RSS feed for DEQ news releases DEQ news releases

Official DEQ news releases.

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

Proposed consent order imposes $361,000 penalty on CSX in response to James River tanker fire

RICHMOND, VA. – The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has proposed a consent order in response to the derailment of a railcar that caught fire in the James River in Lynchburg on April 30, 2014. The order imposes a $361,000 civil charge against tanker car owner CSX Transportation Inc.

An investigation by DEQ and CSX determined that of the more than 29,000 gallons of crude oil in the breached tanker, approximately 98 percent was consumed in the fire.

DEQ checked water quality for several days along the river from Lynchburg to Richmond and observed no other environmental concerns at the time. The consent order is based on state law that prohibits release of oil to land or water.

The consent order, to which CSX has agreed, also calls for CSX to pay more than $18,500 for DEQ’s investigative costs following the oil spill. In addition, CSX will complete restoration of the James River bank in the area of the derailment and conduct monitoring of the river to determine if there are any long-term environmental impacts from the incident.

The public has until March 25, 2015, to submit comments on the order before it goes to the State Water Control Board for final approval.

The proposed consent order is available on the DEQ website at

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: February 23, 2015 at 10:43 am

Virginia issues 2014 report on water quality

December 17, 2014

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. – Virginia’s 2014 water quality report provides detailed information on more than 1,200 watersheds in the Commonwealth, the Department of Environmental Quality announced today. This draft report contains an assessment of the latest water quality conditions using data collected from January 2007 to December 2012, as well as the statewide list of impaired waters.

“Virginia remains dedicated to protecting and restoring water resources across the state,” DEQ Director David K. Paylor said. “As we continue to make progress, this report illustrates the ongoing need for vigilance in maintaining and improving water quality – from the Chesapeake Bay to small backyard streams – and we encourage all Virginians to participate in water protection efforts.”

Similar to the last report in 2012, DEQ will add about 830 miles of streams and rivers, 360 acres of lakes, and 4 square miles of estuaries to the impaired waters list because of further monitoring. This would bring the total number of cleanup plans DEQ must develop to 1,830. The most common impairment in rivers and streams is from bacteria pollution, followed by reduced levels of oxygen in certain waters.

Waters also are being removed from the list. For example, a delisting may be appropriate if new data indicate that a water quality standard is being attained. This can be a result of successful pollution control efforts, or it may occur independently of formal cleanup plans. For the 2014 assessment, DEQ has proposed removing 335 waters from the list; the most common delisted impairment is bacteria.

Every two years Virginia monitors about one third of the state’s watersheds on a rotating basis, taking six years to complete a full monitoring cycle. The report provides, as in past assessments, the number of stream miles and the area of lakes, reservoirs and estuaries evaluated. Among the information contained in the report:

• About 6,440 miles of rivers and streams, 19,420 acres of lakes and reservoirs, and 310 square miles of estuaries have high water quality that supports some or all designated uses – aquatic life, fish and shellfish consumption, recreation, public water supplies, and wildlife.
• About 16,040 miles of rivers and streams, 94,800 acres of lakes and reservoirs, and 2,130 square miles of estuaries are impaired.
• Sufficient information was not available to assess about 78,440 miles of streams and rivers, 2,970 acres of lakes and reservoirs, and 400 square miles of estuaries.

DEQ invites public comment on the report until January 30, 2015. A webinar summarizing the findings in the report will be held at 10 a.m. on January 8, 2015. Those interested must register in advance at:

Questions about the report may be submitted online during the webinar.

The draft 2014 water quality report is available on the DEQ website at Written comments on the report should be sent to John M. Kennedy, DEQ water quality monitoring and assessment manager, by email attachment at or by mail at P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA 23218. DEQ requests that all emailed and written comments include the sender’s name, mailing address, phone number and email address.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: December 17, 2014 at 11:11 am

Virginia Green announces 2014 Travel Star Award winners

December 10, 2014

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. – The Virginia Green program presented 12 Virginia Green Travel Star Awards for outstanding green tourism practices at the second annual Virginia Green Conference and Travel Star Awards Celebration on December 9, 2014. Sixteen additional tourism businesses were recognized and received the Virginia Green Travel Leader Award for their efforts.

The Virginia Green program is run through a partnership of the Department of Environmental Quality, the Virginia Tourism Corporation, and the Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association. The program encourages green practices in Virginia’s tourism industry, and it has nearly 1,400 partner organizations that have self-certified their green commitments.

The 2014 Virginia Green Travel Star Award winners are:

• Green Attraction of the Year: John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville
• Green Brewery of the Year: Port City Brewing, Alexandria
• Green Event of the Year: EnRichmond Foundation, Richmond
• Green Hotel of the Year: Lorien Hotel & Spa, Alexandria
• Green Inn / Cabins of the Year: Shadow Mountain Escape, Luray
• Green Restaurant of the Year: Local Roots Restaurant, Roanoke
• Green Winery of the Year: North Gate Vineyard, Purcellville
• Green Supporting Organization of the Year: Norfolk International Airport
• Green Supplier of the Year: Natural Organic Process Enterprise, Richmond

Most Innovative Green Projects:
 -- Hyatt Regency Reston Laundry Project, Reston
 -- Virginia Oyster Shell Recycling Program, Richmond
 -- Inns at Montpelier Virginia Green Project, Montpelier

The 2014 Virginia Green Travel Leader Award winners are:

• Adventure Kayak Tours, Chesapeake
• Arcady Vineyard Bed and Breakfast, Charlottesville
• Blue Mountain Escape, Linden
• Broad Appetit, Richmond
• Clay Corner Inn, Blacksburg
• Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Richmond
• Mountain Song Inn, Floyd
• Natural Bridge Hotel & Conference Center
• Oak Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast, South Boston
• Richmond Multisports, Richmond
• Salamander Resort and Spa, Middleburg
• Sandbridge Blue Realty, Virginia Beach
• The Westin Richmond
• University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg
• Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, Virginia Beach
• Virginia Living Museum, Newport News

Information about Virginia Green is available on the DEQ website at Marketing of the Virginia Green partners is handled by the Virginia Tourism Corporation and is available at

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: December 10, 2014 at 2:17 pm

$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