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Official DEQ news releases.

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

Virginia issues 2008 report on chemical releases

March 30, 2010

Contact: Bill Hayden, DEQ
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. -- Virginia industries reported that chemicals released on-site at facilities decreased by 20.4 percent in 2008, according to the latest Toxics Release Inventory produced by the Department of Environmental Quality.

Virginia industries reported 996.1 million pounds of chemicals managed on-site, transferred off-site or released, a 6.7 percent increase from the previous year. This is due mainly to an increase in on-site recycling activities by three Virginia facilities and an increase in on-site energy recovery for one facility.

DEQ compiles toxic release inventory chemicals data from reporting facilities annually. The 2008 report, which contains the most recent data available, includes these findings:

51.6 million pounds of chemicals released on-site to the air, water and land (a 20.4 percent decrease from 2007).
84 million pounds of chemicals transferred off-site for treatment, recycling, energy recovery, or disposal (a 5.8 percent decrease from 2007).
860.5 million pounds of chemicals managed on-site by treatment, recycling, or energy recovery (a 10.4 percent increase from 2007).

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 persistent chemicals in 2008 totaled 292,102 pounds, a 0.3 percent increase from 2007.

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 2008 Toxics Release Inventory is available online at Information on releases from 2009 is due to DEQ for analysis this summer and will be available to the public in early 2011.

From: Krystal Coxon

Sent: March 30, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Virginia Waste Management Board issues $165,000 penalty

Jan. 12, 2009

Contact: Krystal Coxon, DEQ
(804) 698-4399

RICHMOND, VA. -- On Dec. 21, 2009, the Virginia Waste Management Board issued a $165,000 penalty in a consent order issued to Advanced Technologies Processing Inc., in Henrico County for violations regarding the company's management of solid and hazardous waste.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality's investigations revealed that Advanced Technologies did not follow all waste management regulation requirements and did not acquire all necessary DEQ permits. DEQ investigations found that the company had multiple violations such as the failure to prevent a release of universal and hazardous waste at its Henrico County facility, not properly training employees, and not responding appropriately to releases of mercury-contaminated phosphor dust.

In addition to the civil charge, Advanced Technologies is required to ensure proper cleanup in accordance with hazardous waste regulations at the Henrico County facility located at 4300 Eubank Road. The facility ceased operations in 2009 and the company is not currently operating in Virginia.

Advanced Technologies collected waste electronic devices and waste fluorescent lamps for recycling at its facility in Henrico County. The lamps were crushed and separated into glass, metal end caps and phosphor dust, a hazardous waste that contains mercury. The electronic device waste was then shipped to its sister company, Supreme Asset Management Inc., located in New Jersey, for processing.

More information about the waste management regulations, including the Virginia Waste Management Act, Virginia hazardous waste management regulations and solid waste management regulations is available on the DEQ website at

From: Krystal Coxon

Sent: January 12, 2010 at 9:25 am

Virginia's recycling rate steady

Nov. 18, 2009

Contact: Krystal Coxon, DEQ
(804) 698-4399

RICHMOND, VA. -- Virginia's commitment to recycling is steady at 38.5 percent for municipal and other solid wastes, according to the Department of Environmental Quality's annual recycling rate report for the Commonwealth.

The recycling rate is derived from recycling rate reports submitted by the 71 solid waste planning regions in Virginia representing 324 cities, counties and towns. The percentage represents 3,661,027 tons of material recycled or reused.

"Virginians are committed to conserving natural resources, and recycling offers each citizen an opportunity to make a difference," DEQ Director David K. Paylor said. "Our localities continue to provide their citizens with accessible recycling options, and as a result, Virginia's recycling rate is strong, exceeding the national recycling goal."

The Virginia annual recycling report provides an overview of the materials recycled, the amount of waste disposed, and a list of the recycling rate reported by each solid waste planning region in 2008. The report is available on DEQ's website at

The recycling rate of 38.5 percent exceeds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's national goal of 35 percent by 2010 and is above the 2007 national rate of 33.4 percent. The state's 2008 recycling rate matched the recycling rate reported for 2007.

DEQ's recycling program works closely with recycling program managers, as well as with local governments and solid waste planning regions to ensure that their recycling programs are able to meet or exceed the state's mandated recycling rates. Virginia has a two-tiered recycling mandate. Individual localities or solid waste planning regions with low population densities or high unemployment rates qualify for the 15 percent recycling level. All others must meet the 25 percent recycling rate. Based upon this year's report, only two solid waste planning units fell short of their recycling goal.

From: Krystal Coxon

Sent: November 18, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Virginia DEQ finds significant PCB levels in James, Elizabeth river watersheds

Sept. 24, 2009

Contact: Bill Hayden, DEQ
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. -- Testing of the upper tidal portions of the James and Elizabeth river watersheds shows that significant amounts of PCBs are reaching the rivers from sources on land, according to an ongoing study by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

DEQ is conducting the investigation of PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, to help determine the extent of PCB contamination in the James and Elizabeth rivers. In the past, PCBs usually were detected in fish tissue or soil. Testing methods, though, have advanced to the point where very small amounts of PCBs can be measured directly in the water.

PCBs now can be detected at the level of picograms per liter, or parts per quadrillion. One part per quadrillion is equivalent to a single postage stamp on an envelope the size of California and Oregon combined. The water quality standard for PCBs in water designed to protect fish and other aquatic life is 640 ppq.

"The investigation of PCBs in the James and Elizabeth rivers is a complex task that will require time to complete," DEQ Director David K. Paylor said. "As we continue our investigation, we will focus on pinpointing sources of PCBs so we can take steps to reduce contamination levels in fish."

PCB results for the James River suggest that PCBs are actively entering the river from numerous tributaries, and ultimately from sources on land. These are in addition to previously identified PCB "hot spots" near the river between Richmond and Hopewell.

Water in the main channel of the James contains PCB levels that are near the water quality standard. However, results from several Richmond-area tributaries including Almond Creek, Gillie Creek and the Kanawha Canal show they are contributing significant amounts of PCBs to the river. PCB concentrations in these tributaries range from about 2,500 ppq to 18,000 ppq.

In the Hopewell area, Bailey Creek, Gravelly Run, an unnamed tributary to Cattail Creek and Poythress Run also are contributing significant amounts of PCBs to the James. PCBs in these streams range from 1,600 ppq to 233,000 ppq.

Water samples collected in the Elizabeth River also reveal areas of elevated PCB contamination. Most of the samples collected in the Southern Branch exceed the water quality standard, and the highest concentration of PCBs was detected near the mouth of Deep Creek (140,000 ppq). The Eastern Branch also yielded elevated concentrations. The highest concentration was observed near Military Boulevard (187,000 ppq). PCB concentrations are near the water quality standard in the Western Branch and the Elizabeth River mainstem. Inconclusive results indicate that the upper Lafayette River requires additional study.

The James River study includes the area from the fall line in Richmond at the Mayo Bridge, through Hopewell to about six miles downstream of the Benjamin Harrison Bridge. Several tributaries of the James, including the lower Appomattox River stretching upstream to Petersburg, and several small Appomattox tributaries also are being studied.

The PCB study area for the Elizabeth River includes the main channel beginning at the mouth of the river in Norfolk, along with the Eastern, Southern and Western branches, the Lafayette River and several small tributaries.

The PCB studies were initiated because these rivers are on DEQ's list of impaired, or polluted, waters. The source investigation is the first step in a study known as a "total maximum daily load." A TMDL identifies pollution sources and includes a plan for reducing the movement of pollutants to impaired streams. Additional investigation of possible PCB sources will continue as part of the TMDL process.

PCBs are chemicals once used as insulators or fire retardants in petroleum products such as transformer oil. Although the United States stopped manufacturing PCBs in the 1970s, they still can be found in the environment where they have leaked into the soil and water. The Virginia Department of Health recommends that pregnant women, women who may become pregnant, nursing mothers, infants and young children should avoid eating PCB-contaminated fish from advisory areas. A full list of waters and fish affected by the advisories is available on the health department's website at

From: Krystal Coxon

Sent: September 24, 2009 at 8:08 am

Virginia solid waste report for 2008

June 8, 2009

Contact: Krystal Coxon, DEQ
(804) 698-4399

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 2008, and the amounts and sources of solid waste generated outside the Commonwealth.

The total amount of solid waste received at Virginia facilities during 2008 decreased by about 1.4 million tons (5.9 percent) from 2007. 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 533,000 tons (7.5 percent) to about 6.6 million tons. The total amount from within Virginia decreased by 842,000 tons to about 15.4 million tons.

Other findings of the report include:

Of the nearly 22 million tons of solid waste reported in 2008, about 15 million tons (68 percent) were municipal solid waste, which is trash from households and businesses.
The total amount of municipal solid waste generated outside Virginia was 5.1 million tons, a decrease of about 518,000 tons (9.2 percent). Maryland, New York, Washington, D.C., North Carolina and New Jersey accounted for 97.3 percent of all waste received from out-of-state sources.
Of the total solid waste reported in 2008, about 3.6 million tons (16.3 percent) were construction and demolition debris.
Of the total solid waste managed in Virginia in 2008, about 14.4 million tons (79.3 percent) were disposed of in landfills, about 2.2 million tons (11.9 percent) were incinerated and the rest was managed by other means, including mulching and recycling.

The full solid waste report is available on the DEQ web site at

From: Krystal Coxon

Sent: June 08, 2009 at 10:34 am