News & Updates

DEQ Guidance Memo (July 2022): Streamlined ESC and SWM Plan Review

Jul 20, 2022 | HBAV News

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality recently released a draft guidance memo which provides for 1) a streamlined stormwater management (SWM) plan review process in instances where DEQ is the Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) authority and 2) a streamlined erosion and sediment control (ESC) plan review process where DEQ is the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Program (VESCP) authority.

These are draft guidance documents which will be published in the Virginia Register on August 1st for a 30-day public comment period.ย  If you have any comments or feedback that you would like us to submit, please contact HBAVโ€™s Vice President of Government Affairs at

The purpose of this guidance memo is to improve (i) the quality of stormwater plans submitted to DEQ and (ii) the review/permitting process by clarifying requirements and providing a completeness checklist to be used on a standard cover sheet. ย Furthermore, it provides requirements for solar projects and incentives for the redevelopment of brownfields and reclaimed coal fields.

The following conditions must be met to be eligible for the streamlined SWM/ESC review process:

  • The SWM and/or ESC plan is prepared by a professional engineer licensed to engage in practice in the Commonwealth under Chapter 4 of Title 54.1 of the Code of Virginia,
  • The SWM and/or ESC Plan is pre-reviewed and signed by a person who holds an active certificate as a Dual Combined Administrator for ESC and SWM, and
  • A completed Plan Submission Checklist is submitted with the SWM and/or ESC Plan on the cover sheet.

Pursuant to this guidance memo, when stormwater management plans are submitted, DEQ will review the Plan Submission Checklist for completeness within 15 days of receipt, and if DEQ determines that the stormwater management plan meets the Plan Submission Checklist in full, then the stormwater management plans[1] will be deemed approved 60 days after the determination of completeness is communicated to the applicant. If DEQ does not notify the applicant of a completeness decision within 15 days of receipt of the plan set containing the Plan Submission Checklist then the plans will be deemed approved 60 days after receipt of the plans.

DEQ will also apply this approach to ESC Plans when DEQ is the VESCP authority. If DEQ elects to audit the SWM and/or ESC Plan during the 60-day period and observes deficiencies, then those deficiencies must be addressed by the Applicant.

The guidance documents and additional information can be found below:


[1] ESC Plans are approved by the locality unless DEQ is the VESCP authority. However, because ESC plans often provide SWM control during construction DEQ will require that the professional engineer and the Dual Combined Administrator for ESC and SWM certify both plans for this streamlined approval.