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

Scientists investigate fish kill reports on upper James, lower Cowpasture rivers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447
5/17/2007

RICHMOND, VA. -- Virginia officials again are seeking the public’s assistance in determining the extent of fish kills as reports of dead and dying fish are investigated on the upper James River and the lower Cowpasture River.

In the past two weeks, the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries received scattered reports of dead fish in the lower Cowpasture. This week, reports surfaced of affected fish in the upper James. DEQ and DGIF investigated these reports more thoroughly on May 16 and found affected fish on the Cowpasture, mainly downstream of Route 39; on the James near Buchanan in Botetourt County; and on the James at Horseshoe Bend, also known as Narrow Passage, upstream of Buchanan.

On the Cowpasture, rock bass, smallmouth bass and redbreast sunfish had lesions. The number of fish with lesions near Buchanan was small, but scientists believe the situation requires further investigation. Smallmouth bass, rock bass and redbreast sunfish are the main species affected. At Horseshoe Bend, numerous fish with larger lesions were found. Northern hogsucker, smallmouth bass, rock bass, largemouth bass and redbreast sunfish are mainly affected, and numerous dead fish also were observed. The observations on the James River are similar to fish kills in the Shenandoah River watershed in the past three years.

The internal organs of these fish have been preserved for analysis. In addition, DEQ and DGIF plan a combined effort the week of May 21 to collect fish on the James, Cowpasture and Shenandoah rivers. The fish will be sent to several laboratories, microscopically examined, and tested for bacteria and viruses. Scientists have found no indication of human health concerns with the water or fish.

The Shenandoah River Fish Kill Task Force is coordinating this latest investigation with additional biologists from DEQ and DGIF, as well as with angler groups and university scientists. The task force continues to receive reports of fish kills on the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah. The public is encouraged to provide any information on the location, number and type of fish found dead or sick in the Shenandoah, Cowpasture and James river systems. Distressed fish are found mainly in eddies, shallow areas and slow-moving waters away from the main current.

Anyone with information is asked to call the DEQ regional office in Harrisonburg at (540) 574-7800, or toll-free in Virginia at 1-800-592-5482. Information also can be emailed to fishreports@deq.virginia.gov.

From: Julia Wellman

Sent: May 17, 2007 at 12:16 pm

Virginia seeks public's help in fish kill investigation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447
4/26/2007

RICHMOND, VA. -- Reports of dead and dying fish throughout the Shenandoah River watershed this week have prompted Virginia officials to seek the public’s assistance in determining the extent of the problem.

The Department of Environmental Quality began receiving reports on Monday of dead and dying fish on the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah River. Since then, DEQ, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and other members of the Shenandoah River Fish Kill Task Force have been canvassing the river system to determine the condition of fish, primarily smallmouth bass and redbreast sunfish.

The task force encourages the public to provide any information on the location, number and type of fish found dead or sick in the mainstem Shenandoah, the North and South Forks, South River, Middle River or North River. Distressed fish are found mainly in eddies, shallow areas and slow-moving waters away from the main current.

Anyone with information is asked to call the DEQ regional office in Harrisonburg at (540) 574-7800, or toll-free in Virginia at 1-800-592-5482. Information also can be emailed to fishreports@deq.virginia.gov.

About two dozen dead fish were found Monday on the North Fork several miles downstream of Woodstock, on the South Fork between Bentonville and Front Royal, and about six miles upstream of Elkton on the South Fork. A number of live fish with skin lesions or abnormal behavior also were observed. Along the South Fork on Tuesday, an undetermined number of dead and dying fish were found between Bentonville and Karo, and about a dozen fish were found between Island Ford and Elkton.

Fish kills have begun in the Shenandoah River system during the spring of each of the past three years, and the task force has been seeking the causes since 2004.

From: Julia Wellman

Sent: April 26, 2007 at 12:15 pm

Task force investigates new fish deaths in Shenandoah watershed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447
4/25/2007

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447
4/23/2007

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 www.deq.virginia.gov, 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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Julia Wellman
(804) 698-4399
4/16/2007

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 osba@deq.virginia.gov. 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