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Official DEQ news releases.

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

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

Governor McAuliffe announces Environmental Excellence Award winners

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 2017

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

RICHMOND, VA. -- Governor Terry McAuliffe has announced the winners of the 2017
Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards, which were presented this week at the Environment Virginia Symposium at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington.

The awards recognize successful and innovative projects in the categories of sustainability program, environmental project, land conservation and implementation of the Virginia Outdoors Plan. Located all around the Commonwealth and from several sectors, winners represent a variety of achievement benefitting Virginia's natural environment.

"The organizations recognized have proven their dedication to protecting Virginia's environment, and it is an honor to acknowledge their achievements," Governor McAuliffe said. "Their accomplishments can inspire others to reduce their own environmental footprint and preserve important landscapes."

The Gold Medal winners are:

-- Alexandria Renew Enterprises for its commitment to protecting public health and the environment through its Sustainability and Environmental Program, which uses innovative technologies to increase energy efficiency.
-- The Fairfax County Park Authority for the restoration and conscious management of Huntley Meadows Park Wetland, which has encouraged the return of rare species and growth in stewardship education within the community.
-- The James City County Department of Parks and Recreation for its exemplary implementation of the Virginia Outdoors Plan as demonstrated by the Freedom Park Multi-Use Trail.
-- The Piedmont Geriatric Hospital in partnership with the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation for their implementation of the Renewable Energy Program, which used locally grown warm-season grasses as a renewable feedstock to provide heat for both facilities.
-- The Town of Halifax for its exemplary implementation of the Virginia Outdoors Plan as demonstrated by the Banister River Blueway-King’s Bridge Landing Access project.
-- U.S. Army Garrison, Fort A.P. Hill, for its implementation of the Army Compatible Use Buffer Program, which protects undeveloped land surrounding Fort A.P. Hill including wetlands, streams, riparian forest buffer and open lands.

Award winners were chosen based on criteria including environmental benefit, stakeholder involvement, public outreach, transferability and innovativeness. The awards are sponsored by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. Additional information on the Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards is available on the DEQ website at www.deq.virginia.gov.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: April 06, 2017 at 1:58 pm

DEQ will require additional individual 401 certifications for natural gas transmission pipeline projects

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 2017

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

RICHMOND, VA. -- In keeping with Governor McAuliffe's commitment that the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines will be constructed in the most environmentally protective manner, the Department of Environmental Quality has notified ACP and MVP that in addition to utilizing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers nationwide permit 12 for wetland and stream crossings, DEQ will be requiring individual 401 water quality certifications for each project.

These certifications will ensure that Virginia water quality standards are maintained in all areas affected by the projects. The public will have an opportunity to review and comment on these certifications and the conditions required to protect water quality. DEQ also will hold public hearings on the draft certifications. Once the comment period has concluded the proposed final certifications will be brought before the State Water Control Board.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: April 06, 2017 at 11:00 am