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Environmental Compliance

Employee working with a spray on chemical at the steam plant

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Compliance with environmental regulations is central to university operations. Environmental Health & Safety maintains oversight responsibility for all university compliance activities. The Environmental Compliance Program is responsible for compliance oversight with air, water, and groundwater pollution regulations. Environmental Health & Safety works closely with other university departments on recycling, erosion and sediment control, sustainability, and energy issues. This program applies to all individuals in the university community.

Virginia Tech heats the majority of central campus with steam produced at the central steam plant (power plant). The central steam plant has five boilers (two coal-fired and three natural gas/fuel oil-fired). The emissions from the two coal-fired boilers are controlled by scrubbers and baghouses. The emissions from the natural gas/fuel oil-fired boilers do not require emission controls.

Virginia Tech is required by the EPA to have a Title V air permit that regulates the emissions of pollutants from the central steam plant and other sources of air pollution on campus. Environmental Health & Safety is responsible for ensuring that conditions of the Title V permit are followed and that the required reporting is completed. Please contact the university's environmental engineer for more information on air pollution control.

Stormwater pollution control at Virginia Tech consists of programs in four areas: Erosion and sediment control (primarily from construction sites); stormwater flow (primarily from paved and developed areas); stormwater runoff from industrial sites (the power plant and airport); and nutrients being carried into streams and rivers by stormwater.

The erosion and sediment control and stormwater management flow programs are managed by the Site and Infrastructure Department. Please contact the Site and Infrastructure Department at for more information on these program areas.

Both the central stream plant and the quarry have stormwater pollution prevention plans for their respective areas. These plans require best management practices to reduce stormwater runoff and periodic stormwater sampling to determine compliance. Please contact the university's environmental engineer for additional information on stormwater pollution control.

Virginia Tech operated a sanitary landfill (DEQ permit 109) from the 1970s through the 1990s when it was closed. A series of groundwater wells that surround the site monitor the groundwater. Please contact the university's environmental engineer for more information on groundwater pollution control.

Landfills also produce methane gas as the waste within them decays. The Virginia Tech closed sanitary landfill also has a series of landfill gas monitoring wells surrounding the site. These are monitored on a quarterly basis to determine if soil gas levels are within regulatory limits. Please contact the university's environmental engineer for more information on landfill gas pollution control.

Virginia Tech has petroleum storage tanks (aboveground and underground) in use across campus, at the college farms, and at various research facilities. Environmental Health & Safety is responsible for management oversight of petroleum storage tanks to ensure that they are monitored and inspected as required by the regulations. Environmental Health & Safety provides assistance with spill prevention planning and spill control and cleanup. Please contact the university's environmental engineer for more information on petroleum storage tanks.

The university has a series of nutrient management plans that govern how nutrients are land applied to soil. These nutrient management plans cover the application of manure and fertilizer to agricultural areas as well as the application of fertilizer to non-agricultural areas. Please contact the university's environmental engineer for more information on nutrient management plans.

All chemical waste must be disposed of through Environmental Health & Safety according to the following procedures.

To request chemical waste pick up, submit a request through the Online Pickup Request System.

Container and storage requirements:

  1. Chemicals must be placed in sealed containers that show no signs of leakage. Bottles with broken caps or stoppers will not be collected. Waste containers will not be returned to the generators unless arrangements have been made with this department prior to the pick-up.
  2. Containers should be full, but not overflowing (3-4 inches below cap).
  3. Waste must be stored according to chemical compatibility in proper storage cabinets.

Contain all landscaping waste within contractor bags, or create a temporary stockpile (covered if dormant for a long period). Place the debris away from watercourses and storm drains. Debris can be hauled to a landfill, or disposed of in a covered dumpster.

Move/store equipment indoors and under a covered area. Use drip pans, funnels, and absorbent material, and maintain spill cleanup supplies near any designated maintenance areas. Store any used fluids in a recycling drum or water-tight container to be disposed of by Environmental Health & Safety.

  • Never apply chemicals before a predicted rainfall event, during periods of high wind speeds, or within close proximity to surface water.
  • Ensure all containers are water-tight after each individual use.
  • Provide cleanup supplies near areas of use to facilitate immediate cleanup, if necessary.
  • Ensure all containers are labeled properly.
  • Always be sure to use, store, and dispose of pesticides/herbicides/fertilizers according to the manufacturer's specifications.

If possible, store all bulk material under a covered area, or with a secure impervious covering. Avoid storing materials near waterways or on a slope to prevent runoff from rainfall events. Ensure that all containers are properly labeled.


Contact Information

Rob Lowe, Environmental Programs Manager 

Phone: 540-231-2510