Virginia DEQ Issues Memo Regarding Solar Panels & Storm Water Runoff – Storm Water Solutions
The new policy will go into effect immediately
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will be implementing a stronger post-development storm water management policy for solar projects.
According to the memo, this policy is subject to Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) requirements.
Before this decision, according to the memo, Virginia’s DEQ has “not required solar projects to account for the imperviousness of the solar panels when applying the Commonwealth’s post-development storm water management technical criteria.”
The memo adds that: “The U.S. EPA Chesapeake Bay Program considers the solar panels to be impervious areas for the purposes of performing water quality modeling/calculations for the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load.”
The new policy will go into effect immediately, which includes all storm water management plans not approved prior to the date of the memorandum, according to the memo.
The policy will maintain downstream waterways and properties as well as ensure consistency with EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program. A second memo was published to clarify further, which notes that the policy impacts existing regulations for solar projects regarding impervious surfaces and includes the solar panels as well as the base posts. The policy prioritizes water quality and quantity.
DEQ’s initial practice considered only the solar panel support posts and beams as impervious areas when performing rainfall-runoff calculations. According to the memo, this approach may underestimate the post development runoff volume or runoff rate from solar panel arrays.
DEQ staff will soon provide agency guidance documents to provide additional clarity on the implementation of this memorandum. Until the guidance document is finalized, those interested in knowing more may contact Drew Hammond ([email protected] or 804-698-4101) or Erin Belt ([email protected] or 757-374-4621) with questions.
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May 12, 2022 at 09:47PM