Protect Virginia’s Water Quality

Wild Virginia continues to lead an effort to reform the way that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and State Water Control Board apply our water quality standards. We also ensure those standards are improved to fully protect our waters. Under the Clean Water Act and state law, these standards are a vital foundation for all regulatory efforts to benefit our streams – to keep Virginia’s high-quality waters and clean up polluted streams.

With 55 allied groups, Wild Virginia presented a slate of initiatives to the Water Control Board in September, 2020. We are vigorously pursuing the goals laid out in that submittal. The necessary improvements include:

  • Apply our narrative water quality criteria, which describe the high quality conditions that will support all beneficial uses and sustainable natural systems.
  • Adopt adequate numeric water quality criteria nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen) and turbidity or solids/sediment.
  • Enforce all parts of the water standards in every instance when the state takes action to regulate any polluting activity.

To read more about these issues and the background for the Campaign, see our blog: Campaign to Protect Virginia’s Water Future . Also check out this guest column we had published in a statewide news outlet in May 2020.

We submitted strong recommendations in regulatory comments to achieve parts of our platform during a current review of all of Virginia’s water quality standards. We also represent conservation interests through a Regulatory Advisory Panel formed to provide recommendations to the Board.

Wild Virginia continues to convene a group of representatives from various citizen groups. We are forming strategies to carry out the Campaign throughout the years to come. You can help make this effort a success.

Get Involved:

Sign the Petition to protect Virginia’s water.

– Join Wild Virginia or renew your membership here.

2022 Policy Recommendations:

Virginia’s regulatory citizen boards give the people of the Commonwealth a meaningful voice in protecting our natural resources. These volunteers devote time and effort to uphold Virginia’s environmental statutes and engage the public in decision-making.

This system has many benefits but can be improved through greater transparency, independence, public engagement, and representation from environmental justice and fenceline communities. Yet, the boards’ inherent value as independent authorities over regulatory programs must be retained.

Virginia policymakers must defend the boards’ independence and scope of authority, while they help improve public participation and give the boards better access to information. Download the full Virginia Conservation Network policy briefing: Our Common Agenda


Retain the current board framework, au-
thorities, and independence in state law
and, where necessary, clarify the Board’s
independent authority in regulatory and
permitting processes.
Clarify board authorities under statute to
seek alternatives to the Department of
Environmental Quality recommendations,
obtain independent legal advice, and get
timely information ahead of Board meet-
Amend the law to authorize board pro-
cedures, such as special committees, to
enhance access and communication with
affected communities with Environmental
Justice concerns.
Remove requirements that prevent or limit
the scope of public comments at meetings
and specify that the record for a regulatory
action or case decision under the Adminis-
trative Process Act remains open until final
decisions are issued.