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Official DEQ news releases.

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

$1.5 million available for water quality improvement projects for water bodies with implementation plans

October 8, 2014

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. – The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is making approximately $1.5 million in federal grant funding available to support Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) implementation projects that will result in advancement of goals and milestones provided in eligible TMDL implementation plans.

Local governments (including counties, cities, and towns), county health departments, soil and water conservation districts, planning district commissions, regional commissions, Virginia institutes of higher education, and Virginia state agencies are eligible to apply. Applications are due by November 17, 2014.

These grants will help fund projects that reduce the leading source of water quality problems – nonpoint source pollution, or runoff, from impaired watersheds across the state. DEQ receives federal funding to support implementation activities that address agricultural, residential septic, pet waste, suburban, urban, and mining nonpoint source pollution.

All proposed pollution reduction activities must be specifically identified in an EPA-approved TMDL implementation plan to be considered eligible for funding.

Funding will be targeted to projects that have a high likelihood of improving water quality, concentrate limited resources for best management practices implementation and outreach in priority areas (subwatersheds) identified in the implementation plan, and include an engaged and meaningful partnership. Projects are encouraged that address local water quality concerns identified in a TMDL implementation plan, and regional or statewide initiatives (such as the Chesapeake Bay TMDL Watershed Implementation Plan, Clinch River Initiative, etc.).

A complete version of the 2015 TMDL request for applications and additional details are available on the DEQ website at Questions regarding this grant program may be directed to the Nonpoint Source Program grant managers at

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: October 08, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Virginia issues solid waste report for 2013

RICHMOND, VA. -- The Department of Environmental Quality released its annual report today on solid waste management in Virginia. The report includes the amounts of solid waste managed in Virginia in 2013, and the amounts and sources of solid waste generated outside the Commonwealth.

The total amount of solid waste received at Virginia facilities during 2013 decreased by about 80,000 tons (0.4 percent) from 2012. Solid waste includes municipal solid waste, construction and demolition debris, vegetative and yard waste, and other types of waste. The total amount of solid waste from outside Virginia decreased by about 162,000 tons (3 percent), to 5.2 million tons. The total amount from within Virginia increased to about 15 million tons (0.6 percent).

Other findings of the report include:

• Of the 20.2 million tons of solid waste reported in 2013, about 12.3 million tons (60.8 percent) were municipal solid waste, which is trash from households and businesses.
• The total amount of municipal solid waste generated outside Virginia was about 3.6 million tons, a decrease of 1.7 percent. Maryland, New York, Washington, D.C., New Jersey and North Carolina accounted for 98.1 percent of all waste received from out-of-state sources.
• Of the total solid waste reported in 2013, about 3.9 million tons (19.2 percent) were construction and demolition debris.
• Of the total solid waste managed in Virginia in 2013, about 12.3 million tons (72.8 percent) were disposed of in landfills, and about 2.2 million tons (12.8 percent) were incinerated. The rest was managed by other means, including mulching and recycling.

The full solid waste report is available on the DEQ website at

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: June 30, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Virginia issues report on chemical releases for 2012

RICHMOND, VA. -- Virginia industries reported that chemicals released on-site at their facilities decreased by 16.7 percent in 2012, according to the latest Toxics Release Inventory produced by the Department of Environmental Quality.

Industries also reported 873 million pounds of chemicals managed on-site, transferred off-site or released to the environment, a 1.5 percent increase from the previous year.

DEQ compiles information on a wide range of toxic chemicals released by facilities that are required to submit reports each year. The 2012 report, which contains the most recent information available, includes these findings:

• 32.7 million pounds of chemicals were released on-site to the air, water and land (a decrease of 16.7 percent from 2011).
• 65.3 million pounds of chemicals were transferred off-site for treatment, recycling, energy recovery or disposal (a 5 percent decrease from 2011).
• 775 million pounds of chemicals were managed on-site by treatment, recycling or energy recovery (a 3 percent increase from 2011).

The report also includes data about releases of a group of chemicals known as persistent bio-accumulative toxics. These chemicals remain in the environment for long periods of time and can build up in body tissue. On-site releases of these chemicals totaled 206,964 pounds in 2012.

DEQ uses the TRI data to identify facilities for projects to reduce pollution at the source. The Virginia Environmental Excellence Program at DEQ uses incentives and assistance efforts to promote environmental stewardship beyond regulatory compliance. The goal of this initiative is to help develop more efficient technologies and business operations by reducing the amount of chemicals released to the environment and improving how the chemicals are managed.

The 2012 TRI is available on the DEQ website at Information on releases from 2013 is due to DEQ this summer and will be available to the public in early 2015.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: March 26, 2014 at 11:00 am

Virginia to hold public meeting on coal ash spill

March 13, 2014

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. – Virginia will hold a public meeting March 18 in Danville to provide an update on the Commonwealth’s response to the Dan River coal ash spill.

The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in City Council chambers on the fourth floor of the Municipal Building, 427 Patton St., Danville.

The Department of Environmental Quality is sponsoring the meeting, which will include representatives of other state agencies involved with Virginia’s response.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: March 13, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Virginia's response to coal ash spill focuses on long-term health of Dan River

March 10, 2014

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. – Virginia’s environmental evaluation of the Dan River following the coal ash spill in North Carolina continues to focus on potential long-term effects on water quality and aquatic life in the river. Sampling results of the treated drinking water for Virginia localities that use the Dan River have consistently met or exceeded all applicable federal and state standards, and there are no public health concerns with drinking water.

Duke Energy reported the spill from a facility in Eden, N.C., on February 2. The release of coal ash into the river has been halted, and removal of ash deposits in the river is under way.

“In Virginia, we are focusing now on the health of the Dan River over the long term,” said David K. Paylor, Director of the Department of Environmental Quality. “We intend to hold Duke Energy fully accountable. It is likely that several years of monitoring will be required, and we want to ensure that people and the environment remain protected.”

DEQ is coordinating the Virginia state agency response and has taken these actions:

• Compiled historical monitoring data and drafted a summary of water quality conditions on the Dan River from before the spill to enable comparison with post-spill conditions.
• Collected water and sediment samples from the North Carolina line to an area west of South Boston. No violations of Virginia’s water quality standards have been found, and sample collections are continuing.
• Coordinated with local water treatment facilities and the Virginia Department of Health to ensure the ongoing safety of public water supplies. The drinking water quality has not been impaired and remains safe.
• Collected fish samples from the river to evaluate for metal contaminants. A summary of findings is expected soon.
• Coordinated with VDH on the posting of signs along the river advising limited contact with coal ash.
• Reviewed records and current conditions at coal ash impoundments in Virginia.
• Initiated plans for assessment of water quality, aquatic life and habitat in the river.

VDH recommends that local fish consumers follow the existing advisory for mercury and PCBs (no more than two meals per month for certain fish species). Based on pending results, VDH will determine whether existing fish consumption advisories need to be updated. Catch-and-release fishing remains safe.

Virginia’s long-term efforts will include a cooperative state and federal monitoring plan to identify impacts to bottom-dwelling organisms that form the base of the food chain in the river. The study also will identify effects on fish and possible bioaccumulation of metals in fish tissue.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: March 10, 2014 at 10:22 am