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Official DEQ news releases.

List administrator(s): Bill Hayden, Jennifer Underwood, Irina Calos, John Tragesser

Virginia declares drought watch for Middle James, Roanoke and Shenandoah regions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 11, 2017

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447
william.hayden@deq.virginia.gov

RICHMOND, VA. -- In response to existing conditions and to increase public awareness of the potential for a significant drought event, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has issued a drought watch advisory for the Middle James, Roanoke River and Shenandoah drought evaluation regions.

The affected localities and public water suppliers in the Middle James drought evaluation region include Albemarle, Amelia, Amherst, Appomattox, Buckingham, Chesterfield, Cumberland, Fluvanna, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, Nelson, Powhatan and Prince Edward counties, and the cities of Charlottesville, Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Lynchburg, Petersburg and Richmond.

The affected localities and public water suppliers in the Roanoke River drought evaluation region include Bedford, Campbell, Charlotte, Franklin, Halifax, Henry, Mecklenburg, Patrick, Pittsylvania and Roanoke counties, and the cities of Danville, Martinsville, Roanoke and Salem.

The affected localities and public water suppliers in the Shenandoah drought evaluation region include Augusta, Clarke, Frederick, Page, Rockingham, Shenandoah and Warren counties, and the cities of Harrisonburg, Staunton, Waynesboro and Winchester.

The drought watch advisory previously issued for the Northern Piedmont drought evaluation region remains in effect.

A drought watch advisory is intended to increase awareness of conditions that are likely to precede a significant drought event and to facilitate preparation for a drought. This advisory is being issued because drought watch indicators in the state’s Drought Assessment and Response Plan have been met.

According to the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, an interagency group representing state and federal agencies, the primary factors contributing to the declaration of the drought advisory are:

-- Precipitation totals are less than 75 percent of normal over the past 90 days and less than 25 percent of normal over the last 30 days across much of the areas covered by the Middle James, Roanoke River and Shenandoah regions.

-- Stream flows are lower than 75 percent to 95 percent of recorded flows, indicating a moderate to severe hydrologic drought -- a period of below-average water content in streams, aquifers, lakes and soils.

-- Groundwater levels are lower than 75 percent to 95 percent of previously recorded September and October levels.

DEQ is sending notifications to all local governments, public water works and private sector water users in the affected areas, and is requesting that they prepare for the onset of a drought event by developing or reviewing existing water conservation and drought response plans. Through the drought watch advisory, Virginia is encouraging localities, public and private water suppliers, and self-supplied water users in the affected localities to voluntarily take these steps to help protect current water supplies:

-- Minimize nonessential water use.

-- Review existing or develop new local water conservation and drought contingency plans and take conservation actions consistent with those plans.

-- Include water conservation information on local websites and distribute water conservation information to the public as broadly as possible.

-- Continue monitoring the condition of public waterworks and self-supplied water systems in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health.

-- Impose water use restrictions when consistent with local water supply conditions.

-- Aggressively pursue leak detection and repair programs.

The next stage after a drought watch would be a "drought warning," which would be issued if conditions warrant. Drought warning responses are required when the onset of a significant drought event is imminent. Water conservation and contingency plans that are already in place or have been prepared during a drought watch stage would begin to be implemented. Water conservation activities at this drought watch stage generally would be voluntary. This does not preclude localities from issuing mandatory restrictions if appropriate.

Statewide information on the current drought status is available on the DEQ website at www.deq.virginia.gov.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: October 11, 2017 at 12:23 pm

State Water Control Board meeting dates announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 3, 2017

Contact: Ann Regn
(804) 698-4442
ann.regn@deq.virginia.gov

RICHMOND, VA. -- The State Water Control Board plans to hold two meetings in December to consider additional Section 401 water quality certification conditions for the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines.

Each meeting is scheduled to last about two days. On the first day of each meeting, those who made oral or written comments during the public comment period will have an opportunity to sign up to speak to the board under the board's policy for public participation. The official agenda containing more details will be available in early November.

The schedule for the meetings is:

-- Mountain Valley Pipeline. 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, December 6, 2017, and Thursday, December 7, 2017. Location: Trinity Family Life Center, 3601 Dill Road, Richmond, VA 23222.

-- Atlantic Coast Pipeline. 9:30 a.m., Monday, December 11, 2017, and Tuesday, December 12, 2017. Location: Trinity Family Life Center, 3601 Dill Road, Richmond, VA 23222.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will present a summary of the public comments it received and will make its recommendations to the board on the proposed additional conditions at each meeting. Also at each meeting, the board may approve, deny or amend the recommendations.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: October 03, 2017 at 11:08 am

Comment period on proposed pipelines has closed; DEQ now evaluating public comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 23, 2017

Contact: Ann Regn
(804) 698-4442
ann.regn@deq.virginia.gov

RICHMOND, VA. -- The public comment period on the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipeline additional Section 401 water quality conditions is now closed and is not being extended.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has received about 20,000 comments, including technical comments and reports, signed petitions, general comments about the pipelines and more. At this time, DEQ is focused on reviewing the comments received. Each one will be reviewed and considered by DEQ.

When DEQ has completed its review and prepared a summary of the comments, DEQ will prepare draft responses to the comments and recommendations for the State Water Control Board's consideration at a meeting this fall.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: August 23, 2017 at 11:10 am

Recreation advisory lifted for Tinker Creek

RICHMOND, VA. The Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality have updated the information available on the status of Tinker Creek in Botetourt County following a fish kill on July 29.

On Monday, August 7th, DEQ water monitoring staff collected additional water samples from Tinker CreekSampling locations ranged from the vicinity of the spill downstream to the Route 24 bridge across Tinker Creek near the confluence with the Roanoke River.

Water samples were analyzed by the Department of General Services, Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services. Results showed no evidence of the spilled chemical, Termix 5301.

Based upon the results of this latest round of water samples, the Virginia Department of Health is lifting the ban on recreational activities in Tinker Creek. For information on safe swimming in recreational waters please visit www.SwimHealthyVA.com.

From: Jennifer Underwood

Sent: August 11, 2017 at 10:39 am

Recreation advisory lifted for Tinker Creek

RICHMOND, VA. The Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality have updated the information available on the status of Tinker Creek in Botetourt County following a fish kill on July 29.

On Monday, August 7th, DEQ water monitoring staff collected additional water samples from Tinker CreekSampling locations ranged from the vicinity of the spill downstream to the Route 24 bridge across Tinker Creek near the confluence with the Roanoke River.

Water samples were analyzed by the Department of General Services, Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services. Results showed no evidence of the spilled chemical, Termix 5301.

Based upon the results of this latest round of water samples, the Virginia Department of Health is lifting the ban on recreational activities in Tinker Creek. For information on safe swimming in recreational waters please visit www.SwimHealthyVA.com.

From: Jennifer Underwood

Sent: August 11, 2017 at 10:39 am