MS4 Permit


The County is required to have a Virginia Pollution Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) permit to discharge stormwater into local waterways. The specific permit is referred to as the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit and is issued by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The state program was established in response to federal requirements under the Clean Water Act and administered by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Control Measures

The permit requires the County to develop a stormwater management program that addresses 6 specified minimum control measures:

  • Public education and outreach
  • Public involvement and participation
  • Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE)
  • Construction site stormwater runoff control
  • Post-construction stormwater management in new development and development on prior developed lands
  • Pollution prevention and good housekeeping for MS4 service area facilities

In addition to the 6 minimum control measures, the County must also develop and implement action plans to improve waterways that do not meet state water quality standards. These action plans are referred to as Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) Action Plans since they implement the pollution reductions identified in the TMDLs. A Chesapeake Bay TMDL action plan has been developed and appropriate nutrient reduction measures are being taken.

Each minimum control measure has multiple requirements that James City County must accomplish as a part of its stormwater management program. To meet these requirements, the County has proposed structural and non-structural best management practices to help reduce the amount of stormwater pollution entering local creeks and streams. The identified best management practices and action items for achieving the requirements of each of the 6 minimum control measures are described in the County’s permit document and contained in the FY2023 Program Plan (PDF).

Permit Cycles

The County is in its fourth 5-year permit cycle, which spans November 1, 2023 through October 31, 2028. When implemented over the next several years, the best management practices described in the permit program plan are expected to result in reductions of stormwater pollutant discharges into James City County’s waterways.