RSS feed for DEQ news releases DEQ news releases

Official DEQ news releases.

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

Cindy Berndt of Virginia DEQ receives Erchul Environmental Leadership Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 11, 2011

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

RICHMOND, VA. – Cindy M. Berndt, regulatory affairs director for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, is the 2011 recipient of the Capt. Ronald A. Erchul Environmental Leadership Award. The award was presented April 6 at the Environment Virginia Symposium at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington.

“Cindy has worked for many years, largely behind the scenes, to ensure that Virginia’s environmental regulations are developed accurately, efficiently and in full view of the public,” DEQ Director David K. Paylor said. “As DEQ’s regulatory expert, Cindy has a well-deserved reputation for fairness and a vast knowledge of environmental laws and regulations in the Commonwealth.”

Ms. Berndt, a Richmond native, attended Virginia Intermont College in Bristol. She began work in 1970 at the State Water Control Board (now DEQ). She currently directs the DEQ Office of Regulatory Affairs, overseeing the development of air, water and land protection regulations. She also is DEQ’s staff liaison to three citizen regulatory boards: the State Water Control Board, the Air Pollution Control Board and the Waste Management Board.

The Erchul award recognizes a Virginian who has made significant individual efforts to better the environment. The award is named for retired VMI Civil & Environmental Engineering Professor Ronald A. Erchul, Ph. D., the founder of the Environment Virginia Symposium.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: April 11, 2011 at 11:09 am

Virginia issues 2009 report on chemical releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 23, 2011

Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4777
william.hayden@deq.virginia.gov

RICHMOND, VA. -- Virginia industries reported that chemicals released on-site at facilities decreased by 8.3 percent in 2009, according to the latest Toxics Release Inventory produced by the Department of Environmental Quality.

Virginia industries reported 900.4 million pounds of chemicals managed on-site, transferred off-site or released, a 9.2 percent decrease from the previous year.

DEQ compiles toxic release inventory chemicals data from reporting facilities annually. The 2009 report, which contains the most recent data available, includes these findings:

• 47.5 million pounds of chemicals released on-site to the air, water and land (a decrease of 8.3 percent from 2008).
• 64.6 million pounds of chemicals transferred off-site for treatment, recycling, energy recovery, or disposal (a 23.1 percent decrease from 2008).
• 788.3 million pounds of chemicals managed on-site by treatment, recycling, or energy recovery (a 7.9 percent decrease from 2008).

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 living tissue. Releases of these chemicals totaled 277,724 pounds, a 4.9 percent decrease from 2008.

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 2009 TRI is available at www.deq.virginia.gov/sara3/3132009.html on the DEQ website. Information on releases from 2010 is due to DEQ for analysis this summer and will be available to the public in early 2012.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: March 23, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Public comments sought on revised biosolids regulations

RICHMOND, VA. – The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is accepting public comments on proposed revisions to the regulations on the land application of biosolids, or treated sewage sludge. The comment period extends through April 29, 2011, and the public may comment in writing or in person at one of four public hearings.

DEQ started the regulatory revision process in 2008. In addition, the secretary of natural resources and the secretary of health and human resources responded to a request from the Virginia General Assembly in 2007, and convened a panel of experts to study the impact of land application of biosolids on human health and the environment. Publishing its report in January 2009, the panel recommended that DEQ examine certain areas of the regulations.

To develop the proposed revisions, a regulatory advisory group was convened to consider many aspects of the regulations, including the recommendations of the secretaries’ panel as well as changes related to public notice processes, permit modification procedures, setback distances, nutrient management, storage, and permit fees, among others.

Comments can be submitted online at www.townhall.virginia.gov; in writing addressed to William K. Norris, P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA 23218, or william.norris@deq.virginia.gov; or at one of four public hearings to be held at these locations:

• March 31, 2011, at 7 p.m. – James River Conference Center, 400 Court St., Lynchburg, VA 24504.
• April 5, 2011, at 7 p.m. – Henrico County Board Room, Western Government Center, 4301 East Parham Road, Henrico, VA 23228.
• April 7, 2011, at 7 p.m. – Turner Ashby High School, 800 North Main St., Bridgewater, VA 22812.
• April 12, 2011, at 7 p.m. – Liberty High School, 6300 Independence Ave., Bealeton, VA 22712.

A question-and-answer period will be held from 6:15 to 6:45 p.m. before the public hearing at each location.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: March 07, 2011 at 9:40 am

Virginia issues 2009 recycling report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15, 2010

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

RICHMOND, VA. – The Department of Environmental Quality has issued its annual report on recycling by Virginia localities for 2009, and for the first time since the adoption of the state’s recycling mandate, all localities have met or exceeded their required recycling rates.

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 38.6 percent of its municipal and other solid wastes in 2009. The report quantifies the continuing growth of recycling in the Commonwealth and shows a small improvement over the 2008 recycling rate of 38.5 percent.

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 highest recycling rates were reported in the urban areas of the state. For 2009, these areas reported a total of 3 million recycled tons, or 86 percent of all recyclables collected, and had an average recycling rate of 41 percent.

In each of the last four reporting years, more localities have met the established recycling rates. This is the first year since 1989, when the General Assembly first called on localities to achieve specific recycling rates, that 100 percent of localities have met the requirement.

The report is available on the DEQ website at www.deq.virginia.gov/. 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 2009.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: November 15, 2010 at 2:12 pm

DEQ releases results of Hopewell air quality study

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 1, 2010

CONTACT: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447
wphayden@deq.virginia.gov

RICHMOND, VA. -- Based on information from a new air quality study of the Hopewell area, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will target three chemicals for further evaluation, DEQ announced today, as work continues to identify possible sources of the chemicals and the extent to which they are found in the region. None of these chemicals was found in concentrations that are a cause for immediate concern.

This analysis is the second phase of a study investigating air pollutants in Hopewell. The study used information from earlier air quality monitoring efforts to help determine whether any of the chemicals raise concerns for human health. DEQ is seeking public comment on the report through November 1, 2010.

“Our initial results from the earlier monitoring phase of the study showed that levels of the chemicals acrolein and formaldehyde are higher than we had expected, but not necessarily higher than in other parts of the state,” DEQ Director David K. Paylor said. “This latest risk study has indicated that DEQ needs to evaluate carbon tetrachloride as well.”

Air quality studies across the United States show that the levels of all three of these chemicals are about the same in Hopewell as what many other urban and rural areas of the country experience, according to the DEQ report.

“Our primary responsibility is to protect people’s health and the environment,” Paylor said. “DEQ has evaluated the results of the study and has developed an action plan for addressing each of these chemicals.”

The action plans for the chemicals being studied include:

• Acrolein – DEQ already has begun studying this chemical, which according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been found in many locations across the country. Initial studies will focus on the procedures to test for acrolein to determine whether the method of handling samples affects the test results and results in inaccurate readings. Small amounts of acrolein can be formed and can enter the air when trees and tobacco are burned. Driving cars and burning oil and gasoline also can raise concentrations of acrolein in the air.

• Formaldehyde – DEQ also has formaldehyde studies under way. Information from formaldehyde monitoring stations in Surry County and Virginia Beach will be compared with Hopewell information to determine the possible regional extent of formaldehyde concentrations. Formaldehyde is used in the production of fertilizer, paper and plywood. It is also used as a preservative in some foods and in many products used around the house, such as antiseptics, medicines and cosmetics.

• Carbon tetrachloride – Though this chemical was not identified in the earlier phase of the air quality study, its presence does indicate it may contribute to human health concerns. DEQ will evaluate emissions information and request updates from industries in the Hopewell area. Additional study will be conducted to determine possible sources of carbon tetrachloride emissions. Carbon tetrachloride has been used in the production of refrigeration fluid and propellants for aerosol cans, as a pesticide, as a cleaning fluid and degreasing agent, in fire extinguishers, and in spot removers.

DEQ began the Hopewell air quality study in 2006 with a grant from EPA. The study covered 68 chemicals and metals, and 96 percent of them were below air quality levels of concern. DEQ worked closely with a stakeholder group from Hopewell to design and conduct the monitoring study.

As a result of the study’s earlier work, DEQ has already placed another monitor in Hopewell and is analyzing several more chemicals beyond what previously was studied. More information and the full Hopewell air quality risk study are available on the DEQ website at www.deq.virginia.gov.

Comments on the report may be sent to Charles L. Turner, Director of Air Quality Monitoring, Department of Environmental Quality, 4949-C Cox Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060, or by email to charles.turner@deq.virginia.gov.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: October 01, 2010 at 11:11 am