Land Disturbing Activity / Stormwater Permit Overview

Requirements for LDA/Stormwater Permit were updated on 9/13/21. Please see more information below under LDA 2.0.

Requirements for Land Disturbing Activity/Stormwater Permit were updated on 9/13/21.

What is the Land Disturbing Activity/Stormwater Permit?

The Land Disturbing Activity/Stormwater permit (LDA/SWM permit) is intended to reduce the pollution from sediment runoff and manage stormwater runoff from new development.

A LDA/SWM permit is required for any activities that disturb equal to or greater than 2,500 square feet of land, as required by the Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance in Chapter 57 of the Arlington County CodeStormwater Management Ordinance, Chapter 60 and the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Program.

If the area of land disturbance associated with multiple, separate projects within a two (2) year period meets the 2,500 square foot threshold, the LDA/SWM permit is also required.

See Land Disturbing Activity/Stormwater Permit – Frequently Asked Questions and the Department of Environmental Services consolidated development-related fee schedule.

Fee schedules provide the range of fees charged for each type of application or activity related to land development in Arlington. Fees cover permitting, plan review, enforcement, inspection, service delivery, performance agreements and conditions. There are separate fee schedules for ISD, Zoning and the Department of Environmental Services (DES). Some permits involve fees from more than one schedule.


Sediment Runoff

Do I need an LDA/SWM Permit and How Do I Obtain One?

You will need a LDA/SWM permit for your project if the total disturbed area is 2,500 square feet or more. (How do I calculate land disturbance area?)

  • If your total disturbed area is less than 2,000 square feet, you do not need a LDA/SWM permit.
  • If your total disturbed area is between 2,000 and 2,499 square feet, you will be required to obtain a survey of the disturbed area with survey markings on your site to ensure it’s not larger than 2,500 square feet.  Prior to receiving your permit, silt fence or other E&S perimeter control approved by the County must be installed around the perimeter of your disturbed area to demarcate the area and prevent soil erosion.  
  • If your total disturbed area is 2,500 square feet or greater, you will need an LDA/SWM Permit. See below for how to apply for an LDA/SWM permit.

LDA 2.0 – Three LDA/SWM Permit Options for Single Family Home Projects

Arlington is revising development requirements for single family home projects to require additional stormwater detention.  Single family home project projects will now be required to meet state stormwater quantity standards in addition to the stormwater quality previously required. This change is important as infill development continues and rainfall intensity increases, causing more lot-to-lot runoff and adding cumulative runoff impacts to downhill neighbors, the storm drain system, and local streams.  These new requirements became effective on September 13, 2021.

Also effective September 13, 2021, all single family home projects must:

  • Implement soil de-compaction and amendment procedures to facilitate long term absorption and tree and other plant growth;
  • Ensure runoff is not concentrated or released closely to downhill properties;
  • Account for existing forested areas within a two (2) year window prior to LDA application (not required for ‘Streamlined Method’ projects);
  • Address potential off-lot impacts from retaining walls and fill;
  • Provide as-built documentation for site grading and trees (not required for ‘Streamlined Method’ projects); and,
  • Meet the conditions for adding impervious surfaces after Certificate of Occupancy or project completion.

Refer to Refer to Section 2.91 of the Stormwater Manual.

If you have Resource Protection Area (RPA) on your lot, please refer to section 4 of the Stormwater Manual and view the RPA page for resources and templates.

1. Standard LDA Documents - LDA/SWM Permit

2. Alternative Compliance Option for LDA/SWM 2.0

Applicants may also choose an Alternative Compliance Option to these new standard requirements that will be more feasible and effective in most cases and less onerous for the homeowner responsible for maintaining stormwater management facilities. This option will also offer standardized plan templates to shorten the time for plan review and approval and avoid complicated engineering and detention system design.

Refer to Section 2.92 of the Stormwater Manual.

3. Streamlined LDA/SWM 2.0 Permit for Moderate-Scale Single-Family Projects

Streamlined LDA/SWM 2.0 Permit for Moderate Scale Single-Family Projects

The County continues to offer the Streamlined LDA/SWM Permit for Moderate-Scale Single-Family Projects.  The Streamlined Method has been updated following evaluation after the one-year pilot period, also effective September 13, 2021.

Refer to Section 2.93 of the Stormwater Manual.



General VPDES Permit for Discharges (for projects with land disturbance of 1 acre or more)

Virginia Stormwater Management Regulations