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Official DEQ news releases.

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

DEQ assumes responsibility for Virginia stormwater management programs

July 1, 2013

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. – Effective July 1, 2013, the Department of Environmental Quality becomes the Commonwealth’s lead agency for managing stormwater and related nonpoint source pollution programs. This follows legislation passed by the 2013 General Assembly that consolidates stormwater programs previously managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation at DEQ.

“These changes bring Virginia’s water quality programs under one roof at DEQ, and will help ensure that local governments, builders and developers, and the public are able to obtain the information they need for effective management of stormwater and nonpoint source pollution,” DEQ Director David K. Paylor said.

Several programs under the stormwater umbrella now will be part of DEQ, or will complement programs already at DEQ. These include:

• Stormwater management permits
• Erosion and sediment control
• Chesapeake Bay preservation
• Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs)
• Nonpoint source funding (Clean Water Act Section 319 grants)
• Nonpoint source training and certifications

Nonpoint source pollution is water pollution caused by stormwater runoff that is not confined to a single source, such as a wastewater treatment plant or industrial discharge pipe. One of the main ways of controlling nonpoint source pollution is through stormwater management, which includes erosion and sediment control.

More information is available on the DEQ website at

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: July 01, 2013 at 11:36 am

Virginia issues solid waste report for 2012

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 2012, and the amounts and sources of solid waste generated outside the Commonwealth.

The total amount of solid waste received at Virginia facilities during 2012 decreased by about 470,000 tons (2.3 percent) from 2011. 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 190,000 tons (3.4 percent) to 5.4 million tons. The total amount from within Virginia decreased to about 14.9 million tons (down 1.9 percent).

Other findings of the report include:

• Of the 20.3 million tons of solid waste reported in 2012, approximately 11.9 million tons (58.9 percent) were municipal solid waste, which is trash from households and businesses.
• The total amount of municipal solid waste generated outside Virginia was approximately 3.7 million tons, a decrease of 4.6 percent. Maryland, New York, Washington, D.C., New Jersey and North Carolina accounted for 97.7 percent of all waste received from out-of-state sources.
• Of the total solid waste reported in 2012, about 4 million tons (19.8 percent) were construction and demolition debris.
• Of the total solid waste managed in Virginia in 2012, about 12.5 million tons (74 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 19, 2013 at 11:05 am

Corps of Engineers and Commonwealth of Virginia announce Gathright Dam pulse release dates

May 24, 2013

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

Norfolk District Public Affairs
Kerry Solan
(757) 201-7606

RICHMOND, VA. – The Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will deviate from Gathright Dam’s existing water control plan in order to conduct six pulse releases from June through October 2013.

The pulses, conducted by the Norfolk District in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, will begin at approximately 6 a.m. and end at 2 p.m. and will increase levels 3 to 4.5 feet in the Jackson River.

The agencies advise people who use the river to be aware of the river fluctuations caused by the pulses.

“The pulses will allow for a full season of monitoring data to be collected,” said Owen Reece, Norfolk District hydraulic engineer. “The data will help to document the water quality and environmental benefits of an alternative water control plan.”

The 2013 pulse dates are scheduled for the following Tuesdays:

• June 25
• July 23
• Aug. 13
• Sept. 3
• Sept. 24
• Oct. 15

The deviation from the water control plan will also slightly reduce river flow by 11 percent from the dam, resulting in a 1-inch drop in the Jackson River.

The releases will not have negative effects on the water levels at Lake Moomaw; levels are expected to remain slightly above where they would have been under the existing water control plan. The water reserved in the lake from the reduced flow will be used for the pulse releases.

The pulse releases will be similar to test pulse releases previously conducted in August 2010, September 2011 and October 2012. Those controlled releases, which were single events, tested whether the pulses effectively removed algae and improved water quality.

The 3,000 cubic-feet-per-second test pulse in August 2010 showed the pulse raised dissolved oxygen levels in the river, scoured excess oxygen-consuming algae and “slightly improved” aquatic habitat of the Jackson River downstream of Covington.

"We expect the proposed changes in flow, coupled with major pollutant reductions in the basin, to significantly improve water quality in the Jackson River," DEQ Director David K. Paylor said.

The temporary deviation is based on the preferred alternative in the Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact documents, which were prepared to assess the potential impacts of the Gathright Dam Low Flow Augmentation Project on the Jackson River. The project and development of the preferred alternative were a cooperative effort between the Norfolk District and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact are available at

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: May 24, 2013 at 9:02 am

'Drought watch' advisory lifted for Upper James River region

April 17, 2013

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. – The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has lifted the “drought watch” advisory previously issued for the Upper James River basin. A return to near-normal precipitation during the early spring has resulted in increased stream flows, ground water levels and reservoir levels across the Upper James River and Shenandoah valleys.

This includes the counties of Alleghany, Bath, Botetourt, Craig and Rockbridge; the cities of Buena Vista, Covington and Lexington; and the towns of Clifton Forge, Fincastle, Iron Gate, New Castle and Troutville.

According to the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, a group representing state and federal agencies, the main factors contributing to the removal of the drought watch in the Upper James River basin are:

• Precipitation since October 1, 2012, totals more than 71.5 percent of the normal amounts expected for this period.
• Stream flows and ground water levels have increased to levels greater than 25 percent of historic recorded flows.
• The increased water flow into Lake Moomaw in Alleghany County has enabled the reservoir to remain at its full-pool elevation.

Statewide information on the current drought status is available on the DEQ website at

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: April 17, 2013 at 8:55 am

Virginia issues report on chemical releases for 2011

March 18, 2013

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. -- Virginia industries reported that chemicals released on-site at their facilities decreased by 12.7 percent in 2011, according to the latest Toxics Release Inventory produced by the Department of Environmental Quality.

Industries also reported 860.2 million pounds of chemicals managed on-site, transferred off-site or released to the environment, a 5.5 percent decrease 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 2011 report, which contains the most recent information available, includes these findings:

• 39.2 million pounds of chemicals were released on-site to the air, water and land (a decrease of 12.7 percent from 2010).
• 68.7 million pounds of chemicals were transferred off-site for treatment, recycling, energy recovery or disposal (a 13.3 percent decrease from 2010).
• 752.3 million pounds of chemicals were managed on-site by treatment, recycling or energy recovery (a 4.3 percent decrease from 2010).

The report also includes data about releases of a group of chemicals known as persistent bioaccumulative 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 269,986 pounds in 2011, a decrease of 29.4 percent.

DEQ uses the TRI data to target facilities for projects to reduce pollution at the source. DEQ’s Environmental Excellence Program 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 2011 TRI is available on the DEQ website at Information on releases from 2012 is due to DEQ this summer and will be available to the public in early 2014.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: March 18, 2013 at 11:09 am