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Official DEQ news releases.

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

Virginia issues solid waste report for 2011

June 27, 2012

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

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

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: June 27, 2012 at 11:35 am

Virginia issues report on chemical releases

March 28, 2012

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

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 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

March 26, 2012

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

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:

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

The draft 2012 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: March 26, 2012 at 9:15 am

Railroad ties cleared from Radford site

January 26, 2012

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

Robin C. Chapman
Norfolk Southern
(757) 629-2713

RICHMOND, VA. – The cleanup of almost 2 million railroad ties from a site in Radford brings to an end a multi-year effort to clear the former industrial location and eliminate a potential environmental concern. Norfolk Southern Railway Co. completed removal of the ties earlier this month, delivering on a long-standing offer to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to transport the ties for free if a suitable disposal site could be found.

Norfolk Southern’s work, which took about five months, means that 7 acres of industrial property with rail service and utilities are now available for revitalization.

“Norfolk Southern deserves a great deal of credit for this project,” DEQ Director David K. Paylor said. “They willingly removed these old railroad ties at their own expense, and the result is a new opportunity for productive use of industrial property in Radford. This effort is a clear demonstration of their commitment to stewardship.”

The ties date to the 1980s, when they were sold and stockpiled for reuse on a private site known as the Hammond property. The owner eventually declared bankruptcy, leaving the property abandoned and the ties posing a fire hazard and other environmental concerns. Three years ago, DEQ’s Brownfields Program, with support from the DEQ regional office in Roanoke, began researching alternatives to traditional disposal by working with private companies to remove the ties.

In early 2011, in response to DEQ’s ongoing efforts to get the site cleaned up, Norfolk Southern proposed a solution that involved transporting the ties via rail to approved disposal facilities. DEQ and Norfolk Southern signed an agreement in July to begin the voluntary removal of the ties. Most of the material went to a permitted facility in Pennsylvania that specializes in incineration of treated wood to create energy.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: January 26, 2012 at 10:18 am

Virginia issues 2010 recycling report

November 9, 2010

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. – The Department of Environmental Quality has issued its annual report for 2010 on recycling by Virginia localities, and for the first time since the adoption of the state’s recycling mandate in 1989, the Commonwealth’s recycling rate has surpassed 40 percent.

Using data from the recycling rate reports submitted by Virginia’s 71 solid waste planning units (either a local government or a regional authority), DEQ reports that Virginia recycled 40.5 percent of its municipal and other solid wastes in 2010. The report quantifies the continuing growth of recycling in the Commonwealth and shows an increase over the 2009 recycling rate of 38.6 percent.

“This significant improvement reflects the ongoing support by Virginians for recycling in their communities,” DEQ Director David K. Paylor said.

“Recycling is one of the easiest ways for all Virginians to make a difference in conserving the environment and landfill space,” Virginia Natural Resources Secretary Doug Domenech said. “I urge everyone to think before they throw things into the trash. There is really no reason to bury so much of our trash in the ground.”

One of the main reasons for the increase is the adoption in more localities of “single stream” collection methods for recyclable goods. This means that more residents are allowed to place all of their recyclables in a single bin without sorting into bottles, cans, paper, etc. All of the separation into marketable grades and types of material happens at the processing center.

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, the amount of waste disposed, and a listing of the recycling rate reported by each solid waste planning unit for 2010.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: November 09, 2011 at 11:48 am