Richmond VA > Public Utilities > What is Stormwater Management?

Last Updated: 2019-07-15

MS4 Drain Marking

Virginia Stormwater Management Program

In March 2013, the Virginia Soil & Water Conservation Board approved a new Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) general permit for Municipal Separate Storm Sewers (MS4) that became effective July 1, 2013. This permit is a federal mandate by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency whose purpose is to improve the water quality of stormwater runoff.

The City of Richmond is regulated under the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to discharge stormwater under the Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VDPES) general permit. This permit allows the City of Richmond to discharge stormwater per the State and Federal Laws created from the Clean Water Act. The Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) is a required document prepared by the City each permit cycle to outline the planning of activities the city is doing to reduce stormwater runoff pollution to the maximum extent practicable in a manner that protects the water quality in nearby streams, rivers, wetlands and bay. The City of Richmond is considered a Phase II MS4.

How will we comply with the VPDES permit?

The MS4 Program must include an MS4 Program Plan that includes six minimum control measures and Special Conditions for approved Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) for the Chesapeake Bay TMDL and non-Chesapeake Bay TMDLs. The six minimum control measures are:

  1. Public Education and Outreach
  2. Public Involvement/Participation
  3. Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
  4. Construction Site Stormwater Runoff Control
  5. Post-construction Stormwater Management
  6. Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping for Municipal Operations

The city of Richmond has five years to develop and implement a program to comply with these six measures. The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) manages the separate storm sewer and the VPDES permit. DPU created a stakeholders group comprised of representatives from city departments who interact with stormwater. The stakeholders group developed a stormwater management plan to comply with the VPDES permit.

The city of Richmond has a Combined Sewer System (CSS) in the older, central part of the city. A CSS carries stormwater and wastewater to the wastewater treatment plant prior to discharging it into the river. The remaining portions of the city are served by a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4). The MS4 carries stormwater runoff away from streets and neighborhoods directly to streams and the James River. This runoff is not treated before it empties into the water bodies. Any trash or pollutants on the streets or lawns travel with the stormwater runoff into our streams and rivers.

Important Links


RVA 311 Logo

Need to report an illicit discharge, improper disposal, spill, land disturbance, or other complaint? Call 311 or visit to request a service.

Under the "Investigate, Locate, Assess" category, you can:

Comments on the City of Richmond's MS4 Program Plan

Have input regarding the Program Plan for the City of Richmond's MS4 Permit or suggestions for programs, projects, and events that can help to improve pollution prevention efforts? Please fill out this form with your feedback.

RVA Impact Map displays projects (i.e. gas, water, paving, etc.), events (i.e. parades, races, block parties, etc.) and right of way impacts (i.e. detours, partial and full lane closures, barricades, parking restrictions, etc.) as an interactive map for informational and navigational purposes. Data displayed is refreshed as changes are made.

Contact Information:

Public Utilities
City of Richmond
900 E. Broad St.,
Room 115
Richmond, VA
23219 USA
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Phone: (804)646-4646
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