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Official DEQ news releases.

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

Virginia responds to Maryland’s withdrawal of lawsuit over water discharge permit

June 16, 2016

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. – Virginia is pleased that Maryland has voluntarily withdrawn its appeal of the water discharge permit for the Dominion Virginia Power Possum Point power station.

David K. Paylor, director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, said. “We take Maryland’s action today as a recognition that the discharge permit issued by Virginia was fully protective of our valuable estuaries and is fully consistent with the laws and regulations of both states and the federal government, and that the lawsuit was groundless.

“As we move forward, Virginia will continue to issue water discharge and waste management permits that protect our waterways and groundwater resources by requiring the safe removal of water from coal ash ponds and the proper closure and monitoring of the ponds and adjacent waters. We have a long history of partnering with Maryland to protect our joint heritage and the Chesapeake Bay, and we look forward to continuing a productive partnership.

“For decades, Virginia has protected water quality in our rivers and streams through rigorous and well-established permitting procedures. We have protected and continue to protect groundwater. We are closing coal ash ponds according to strict legal and regulatory requirements, and we are dedicated to protecting people’s health and the environment.”

From: Jennifer Underwood

Sent: June 16, 2016 at 4:32 pm

Enforcement order imposes penalty and further corrective action at Atlantic Waste Disposal landfill in Waverly

June 15, 2016

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. -- The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is proposing a consent order, signed by Atlantic Waste Disposal Inc. on June 8, 2016, for the Atlantic Waste landfill in Waverly in Sussex County for ongoing noncompliance with the Virginia Waste Management Act.

The order contains a $99,000 civil penalty, as well as a schedule of required actions to bring the landfill back into compliance, including operational practices, limitation on waste intake, active monitoring of landfill mass temperature, and removal of leachate and contaminated stormwater from unlined areas of the landfill. The order is open for public comment through July 15, 2016.

The consent order replaces an emergency order issued by DEQ on February 5, 2016, for immediate action to address landfill odor, slope stability and increased leachate production. Under the emergency order, Atlantic Waste has spent approximately $15.8 million toward bringing the facility back into compliance.

The current consent order addresses long-term corrective action of conditions at the Atlantic Waste landfill resulting from heat reactions within the waste mass. The order also is a continuation of work under the emergency order addressing odor, slope stability and leachate.

DEQ continues to monitor the Atlantic Waste landfill to ensure compliance with the Waste Management Act, as well as with the terms of the consent order. DEQ also is investigating leachate impacts to wetlands adjacent to the facility, potentially resulting in further DEQ enforcement action.

Having a statewide presence with enforcement staff in six regional offices, DEQ's enforcement mission is based on ensuring compliance with Virginia's environmental laws and regulations to protect public health and the environment.

The order is available on the DEQ website at

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: June 15, 2016 at 1:18 pm

Public meeting scheduled on removal of coal ash wastewater from Clinch River power plant

April 12, 2016

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. -- The Department of Environmental Quality will host an informational briefing on the proposed reissuance of an environmental permit for the Appalachian Power Co. Clinch River plant near Carbo in Russell County. The meeting will be held at the Russell County Public Library, 248 West Main St., Lebanon, VA, on Wednesday, April 20, 2016, from 7 to 9 p.m.

The meeting will provide information on the proposed reissuance of the water permit that regulates the discharge of industrial wastewater, sanitary wastewater and stormwater runoff from the facility. The proposed permit also will address wastewater discharges that result from the closure of coal ash management ponds. The closure of these ponds was necessitated by the recent conversion of the plant to use natural gas as a fuel, and by final coal ash regulations that were approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2015. The proposed permit covers the removal of treated water from the ponds to ensure that the water quality and aquatic resources of the river are protected.

This meeting is not part of the required public participation process for any water or solid waste permitting actions associated with the closure. The meeting is intended to supplement those processes and to allow the public an opportunity to ask DEQ questions during the official public comment period. Also, please note that because this meeting is not part of the official permitting process, comments made during this informational meeting will not be part of the official public comment record on any of the required permit actions.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: April 12, 2016 at 9:24 am

DEQ to hold public information meeting on New River PCB study

April 5, 2016

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. -- The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will host a public information meeting April 5, 2016, from 6 to 8 p.m. to share information about a water quality study related to polychlorinated biphenyls in the New River watershed. The meeting is in the Muse Hall Banquet Room at Radford University, 801 E. Main Street, Radford, VA 24141.

A "total maximum daily load" study of PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, is kicking off 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 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.

During the meeting, DEQ, the Virginia Department of Health, and DEQ's contractor, Biological Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech, will have displays and staff available on numerous PCB-related topics. The 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. People or organizations interested in serving on the technical advisory committee will be asked to sign up expressing their interest. Acceptance to be on the committee is at the sole discretion of DEQ.

The public comment period on the study closes May 3, 2016.

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 web site at

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: April 05, 2016 at 11:16 am

Virginia issues report on chemical releases for 2014

March 29, 2016

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. -- Virginia industries reported 917 million pounds of chemicals managed on-site, transferred off-site or released to the environment in 2014, a 5.6 percent increase from the previous year, according to the latest Toxics Release Inventory produced by the Department of Environmental Quality.

The overall increase is due to larger amounts of chemicals being managed on-site, such as through treatment or recycling. In addition, the report shows decreases in chemical releases to the environment -- the air, water and land.

"The long-term trend in releases of toxic chemicals to the environment continues to decline," DEQ Director David K. Paylor said, "and that is good news for all Virginians. Chemical releases in Virginia are managed under environmental permits, which ensure that people and the environment are protected."

DEQ compiles information on a wide range of toxic chemicals released by facilities that are required to submit reports each year. The 2014 report, which contains the most recent information available, includes these findings:

-- 35.2 million pounds of chemicals were released on-site to the air, water and land.
-- 66.9 million pounds of chemicals were transferred off-site for treatment, recycling, energy recovery or disposal.
-- 814 million pounds of chemicals were managed on-site by treatment, recycling or energy recovery.

The report also includes data about releases of a group of chemicals known as persistent bio-accumulative toxics. These chemicals remain in the environment for long periods of time and can build up in body tissue. On-site releases of these chemicals totaled 640,800 pounds in 2014.

DEQ uses the TRI data to identify facilities for projects to reduce pollution at the source. The Virginia Environmental Excellence Program at DEQ 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 2014 TRI is available on the DEQ website at Information on releases from 2015 is due to DEQ this summer and will be available to the public in early 2017.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: March 29, 2016 at 12:53 pm