • Maps showing the facility and parcel location
  • General Maintenance Guidelines specific for the type of facility
  • Maintenance Contractor List
  • Maintenance Activity Report (MAR) (described further below).  Completion of the MAR is required for each facility requiring maintenance and must include photos and any other supporting documentation to close out the inspection.

Required maintenance items are listed in the CAR, which is the first attachment in the NOI.  Each maintenance item refers to one or more of the attached photos.  Maintenance items usually require that the facility be restored to its approved plan condition, meaning its original design condition as shown in the approved facility plan sheets.  Sediment accumulation and structural deterioration, among other common maintenance problems, naturally occur over time and eventually impact facility functionality.  The maintenance items listed are needed to either restore proper functionality or to ensure continued functionality of the stormwater facility.

The inspection record for a stormwater facility in need of maintenance remains “open” until all required maintenance specified in the CAR is fully complete.  Forty-five days are provided from the time of the initial NOI delivery to the next follow-up phase.  If an adequate response is not received within that time, then follow-up letters are mailed as reminders that a response is still required.  A total time of 135 days is provided for voluntary compliance before the facility moves into the enforcement phase.

 

Supplemental Documents

Fairfax County Stormwater Page

Fairfax County Stormwater Ordinaance

Fairfax County Private Facility Maintenance Requirements

Fairfax County MS4 Information

State of Virginia Documents:

Stormwater Management Website

Virginia Stormwater Management Handbook