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Official DEQ news releases.

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

Agreement strengthens efforts to improve water quality

October 1, 2007

Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. - The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Dan River Basin Association will begin a partnership to improve water quality on October 2 in Danville.

“This agreement will strengthen Virginia’s efforts to protect and restore water quality in the Dan River watershed,” DEQ Director David K. Paylor said. “We look forward to working with the Dan River Basin Association to improve and promote the region’s water resources.”

The agreement defines the roles and shared goals of DEQ and the Dan River Basin Association. DEQ and the association plan to work together to expand water quality monitoring by volunteers, study the health of the watershed, promote opportunities to discuss environmental issues with the public and implement land management practices that reduce pollution.

Paylor and the Dan River Basin Association President William Truslow will sign the agreement at a ceremony starting at 10 a.m. under the triple flags in the Crossing at the Dan in Danville.


From: Bill Hayden

Sent: October 01, 2007 at 11:02 am

Proposed water reuse regulation ready for public comment

Sept. 11, 2007

Bill Hayden
804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. -- The State Water Control Board is requesting public comment through Oct. 9, 2007, on a proposed regulation that would allow the reuse of treated wastewater or reclaimed water from municipal and industrial wastewater treatment facilities. The use of reclaimed water will conserve water supplies and reduce the discharge of wastewater to natural waters.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality worked with stakeholders to develop the regulation, which establishes requirements for treating and monitoring reclaimed water for reuse. These requirements are designed to protect the environment and public health. Water reuse is the use of reclaimed water for purposes that do not require drinking water quality.

For the reclamation of municipal wastewater, the regulation proposes that the wastewater be treated either to a standard allowing reuses with the potential for public contact or to a standard allowing reuses with no or minimal potential for public contact. Treatment standards and monitoring requirements will be developed on a case-by-case basis for industrial wastewaters.

Reuses of reclaimed water that are listed in the regulation are divided among six categories: urban (unrestricted access), irrigation (unrestricted access), irrigation (restricted access), landscape impoundments, construction and industrial. Reuses not listed may be approved on a case-by-case basis.

DEQ will also host three public hearings at which written and oral comments will be accepted. The dates, locations and times of the public hearings are:

• Sept. 17 – DEQ West Central Regional Office, 3019 Peters Creek Road, Roanoke, 2 p.m.
• Sept. 21 – DEQ Tidewater Regional Office, 5636 Southern Boulevard, Virginia Beach, 2 p.m.
• Sept. 24 – DEQ Piedmont Regional Office, 4949 Cox Road, Glen Allen, 2 p.m.

More information is available on the DEQ website at

From: Julia Wellman

Sent: September 11, 2007 at 12:47 pm

Virginia reaches proposed agreement with HRSD, local governments on sewage system improvements

August 6, 2007

Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. – The Department of Environmental Quality has agreed on a proposed consent order with the Hampton Roads Sanitation District and 13 local jurisdictions in Hampton Roads to complete long-term improvements to their sewage collection systems and to reduce releases of untreated sewage to the environment.

“This tentative agreement will involve an unprecedented level of cooperation and coordination among Virginia, HRSD and the local governments,” DEQ Director David K. Paylor said. “It will establish a consistent, uniform framework for identifying and implementing regional and individual improvements to this extensive sewage treatment system that ultimately will benefit the environment and all residents of Hampton Roads.”

A public comment period on the proposed agreement begins today and runs through September 5, 2007. DEQ will present the consent order to the State Water Control Board for final approval.

In addition to HRSD, which is responsible for sewage treatment services for Hampton Roads communities, other participants in the agreement are Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, Gloucester County, Isle of Wight County, York County, the James City Service Authority and the town of Smithfield.

Under the consent order, HRSD and the localities have agreed to a two-phased approach to sewer system management. The first phase involves data collection and developing plans at the regional and local levels. The second phase will enable long-term sewer rehabilitation and capacity enhancements. Key actions addressed in this consent agreement include:

• Installation of flow meters and rainfall gauges to determine sewage flow rates and the amount of rainfall entering the system.

• Sewer system evaluation surveys to help identify where improvements are needed.

• Perform interim repairs on existing sewage treatment facilities as necessary.

• Complete a wet weather management plan that includes a full range of capital and operating alternatives to reduce the occurrence of discharges of untreated sewage to Virginia waters.

The proposed consent order and related information are available on the DEQ website at


From: Julia Wellman

Sent: August 06, 2007 at 11:13 am

DEQ to hold public meeting on Staunton River PCB study

August 2, 2007

Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. -- The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will host a public meeting on August 7 at 6:30 p.m. in the Brookneal Elementary School to discuss a water quality study of the Staunton (lower Roanoke) River.

The DEQ South Central Regional Office in Lynchburg has been studying the water quality of the Staunton River from Altavista in Campbell County to Clover in Halifax County. Elevated levels of PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, have been found in fish from the river. The PCB levels restrict the consumption of some fish from the Staunton River. At the meeting in Brookneal, DEQ will discuss the water quality study, monitoring efforts and cleanup activities.

As part of the study, DEQ is working to identify sources of PCB compounds. Initial testing indicates that at least three locations require additional testing to identify possible PCB sources in the river. These locations are Burlington Industries in Hurt, the Altavista wastewater treatment plant and the Dan River plant in Brookneal.

In January 2006, DEQ took samples of water discharged from each location. The total concentration of PCBs was 60.4 parts per trillion in water discharged from Burlington Industries, 2.2 ppt in water discharged from the Altavista wastewater treatment plant and 0.5 ppt in water discharged from the Dan River plant in Brookneal. The maximum allowable amount of PCBs in surface waters is 1.7 ppt under Virginia’s water quality standards. To confirm these initial test results, DEQ will conduct additional sampling in August 2007.

The Dan River plant stopped industrial operations in September 2006. The Altavista treatment plant receives wastewater from BGF Industries. The BGF Industries plant has been previously identified as a PCB source, and DEQ continues to work with the company to address contamination at the site.

In 2006, DEQ obtained fish tissue samples from the Staunton River. Results from these tests indicate that PCB concentrations in fish tissue ranged from 7 to 1,712 parts per billion, with the highest amounts found near Clover. The Virginia Department of Health level of concern is 50 ppb for PCBs in fish tissue.

Information from the study will be used to develop a total maximum daily load for the Staunton River. A TMDL is the maximum amount of a pollutant a water body can contain and still meet water quality standards. To restore water quality, PCB levels have to be reduced to the TMDL amount.

PCBs are chemicals that were used in electrical transformers and other equipment until the late 1970s and can remain in the environment for decades. Long-term exposure to PCBs may increase the risk of cancer. The Virginia Department of Health recommends that high-risk individuals such as pregnant women, women planning to become pregnant, nursing mothers, infants, and young children should avoid eating PCB-contaminated fish from advisory areas. A full list of fish affected by the fish consumption advisory is available on the Virginia Department of Health website at


From: Julia Wellman

Sent: August 02, 2007 at 12:43 pm

Virginia, localities monitor drought conditions

July 25, 2007
Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. -- The current effects of drought in Virginia could intensify, according to a report by the Drought Monitoring Task Force, and state and local governments are closely monitoring conditions across the Commonwealth.

Though statewide precipitation levels since October 2006 are within the normal range, precipitation within shorter periods is below normal. Virginia has received about half as much rainfall (47 percent) as usual in the last three weeks.

Other findings of the Drought Monitoring Task Force report include:

• The most significant drought effects are occurring in the agricultural sector.
• Nearly 85 percent of the Commonwealth is experiencing abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions. The effects of drought are predicted to diminish through October in all areas currently identified as being impacted by drought, based on the seasonal drought outlook issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
• Portions of southwest Virginia consistently have experienced below normal precipitation amounts since October 2006.
• There are no reports of drought conditions affecting public water supplies. However, the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority has declared a drought watch for its service area, which is consistent with the authority’s drought contingency plan.
• Stream flows in southwest Virginia, the Northern Neck, the Middle Peninsula, the Eastern Shore and portions of Northern Virginia range from below normal to levels that are consistent with moderate drought conditions. Stream flows for the rest of the Commonwealth and ground water levels are at the lower end of the normal range.
• Levels of large reservoirs such as Lake Moomaw, Smith Mountain Lake, Kerr Reservoir and Philpott Reservoir have been slowly declining.

The Department of Environmental Quality is working with localities across Virginia to develop long-term water supply plans to determine water needs and potential alternatives for at least 30 years, and to improve preparation for future drought. The Commonwealth is also encouraging localities, public water suppliers and self-supplied water users to take the following steps to help protect current water supplies:

• Review existing or develop new water conservation and drought contingency plans, and take conservation actions that are consistent with those plans.
• Include water conservation information on websites and distribute water conservation information as broadly as possible.
• Continue monitoring the conditions of public waterworks and self-supplied water users in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health.
• Aggressively pursue leak detection and repair programs.

DEQ, the U.S. Geological Survey, the State Climatology Office, the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and other state agencies contributed information to the report. The report and water conservation tips are available on the DEQ website at


From: Julia Wellman

Sent: July 25, 2007 at 2:44 pm