Land Development Services

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. and Friday, 9:15 a.m. - 4 p.m. Please note that visitors may not be added to in-person queues past 3:45 p.m.
703-222-0801 TTY 711
12055 Government Center Pkwy
Fairfax, VA 22035
Bill Hicks

Water Quality Impact Assessment (WQIA)

A water quality impact assessment (WQIA) is an analysis of the impacts on water quality when a project is proposed within a Resource Protection Area (RPA). The purpose of the WQIA is to ensure protection of RPAs consistent with the goals, objectives and requirements of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Ordinance of Fairfax County. Generally, WQIAs are required for any land disturbance, development or redevelopment within an RPA unless exempt under Article 5 . WQIAs may also be required for development or redevelopment immediately adjacent to the RPA, if the director determines that such an assessment is necessary because of the unique characteristics of the site or because the intensity of the proposed development may cause significant impacts to the RPA. The code required WQIA components are listed in § 118-4-3. WQIAs are divided into “minor” and “major” categories. See Technical Bulletin 20-02: New Application and Submittal Requirements for details.

This information is the most common for how to obtain the necessary approval for your project and is not representative of all the conditions you may encounter.



The WQIA application form and associated PLUS record, may be applied for by property owners or their duly authorized agents.

If a site-specific RPA delineation is required, the delineation study must be sealed by a professional engineer, land surveyor, landscape architect, soil scientist, or wetland delineator certified or licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia per PFM 6-1704.6.

If the house location plat associated with the WQIA submission shows surveying and engineering work, such as the survey of existing conditions and location of floodplain on existing topography, the plat must be sealed by a professional engineer, land surveyor, or landscape architect certified or licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Any subsequent site-related plans associated with the WQIA must be sealed by a professional engineer, land surveyor, or landscape architect certified or licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia.



Before submitting, ensure you are aware of all applicable regulations and conditions that could affect your project to avoid surprises during the review process. Factors that may apply for this permit include:

  • Zoning Information
  • Design Codes and Standards
  • Do I Need to Hire a Design Professional?
  • Floodplains
  • Resource Protection Areas (RPA)
  • Grading/Site Plans
  • Parking Tabulation
  • Types of Soils and Problem Soils
  • Researching Site Conditions

To get a detailed description about each regulation and condition, visit our Plan Ahead page.



PLUS Application

Apply for your water quality impact assessment online in PLUS under the Site tab. If you are a first-time user, you must first register for an account.

application tab


Submission Guidelines

Visit our Site-Related Submission Guidelines page for information on how to submit your plan, including strongly encouraged naming conventions.


Tutorial on Uploading Plans and Documents in PLUS

Helpful Instruction Guide:




Depending on the scope of your project, one or more of the following may be required:

First Submissions:


Subsequent Submissions:

  • Digital signature - verifiable digital signature of the licensed design professional
  • Applicant responses - enter responses to all open issues in the PLUS Digital Plan Room
  • Review fee

Helpful Videos:

red arrow in gray box Reviewing Issues, Conditions, & Notes in PLUS - YouTube

red arrow in gray box Upload Corrected Plans in PLUS - YouTube

Helpful Instruction Guides:


What's Next?

To get a step-by-step guide on PLUS statuses and what they mean, see our What is My PLUS Status? Site Plans Infographic.


County Review

Staff from the Site Application Center and Site Development and Inspections Division will review your package for completeness and compliance with applicable codes and county ordinances. You will be notified of any deficiencies. Plan corrections, resubmission fees and additional supporting documents may be required.

For a detailed summary of application progress, to include the name(s) of assigned review staff, click on “Reports” in the top-right corner of the PLUS screen, when you are in a specific record, and select “Workflow Routing Slip Report.”

workflow routing slip

Plan Issuance

Once all reviews are approved, fees have been paid and all associated pre-approval conditions have been satisfied, your water quality impact assessment will be available to download from PLUS.

Helpful Video:

red arrow in gray box Access Approved Plans in PLUS - YouTube Video


Additional Resources


Need More Assistance?

For questions or additional information, please visit the Site Application Center website or via telephone at 703-222-0801, TTY 711.


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