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Official DEQ news releases.

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

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

Virginia to hold listening session on draft Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement

March 5, 2014

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. – The Commonwealth will hold a public listening session and webinar on March 11, 2014, to enable Virginians to learn about the draft Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, and to ask questions and offer comments.

The session will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Department of Environmental Quality Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060. The listening session also will be broadcast via webinar. To register for the webinar, go to:

Virginia and other Chesapeake Bay states, along with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Chesapeake Bay Commission and the District of Columbia, have developed the Bay agreement to replace the last one adopted in 2000.

The agreement sets out broad goals and specific outcomes for water quality, fisheries, habitat, land conservation and other vital concerns that the Chesapeake Bay Program partners will pursue to aid in the restoration of the Bay.

The agreement also is available for public review and comment on the Chesapeake Bay Program website. It can be viewed and comments can be submitted directly on the site at

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: March 05, 2014 at 10:44 am

Virginia Green announces 2013 award winners

November 25, 2013

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. -- The Virginia Green program will present 14 Virginia Green Travel Star Awards for outstanding green tourism practices at the first annual Virginia Green Conference and Travel Star Awards Celebration.

The conference will be held December 3-4, 2013, at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach. Seven additional Virginia Green partners will be recognized as Virginia Green Travel Leaders.

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 2013 Virginia Green Travel Star Award winners are:

Green Events of the Year
• Kingsmill Championship (Williamsburg)
• ASAE Foundation Springtime Golf and Tennis Invitational at Lansdowne Resort

Green Restaurant of the Year
• Maple Avenue Restaurant (Vienna)

Green Hotels of the Year
• Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Richmond
• The Westin Richmond

Supporting Organization of the Year
• Sandbridge Blue Realty Services

Green Supplier of the Year
• RD Fresh (Newport News)

Green Conference Center of the Year
• Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau

Green Projects of the Year
• Virginia Living Museum (Newport News)
• Virginia Commonwealth University 810 Market (Richmond)

Green Winery of the Year
• North Gate Vineyard (Purcellville)

Green Attraction of the Year
• Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center (Virginia Beach)

Green Bed and Breakfast of the Year
• Oak Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast (Cluster Springs)

Green Campground of the Year
• Williamsburg KOA

The program also recognized seven partners as Virginia Green Travel Leaders:

• Adventure Kayak Tours (Chesapeake)
• The Collins House Inn (Marion)
• Inn at Riverbend (Pearisburg)
• Panache Catering Company (Middletown)
• Roanoke Civic Center
• Holiday Inn Express & Suites (Warrenton)
• Sandbridge Realty

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

Members of the news media are invited to attend the awards luncheon on December 4 at noon at the Virginia Aquarium. For more information, contact Virginia Green Coordinator Tom Griffin at (804) 986-9119 or

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: November 25, 2013 at 10:44 am

Virginia issues 2012 recycling report

November 5, 2013

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. – The Department of Environmental Quality has issued its annual report on recycling by Virginia localities, and it shows that the Commonwealth recycled 41.5 percent of its municipal and other solid wastes in 2012.

This is similar to the 2011 recycling rate of 43.5 percent. Information for the report comes from recycling rates submitted by Virginia’s 71 solid waste planning units (either a local government or a regional authority).

This is the third consecutive year in which the statewide recycling rate has exceeded 40 percent. Local governments reported to DEQ that there are several programs under way to encourage recycling by making it easier for residents and by providing more opportunities for recycling. Among the advantages of maintaining a strong recycling rate is that it leads to lower costs to localities for disposing of solid waste. In addition, recycling helps conserve landfill space by reducing the amount of waste disposal.

Each planning unit is required to achieve a minimum 25 percent recycling rate – unless its population density is less than 100 people per square mile, or its unemployment rate is 50 percent or more above the statewide unemployment average. Localities meeting these criteria are required to achieve a minimum 15 percent recycling rate.

The report is available on the DEQ website at It provides an overview of the materials recycled and a listing of the recycling rates reported by solid waste planning units for 2012.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: November 05, 2013 at 8:26 am