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Resource Protection Areas, or RPAs, were established as part of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act of 1989. The RPA is a 100-foot buffer around sensitive features such as both tidal and non-tidal wetlands and perennial waterbodies. These buffers are meant to remain vegetated and undisturbed in an effort to protect water quality. There are exceptions that can be granted to allow encroachment into the buffers; however, special permits and hearings may be required. Please direct questions pertaining to the RPA to the Environmental Department at (804) 966-8580.
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Land disturbance is defined as any manmade change to the land surface that potentially changes its runoff characteristics including clearing, grading, or excavation. A permit is required for ALL new home construction and when the land disturbance exceeds 2,500 square feet. When estimating the amount of land disturbance, areas of construction, areas used for access and material storage, drainfield areas, driveways, and areas that will be graded should be included in the calculation. The County may require a Screening Form if the disturbed area is less than 2,500 square feet, which allows the Environmental Department to monitor the site to ensure the 2,500 square foot threshold is not exceeded. If it is, a land disturbance permit will be required. THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO RESOURCE PROTECTION AREAS (RPA). PLEASE CONTACT THE ENVIRONMENTAL DEPARTMENT FOR PROJECTS WITHIN THE RPA.
In 2001, Virginia implemented the Responsible Land Disturber (RLD) certificate program in an effort to minimize erosion and sedimentation from projects within the Commonwealth. The certificate program is overseen by the State Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The RLD is responsible for inspecting the erosion and sediment control measures, such as silt fence and construction entrances, at least once every five (5) business days AND within 24 hours of a measurable rain event. A measurable rain event is defined as 0.25” or more of rain.
The VSMP permit, or Virginia Stormwater Management Program permit, is a state requirement for primarily commercial projects exceeding one (1) acre in disturbed area. New Kent County is its own VSMP Authority, so applications for VSMP permits come through our office prior to being input into the State’s permitting system. The permit is issued by the State Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
Common acronyms that are found when dealing with environmental items:
ACOE, ACE, Corps – Army Corps of Engineers (Federal Agency)
AFD – Agricultural and Forestal Districts (Planning Department)
CBPA – Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act or Area
CSWCD - Colonial Soil and Water Conservation District (State Agency)
DCR – Department of Conservation and Recreation (State Agency)
DEQ – Department of Environmental Quality (State Agency)
DOF – Department of Forestry (State Agency)
EPA – Environmental Protection Agency (Federal Agency)
FEMA – Federal Emergency Management Agency (Federal Agency)
HOA - Homeowners' Association
JPA – Joint Permit Application
RLD – Responsible Land Disturber
RMA – Resource Management Area
RPA – Resource Protection Area
SWPPP - Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan
VDOT – Virginia Department of Transportation (State Agency)
VIMS – Virginia Institute of Marine Science (State Entity)
VMRC – Virginia Marine Resources Commission (State Agency)
VPDES - Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
VSMP – Virginia Stormwater Management Program
The septic pump-out is a state mandate relating to Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas, ie. RMA and RPA, that the County is required to implement. Chapter 94, Section 39 of the New Kent County Code requires that septic systems that do not have a Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) permit must be pumped out or inspected once every five (5) years. Letters are typically sent to affected property owners in the spring of each year. Upon having your system serviced, please send a copy of the receipt/invoice to the Environmental Department so that we may update our database, or feel free to stop by so we may make a copy.
Septic systems and permits for new systems are handled by the Virginia Department of Health which may be reached at (804) 966 9640. The Environmental Department does not keep record of septic system design specifications or locations, only the date of when the system was last serviced.
The New Kent County GIS portal is a good place to start; however, it is only a planning tool. The most accurate way to determine this is to have a Field Delineation performed by a Wetlands Consultant. You can also contact the Environmental Department at 804-966-8580 for more information.