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Official DEQ news releases.

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

Task force investigates new fish deaths in Shenandoah watershed

CONTACT: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. -- The Department of Environmental Quality has received reports this week of dead fish on the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah River. Dead and dying smallmouth bass and redbreast sunfish were found in at least three areas: a section of the North Fork several miles downstream of Woodstock, from the South Fork between Bentonville and Front Royal, and about six miles upstream of Elkton on the South Fork.

Sampling in these areas by DEQ, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and others on April 24, 2007, confirmed that problems are occurring. Though only a few dead fish were found, a number of live fish with skin lesions or abnormal behavior were observed. Live specimens were collected and immediately delivered to the Virginia Tech Veterinary School pathology lab and the U.S. Geological Survey fish health lab in Leetown, W.Va. These fish will be thoroughly examined, with evaluations for diseases, viruses, parasites and organ-by-organ anomalies.

Fish kills have begun in the Shenandoah River system during the spring of each of the past three years. The causes of these fish kills remain unknown. The kills have occurred at low rates, have lasted for extended periods, and have affected primarily adult smallmouth bass and redbreast sunfish. In some areas adult smallmouth bass and redbreast sunfish numbers have been reduced by an estimated 80 percent. DEQ and DGIF, along with partners in the Shenandoah River Fish Kill Task Force, have been seeking the causes of these fish kills since 2004.

DEQ and DGIF have been monitoring the river almost daily during the spring of 2007. Except for two small, isolated, short-term incidents, no notable fish kills have been found this spring until now.

The partners of the fish kill task force will continue to monitor the river closely for water quality and fish issues. Crews are canvassing the North and South Forks and the mainstem Shenandoah at multiple points this week.

From: Julia Wellman

Sent: April 25, 2007 at 12:22 pm

Air Pollution Control Board seeks comment on proposals for Mirant plant in Alexandria

CONTACT: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. -- The State Air Pollution Control Board is requesting public comment on two proposed consent orders relating to the Mirant Potomac River power plant in Alexandria. One order is recommended by the Department of Environmental Quality, and the second order was proposed by the city of Alexandria.

The air board also is requesting comments on three proposed state operating permits for the Mirant plant. In addition, the board is seeking comments on two issues:

• Are intermittent controls allowed as part of the permit and, if not, are they allowed during a phase-in period or in a consent order?

• Is Mirant’s proposed stack merge project prohibited under federal or state law as a disallowed dispersion technique?

Both orders and the three state operating permits are available on the DEQ website at, under “What’s New at DEQ?”

DEQ will accept written comments on the proposed orders until May 4, 2007, and on the proposed permits until May 21, 2007. DEQ will hold a public hearing May 22, 2007, from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Alexandria – Telegraph Road, 2460 Eisenhower Ave., Alexandria, Va. 22314.

From: Julia Wellman

Sent: April 23, 2007 at 12:14 pm

DEQ offers free training to dry cleaners

CONTACT: Julia Wellman
(804) 698-4399

RICHMOND, VA. – The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is offering free environmental compliance seminars for owners and operators of dry cleaners from April through June.

The seminar series, called An Environmental Compliance Refresher: Getting Back on Track, provides facilities with training on new regulatory requirements and an opportunity to learn more about leak detection technology, environmental contamination and cleanups.

DEQ, the Mid-Atlantic Association of Cleaners and the Korean Dry Cleaners Association of Greater Washington are sponsoring the seminars.

The dates, locations and times for the seminars are:

• April 24 – DEQ West Central Regional Office, 3019 Peters Creek Rd., Roanoke, 7 to 9 p.m.

• April 25 – Danville Community College, Regional Center for Advanced Technology and Training, Auditorium, 121 Slayton Ave., Danville, 7 to 9 p.m.

• April 26 – Tidewater Community College, Portsmouth Campus, Frederick W. Beazley Building, Waterfront Conference Room, 7000 College Dr., Portsmouth, 7 to 9 p.m.

• May 8 – John Tyler Community College, Chester Campus Auditorium, 13101 Jefferson Davis Highway, Chester, 7 to 9 p.m.

• June 24 – Fairfax County Government Center, Board Auditorium, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, 2 to 6 p.m.

To pre-register, email the DEQ Small Business Assistance Program at The program helps small businesses understand and meet environmental requirements by providing free training and technical assistance. More information is available on the DEQ website.

From: Julia Wellman

Sent: April 16, 2007 at 12:13 pm

Virginia issues 2005 report on chemical releases

CONTACT: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. -- Virginia industries reported that chemicals released on-site at facilities decreased by about 10 percent in 2005, according to the latest Toxics Release Inventory produced by the Department of Environmental Quality.

This comes despite the fact that the total amount of chemicals reported as managed on-site, transferred off-site or released on-site increased by about 50 percent from 2004. Most of the increase is due to the additional reporting of on-site recycling at one facility that had not been reported in recent years.

“I am encouraged that the overall amount of chemicals entering the environment continues to decrease,” DEQ Director David K. Paylor said. “Virginia businesses are getting better at effectively managing their chemicals. However we cannot be content and we still have work to do. DEQ will continue to work with businesses and industry to reduce chemical releases.”

The amount of chemicals that facilities transferred off-site or managed on-site for safe treatment or disposal increased by about 13 percent and 73 percent, respectively, from 2004.

The report also includes 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 2005 totaled about 218,194 pounds, a 29 percent decrease from 2004.

The 2005 report, which contains the most recent data available, includes this information:

• The amount of chemicals transferred off-site (to wastewater treatment facilities, or for recycling, energy recovery or disposal) – 72.5 million pounds, up 13.3 percent from 2004.

• The amount of chemicals managed on-site (through treatment, recycling or energy recovery) – 453 million pounds, up 72.8 percent.

• The amount of chemicals recycled on-site – 350 million pounds of which 256 million pounds were reported by Hercules in Hopewell.

• Total on-site releases - 56.4 million pounds, down 9.7 percent.

• On-site releases to the air - 40.7 million pounds, down 15.4 percent.

• On-site releases to water - 9.7 million pounds, up 12.2 percent due to changes in industrial processes and increases in discharges of treated wastewater.

• On-site releases to land - 5.9 million pounds, up 5.7 percent.

• The report also contains rankings by facility, type of industry and locality on the release, transfer and management of chemicals.

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 2005 Toxics Release Inventory is available on the DEQ website. Information on releases from 2006 is due to DEQ for analysis this summer and will be available to the public in early 2008.

From: Julia Wellman

Sent: March 30, 2007 at 12:13 pm

Micron Technology achieves 'environmental excellence' designation

CONTACT: Julia Wellman
(804) 698-4399

RICHMOND, VA. -- Micron Technology has received the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program’s “Extraordinary Environmental Enterprise” designation.

The Virginia Environmental Excellence Program is a voluntary recognition and incentive effort that promotes the use of environmental management systems in businesses and industrial facilities. Environmental management systems enable a facility to reduce waste and prevent pollution while increasing its operating efficiency.

“Micron Technology has voluntarily made environmental performance a management priority,” Department of Environmental Quality Director David K. Paylor said. “This company has shown that it is committed to environmental sustainability through the successful management of its facility.”

As an Extraordinary Environmental Enterprise or E4 participant, a facility must have a fully implemented environmental management system, a record of sustained compliance with environmental requirements and a commitment to sustainability and community involvement. Micron Technology in Manassas is a semiconductor manufacturing facility that has successfully reused more than 250 million gallons of water, saved 16 million kilowatt hours through energy efficiency upgrades and recycled more than 1,300 tons of material.

DEQ will recognize the company’s achievement in a ceremony at Micron Technology located at 9600 Godwin Drive in Manassas on Wednesday, March 14 at 10 a.m. Media representatives are invited to attend.

For more information on Micron Technology’s environmental management system, contact Jennifer Rutkowski, Micron’s community and public affairs specialist, at (703) 396-1137. Information on the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program is available on the DEQ website.

From: Julia Wellman

Sent: March 12, 2007 at 12:12 pm