Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Environmental Quality
State Water Control Board
Water Quality Standards [9 VAC 25 ‑ 260]
Triennial Review Rulemaking to Adopt New, Update or Cancel Existing Water Quality Standards (2020)- Partial amendments eff. 4/18/2023 - See 4/24/2023 Register(excludes Aluminum amendment), Aluminum amendment eff. 6/26/2024, See 7/15/2024 Register
Action 5637
General Information
Action Summary The subject matter of the rulemaking will include updated numerical and narrative criteria, use designations and other policies contained in the Water Quality Standards Regulation (9 VAC 25-260). The intent of this rulemaking is to protect designated and beneficial uses of state waters by adopting regulations that are technically correct, necessary and reasonable. These standards will be used in setting Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit limits and for evaluating the waters of the Commonwealth for inclusion in the Clean Water Act 305(b) report and on the 303(d) list. Waters not meeting standards will require development of a Total Maximum Daily Load, effluent limitations, or further analysis of use removal under the Clean Water Act at 303(e) and Code of Virginia § 62.1-44.19:7. This rulemaking is needed because the last triennial review was completed in July 2017 and new scientific information is available to update the water quality standards. Changes to the regulation are also needed to improve permitting, monitoring and assessment programs. In addition, the State Water Control Board (Board) must fulfill the legal mandates for a three-year review under the Code of Virginia, per §62.1-44.15(3a), and federal regulations at 40 CFR 131. NOTE Concerning effective date of amendments- Effective Date: 4/18/2023 (Excludes freshwater aluminum criteria)-On August 25, 2022, the State Water Control Board adopted revisions to the Water Quality Standards in 9VAC25-260-50, 9VAC25-260-140, 9VAC25-260-185, 9VAC25-260-187, 9VAC25-260-310, 9VAC25-260-390, 9VAC25-260-400, 9VAC25-260-410, 9VAC25-260-420, 9VAC25-260-440, 9VAC25-260-470, and 9VAC25-260 -500. These revisions relate to water quality criteria, use designations, antidegradation and other policies related to water quality. The amendments were published in final form on December 19, 2022, Volume 39, Issue 9 of the Virginia Register to be effective upon filing notice of U.S. EPA approval with the Registrar of Regulations. The State Water Control Board has received a letter from Catherine A. Libertz, EPA Region III Water Division Director, dated April 14, 2023, approving all of the amendments except for an amendment to 9VAC25-260-140.B for freshwater aluminum criteria for the protection of aquatic life. By letter dated June 24, 2024, EPA has notified the State Water Control Board that it has completed its obligations under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), 16 U.S.C. §1536, with respect to the freshwater aluminum criteria. EPA has approved the amendment in 9VAC25-260-140.B for freshwater aluminum. Notification of EPA's approval has been provided to the Registrar of Regulations and the effective date for the amendments to 9VAC25-260-140.B for freshwater aluminum is June 26, 2024. See July 15, 2024, Volume 40, Issue 24.
Chapters Affected Only affects this chapter.
Executive Branch Review This action will go through the normal Executive Branch Review process.
RIS Project Yes  [006555]
New Periodic Review This action will be used to conduct a new periodic review.
Stages associated with this regulatory action.
Stage ID Stage Type Status
9117 NOIRA Stage complete. Comment period ended 03/31/2021.
9438 Proposed Stage complete. Comment period ended 03/18/2022.
9786 Final Submitted to the Registrar and awaiting publication (07/15/2024).
Contact Information
Name / Title: David Whitehurst 
Address: 1111 East Main Street, Suite 1400
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
Email Address:
Phone: (804)774-9180    FAX: ()-    TDD: ()-

This person is the primary contact for this chapter.