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

Conditions in Appomattox River basin lead to 'drought warning' status

‘Drought watch’ advisories issued for two other regions in Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 14, 2012

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

RICHMOND, VA. – In response to ongoing summertime precipitation deficits, the Department of Environmental Quality has issued a “drought warning” advisory for the Appomattox River basin in south-central Virginia.

In addition, DEQ has issued “drought watch” advisories for the northern Piedmont and Roanoke River regions of the state.

Drought warning for Appomattox basin

The affected localities and public water suppliers for the Appomattox basin drought warning include Amelia, Appomattox, Buckingham, Chesterfield, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Nottoway, Powhatan, Prince Edward and Prince George counties; the cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell and Petersburg; and the towns of Appomattox, Blackstone, Burkeville, Crewe and Farmville.

Drought warning responses are required when the onset of a significant drought event is imminent. Water conservation and contingency plans that were prepared during the drought watch stage should be implemented. Water conservation activities at this stage generally are voluntary, but this does not preclude localities issuing mandatory restrictions if appropriate.

DEQ is sending notifications to all local governments, public water works, and private-sector water users in the affected area, 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 warning declaration, Virginia is encouraging localities, public water suppliers and self-supplied water users in the Appomattox basin to voluntarily take these steps to help protect current water supplies:

• Minimize nonessential water use.
• All public waterworks and self-supplied water users who withdraw more than 10,000 gallons per day will initiate voluntary water conservation requirements contained in drought water conservation and contingency plans.
• Include water conservation information on local websites and distribute water conservation information 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 mandatory water use restrictions when consistent with local water supply conditions.

This advisory is being issued because drought indicators in the state’s Drought Assessment and Response Plan have been met. According to the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, a group representing state and federal agencies, the primary factors contributing to the declaration of the drought warning advisory are:

• Precipitation deficits are 8 to 12 inches since October 1, 2011, throughout much of the river basin, and there are deficits of 6 to 8 inches in the rest of the basin.
• Stream flow is lower than 95 percent of recorded flows in the area, indicating a severe hydrologic drought – a period of below-average water content in streams, reservoirs, ground water aquifers, lakes and soils.
• Ground water levels are lower than 75 percent to 90 percent of previously recorded levels.
• Levels at Lake Chesdin have continued to fall since a drought watch advisory was issued July 26. Public water supply impacts have been reported by Crewe, Farmville and the Appomattox River Water Authority.
• A total of eight public water supplies have announced voluntary water use restrictions, and one additional waterworks has imposed mandatory restrictions.

Drought watch for northern Piedmont and Roanoke River regions

DEQ also has issued a “drought watch” advisory for Virginia's northern Piedmont region, which includes Greene, Madison, Rappahannock, Orange, Culpeper, Louisa, Spotsylvania and Stafford counties; the city of Fredericksburg; and the towns of Culpeper, Gordonsville, Louisa, Mineral, Madison, Orange, Stanardsville and Washington. Specific factors contributing to this advisory are:

• Scattered summer rainfall patterns have produced less than 50 percent of normal rainfall over much of the region for more than 60 days.
• Stream flows have continually been 75 percent less than historic flows for nearly one month, and have periodically dropped to 95 percent less than historic flows during the same period.
• Ground water levels have been 90 percent below historic levels for most of the past 60 days.

In addition, DEQ has issued a drought watch advisory for the Roanoke River region that includes Patrick, Franklin, Roanoke, Henry, Bedford, Pittsylvania, Campbell, Halifax, Charlotte, and Mecklenburg counties; the cities of Bedford, Danville, Martinsville, Salem and Roanoke; and the towns of Altavista, Brookneal, Charlotte Court House, Drakes Branch, Keysville, Phenix, Boones Mill, Rocky Mount, Halifax, Scottsburg, South Boston, Virgilina, Ridgeway, Boydton, Broadnax, Chase City, Clarksville, La Crosse, South Hill, Stuart, Chatham, Gretna, Hurt and Vinton. Specific factors contributing to this advisory are:

• Scattered summer rainfall patterns have produced less than 75 percent of normal rainfall over much of the region for more than 60 days.
• Stream flows have continually been 75 percent less than historic flows for nearly one month.
• Ground water levels have been 90 percent below historic levels for most of the past 60 days.

Through the drought watch advisory, Virginia is encouraging localities, public water suppliers and self-supplied water users in these regions 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 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.

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

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: August 14, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Virginia issues 'drought watch' advisory for Appomattox River basin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 26, 2012

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

RICHMOND, VA. – Precipitation deficits and above-average temperatures have continued to cause drought impacts in the Appomattox River basin in south-central Virginia. 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 Appomattox basin.

The affected localities and public water suppliers include Amelia County, Appomattox County, Buckingham County, Chesterfield County, Cumberland County, Dinwiddie County, Nottoway County, Powhatan County, Prince Edward County, Prince George County, Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Petersburg, and the towns of Appomattox, Blackstone, Burkeville, Crewe and Farmville.

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 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 watch advisory are:

• Precipitation deficits are 8 to 12 inches since October 1, 2011, throughout much of the river basin, and there are deficits of 6 to 8 inches in the rest of the basin.
• Stream flow is lower than 95 percent of recorded flows in the area, indicating a severe hydrologic drought – a period of below-average water content in streams, reservoirs, ground water aquifers, lakes and soils.
• Ground water levels are lower than 75 percent to 90 percent of previously recorded levels.
• Levels at Lake Chesdin are down 38 inches. Public water supply impacts have been reported by Farmville and the Appomattox River Water Authority.
• According to the National Weather Service, conditions in the area are designated as “moderate drought.”

DEQ is sending notifications to all local governments, public water works, and private-sector water users in the affected area, 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 water suppliers and self-supplied water users in the Appomattox basin 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 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 have been prepared during a drought watch stage would begin to be implemented. From the perspective of the Commonwealth, water conservation activities at this stage would generally be voluntary. This does not preclude localities 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: July 26, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Virginia issues solid waste report for 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2012

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

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 2011, and the amounts and sources of solid waste generated outside the Commonwealth.

The total amount of solid waste received at Virginia facilities during 2011 increased by about 1 million tons (5.2 percent) from 2010. 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 increased by about 19,000 tons (0.3 percent) to 5.6 million tons. The total amount from within Virginia increased to about 15.2 million tons (7.1 percent).

Other findings of the report include:

• Of the 20.7 million tons of solid waste reported in 2011, approximately 12.4 million tons (60 percent) were municipal solid waste, which is trash from households and businesses.
• The total amount of municipal solid waste generated outside Virginia was approximately 3.8 million tons, a decrease of about 190,000 tons (4.7 percent). Maryland, New York, Washington, D.C., New Jersey and North Carolina accounted for 97.1 percent of all waste received from out-of-state sources.
• Of the total solid waste reported in 2011, about 3.8 million tons (18.4 percent) were construction and demolition debris.
• Of the total solid waste managed in Virginia in 2011, about 12.9 million tons (74.5 percent) were disposed of in landfills, and about 2.1 million tons (12.3 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 www.deq.virginia.gov.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: June 27, 2012 at 11:35 am

Virginia issues report on chemical releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 28, 2012

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

RICHMOND, VA. -- Virginia industries reported that chemicals released on-site at facilities decreased by 4.2 percent in 2010, according to the latest Toxics Release Inventory produced by the Department of Environmental Quality.

Industries also reported 911.4 million pounds of chemicals managed on-site, transferred off-site or released, a 1.1 percent increase from the previous year.

DEQ compiles toxic release inventory chemicals data from reporting facilities annually. The 2010 report, which contains the most recent data available, includes these findings:

• 46.3 million pounds of chemicals were released on-site to the air, water and land (a decrease of 4.2 percent from 2009).
• 79.2 million pounds of chemicals were transferred off-site for treatment, recycling, energy recovery, or disposal (a 22.5 percent increase from 2009).
• 785.9 million pounds of chemicals were managed on-site by treatment, recycling, or energy recovery (a 0.3 percent decrease from 2009).

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 367,054 pounds in 2010.

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 2010 TRI is available on the DEQ website at www.deq.virginia.gov. Information on releases from 2011 is due to DEQ for analysis this summer and will be available to the public in early 2013.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: March 28, 2012 at 11:44 am

2012 report details status of water quality in Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2012

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

RICHMOND, VA. -- Virginia’s 2012 water quality report, released today by the Department of Environmental Quality, provides detailed information on more than 1,200 watersheds in the Commonwealth. This report contains an assessment of the latest water quality conditions using data collected from January 2005 to December 2010, as well as the statewide list of impaired waters.

“Although the report shows that we continue to have water bodies that are affected by pollution, there has been considerable progress in restoring and protecting our vital water resources across the state,” DEQ Director David K. Paylor said. “We expect to see continued improvements from our cleanup efforts and are encouraged by some of the key findings in the report, such as decreases in bacteria levels and positive trends for the control of nutrients and sediment.”

This year DEQ has added about 840 miles of streams and rivers, 100 acres of lakes and 2 square miles of estuaries to the impaired waters list. Virginia needs to develop about 1,000 cleanup plans, in addition to an undetermined number of cleanup plans resulting from the 2012 listing.

About 260 miles of rivers and streams and 2,700 lake acres have been removed from the impaired waters list because they now fully meet water quality standards. An additional 230 miles of rivers and streams and 4,060 lake acres have been partially delisted because of improvements for at least one impairment.

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 agency has assessed 98 percent – or 1,224 – of 1,247 watersheds since the 2002 report.

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 5,350 miles of rivers and streams, 19,600 acres of lakes and reservoirs, and 140 square miles of estuaries have high water quality that supports some or all designated uses – aquatic life, fish and shellfish consumption, swimming, public water supplies and wildlife.
• About 13,140 miles of rivers and streams, 94,000 acres of lakes and reservoirs, and 2,130 square miles of estuaries are impaired.
• Sufficient information was not available to assess about 33,700 miles of streams and rivers, 2,700 acres of lakes and reservoirs, and 400 square miles of estuaries.

DEQ invites public comment on the report until April 27, 2012, at 5 p.m. A webinar summarizing the findings in the report will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on April 9, 2012. Those interested must register in advance at:

https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/936886206

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

The draft 2012 water quality report is available on the DEQ website at www.deq.virginia.gov. Written comments on the report should be sent to John M. Kennedy, DEQ water quality monitoring and assessment manager, by email attachment at john.kennedy@deq.virginia.gov 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: March 26, 2012 at 9:15 am