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

Public comment period and public hearings scheduled on draft water quality certifications for proposed natural gas pipelines

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 30, 2017

Contact: Ann Regn
(804) 698-4442
ann.regn@deq.virginia.gov

RICHMOND, VA. -- The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will hold a public comment period, including five public hearings around the Commonwealth in August, to receive comments on draft water quality certifications designed to protect water quality along the routes of the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines.

Two hearings will be held for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, and three will be held for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The public comment period to receive written comments on both pipelines will run from July 3 through August 22, 2017.

"These hearings and the comment period are very important to helping DEQ meet its goal of protecting water quality," DEQ Director David K. Paylor said. "The pipeline construction is a complicated process, and we look forward to receiving valuable public input as these projects proceed."

The public hearings schedule for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is:

-- August 7, 2017, from 6 to 10 p.m. -- James Madison University, Festival Conference and Student Center, Grand Ballroom, 1301 Carrier Drive, Harrisonburg, VA 22807. Parking is in Lots C11, C12, and D3.

-- August 10, 2017, from 6 to 10 p.m. -- Longwood University, Jarman Auditorium, 201 High St., Farmville, VA 23901. Parking is in Wheeler Lot, Crafts Lot, High Street Lot, Randolph Lot or other university-owned lots.

-- August 14, 2017, from 6 to 10 p.m. -- Dinwiddie High School Auditorium, 11501 Boisseau Road, Dinwiddie, VA 23841. Parking is only in designated areas on school property.

The public hearing schedule for the Mountain Valley Pipeline is:

-- August 8, 2017, from 6 to 10 p.m. -- Radford University, Preston/Bondurant Auditorium, 801 East Main St., Radford, VA 24142. Parking is only in Lot A, or Lots E and U.

-- August 9, 2017, from 6 to 10 p.m. -- Chatham High School Auditorium, 100 Cavalier Circle, Chatham, VA 24531. Parking is only in designated areas on school property.

The documents on which DEQ is seeking comments are referred to as "401 certifications." These draft certifications will place conditions on activities in upland areas that are near state waters and that may indirectly affect state water along the pipeline routes. These certifications are in addition to the requirements imposed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, by the Commonwealth of Virginia for stormwater, erosion and sediment control, and by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for wetlands and streams.

The conditions address, among other matters, impacts to public water supplies; engineering and best management practices for steep slopes and slide-prone areas; environmental monitoring and inspections; and development and implementation of plans and procedures for karst mitigation, spill prevention control, water quality monitoring, and protection of riparian buffers.

Additional information is available on the DEQ website at www.deq.virginia.gov.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: June 30, 2017 at 1:35 pm

Drought watch advisory lifted for Northern Virginia region

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 2017

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

RICHMOND, VA. -- The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has lifted the "drought watch" advisory issued in March 2017 for public or private water supplies that use groundwater or that withdraw water directly from tributaries of the Potomac River in the Northern Virginia drought evaluation region.

The Northern Virginia drought evaluation region includes Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun and Prince William counties, and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park.

According to the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, a group representing state and federal agencies, the main factors contributing to the removal of the drought watch are:

-- Above-normal precipitation over the past several weeks has raised the total since October 1, 2016, to more than 83.5 percent of the normal amounts expected for this period.
-- Stream flows and groundwater levels at nearly all indicator stations have increased to levels greater than 25 percent of historic recorded flows.

A drought watch advisory remains in effect for the Northern Piedmont drought evaluation region. Although increased rainfall has returned stream flows in this region to normal levels, groundwater levels remain low. Because groundwater provides flow to streams during the normally dry late summer and early fall months, less-than-normal groundwater levels may be of concern if drier-than-normal conditions return during July, August or September.

The affected localities and public water suppliers in the Northern Piedmont drought evaluation region include Culpeper, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Orange, Rappahannock, Spotsylvania and Stafford counties and the city of Fredericksburg.

Statewide information on the current drought status is available on the DEQ website at www.deq.virginia.gov.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: June 21, 2017 at 10:07 am

Virginia issues solid waste report for 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 20, 2017

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

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 2016, and the amounts and sources of solid waste generated outside the Commonwealth.

The total amount of solid waste received at Virginia facilities during 2016 increased by about 1.3 million tons from 2015. 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 rose about 700,000 tons to 6.1 million tons. The total amount from within Virginia rose slightly to 15.9 million tons.

Other findings of the report include:

-- Of the 22.04 million tons of solid waste reported in 2016, about 12.8 million tons were municipal solid waste, which is trash from households and businesses.

-- The total amount of municipal solid waste generated outside Virginia was about 3.5 million tons, slightly less than in 2015. Maryland, Washington, D.C., North Carolina, New York and New Jersey accounted for 98.8 percent of all waste received from out-of-state sources.

-- Of the total solid waste managed in Virginia in 2016, about 13.3 million tons were disposed of in landfills, and about 2 million tons were incinerated. The rest was managed by other means, including mulching and recycling.

The full solid waste report is available on the DEQ website at www.deq.virginia.gov.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: June 20, 2017 at 11:18 am

DEQ to hold public meeting on New River PCB study

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 3, 2017

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

RICHMOND, VA. -- The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will host a public information meeting on May 10, 2017, at 6 p.m. to share the results from a water quality study related to polychlorinated biphenyls in the New River watershed.

A "total maximum daily load" study of PCBs is wrapping up in the New River watershed. A TMDL is the maximum amount of a pollutant a water body may contain and still meet water quality standards. To restore water quality, PCBs will have to be reduced to the amount specified by the TMDL.

During several years of fish tissue collection in the watershed ranging from Wythe County to Montgomery County, DEQ has found fish tissue contaminated with elevated levels of PCBs. These PCB levels have led the Virginia Department of Health to issue fish consumption advisories.

A task force completed a source identification study and produced a report in 2004 that established the foundation for this PCB study. Since 2004, analytical methods have improved and PCBs now can be detected at very low levels. Additional water, sediment and fish tissue monitoring occurred from 2010 to 2015 to better inform this phase of the PCB study.

During the May 10 meeting, DEQ will present an overview of the New River PCB TMDL project, the modeling efforts, and future implementation strategies. This is a follow-up meeting to the information meeting held in April 2016. The public meeting will focus on the PCB sources contributing to contaminated fish tissue in the New River, Reed Creek, Claytor Lake, Peak Creek, Walker Creek and Stony Creek watersheds.

The New River watershed PCB TMDL public meeting will be held in Heth Hall, Room 22 at Radford University. Parking is available in Lots DD and EE. The address is 801 East Main St., Radford, VA 24141.

PCBs are chemicals that were used in electrical transformers and other equipment until the late 1970s and can remain in the environment for decades. 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 www.vdh.virginia.gov.

The study indicates that elevated PCBs exist during high flow events in lower Peak Creek, in the New River around Radford, in Wolf Creek above Narrows and in Walker Creek near Pearisburg. Sources of PCBs include, but are not limited to, point source dischargers, stormwater runoff from areas of known contamination, and existing contamination in river sediments.

The New River, Reed Creek, Peak Creek, Stony Creek, Walker Creek and Claytor Lake PCB impaired segments are located in Montgomery County, Pulaski County, the city of Radford, Wythe County and Giles County. Through the TMDL process, DEQ has identified PCB contributors in the New River watershed. The TMDL process uses tools like collecting empirical data, requesting stakeholder knowledge and utilizing computer watershed models.

During the public meeting, DEQ will present the draft TMDL report, which outlines sources and their relative contribution to PCB loads in the New River watershed. To attain water quality standards and restore safe fish consumption, PCB sources must be removed by employing best management practices.

The public comment period for the PCB study closes June 9, 2017.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: May 03, 2017 at 11:25 am

Virginia provides water quality approval for Army Corps of Engineers wetlands permits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2017

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

RICHMOND, VA. -- The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has provided water quality certification for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2017 Nationwide Permits.

DEQ, under the authority of the State Water Control Board, issued the final Section 401 Water Quality Certification as meeting the requirements of the Virginia Water Protection regulation. After having accepted public comment for 30 days and giving consideration to the comments received, DEQ found that there is a reasonable assurance that the activities permitted under the Corps' Nationwide Permit program, including the Norfolk District Corps' Regional Conditions, will be conducted in a manner that will not violate applicable water quality standards, provided permittees comply with all applicable Section 401 conditions.

Among the activities covered under the federal Nationwide Permit program are projects such as renewable energy generation facilities, living shorelines, aids to navigation, dredging, utility line activities, aquatic habitat restoration, and removal of low-head dams.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: April 07, 2017 at 12:37 pm