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Official DEQ news releases.

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DEQ statement on settlement of lawsuits over coal ash discharge permits

March 10, 2016

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. -- The director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, David K. Paylor, issued this statement today following the announcement that two lawsuits on the management of coal ash wastewater in Virginia have been settled:

"DEQ is pleased that Dominion has voluntarily agreed to go beyond federal and state regulatory requirements to further enhance protections for Virginia waters.

"DEQ has full confidence that its discharge permits fully protect water quality, aquatic life and human health. The permits issued for Dominion's Bremo and Possum Point power stations, like thousands of similar permits DEQ has written in the past four decades, meet strict federal and state requirements for water quality.

"The people who work at DEQ take their environmental stewardship obligations seriously, and recent accusations against DEQ's integrity are baseless. The quality of Virginia's rivers and streams has improved dramatically over the years. DEQ will continue to write and enforce permits that protect Virginia's environment in the consistent, thorough and responsible manner that Virginians deserve."

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: March 10, 2016 at 9:52 am

Marine debris summit to accelerate Virginia coastal and ocean cleanup efforts

March 2, 2016

Contact: Bill Hayden, DEQ
(804) 698-4447

Katie Register, Clean Virginia Waterways
(434) 395-2602

RICHMOND, VA. -- Marine debris is one of the most widespread pollution problems, not only in Virginia, but also in the world’s oceans and waterways, affecting wildlife, human health and safety, habitats, and economics.

More than 90 scientists, policy makers, and educators will convene March 7, 2016, for the Second Virginia Marine Debris Summit led by the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program and Clean Virginia Waterways. The summit will be held at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Waterman’s Hall, Greate Road, Gloucester Point, VA 23062.

"Marine debris is one of the most visible -- and preventable -- forms of pollution," said Katie Register, executive director of Clean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University, one of the conference organizers. "But it requires a multi-faceted effort of many organizations."

The summit will offer information about the latest science and best practices for reducing litter and debris that pollute waterways. Topics include using social marketing to influence behaviors, reducing cigarette litter and balloon releases, and the human health impacts of microplastics in the environment.

The Department of Environmental Quality is the lead agency for Virginia’s CZM Program, which is a network of state agencies and coastal localities.

"The Virginia CZM Program is naturally suited to this type of collaborative, multi-partner effort, and this summit will highlight and advance work begun through the Virginia Marine Debris Reduction Plan," said DEQ Director David K. Paylor. "That plan was completed in October 2014 and was the first of its kind on the East Coast."

Speakers include marine debris experts from DEQ, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program, The Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Program, the Chesapeake Bay Commission, and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

The summit begins at 1 p.m. on March 7 and ends at noon on March 9.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: March 02, 2016 at 2:56 pm

Virginia authorizes $8.5 million for local stormwater projects

March 2, 2016

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. -- The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has authorized $8.5 million in matching grants for local government projects to reduce stormwater pollution. The grants come from the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund, created in 2013 to encourage best management practices that improve water quality.

"These grants are a key tool in our ongoing efforts to improve water quality in Virginia," said DEQ Director David K. Paylor. "The funds will help local governments implement specific projects that result in less stormwater pollution in our rivers, streams and the Chesapeake Bay."

The grants cover 17 projects in 17 localities. The projects focus on cost-effectiveness and enhanced stormwater management plans that address required water quality improvements in the Commonwealth.

A total of 77 projects statewide were submitted to DEQ for consideration this year. The list of projects and more information on the grants is available on the DEQ website at

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: March 02, 2016 at 8:54 am

Virginia Green announces 2015 Green Travel Star and Green Travel Leader award winners

February 24, 2016

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. -- The Virginia Green program presented the Virginia Green Travel Star Award today to 21 Virginia tourism businesses for their commitments to green tourism practices at the third annual Virginia Green Travel Conference and Travel Star Awards Celebration. In addition, 21 tourism businesses were recognized and received the Virginia Green Travel Leader Award for their efforts to protect the environment and promote green tourism in Virginia.

The conference was held at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel and Conference Center and featured more than 35 presentations on green tourism efforts in Virginia. The awards were presented by Virginia First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe, with assistance from Rita McClenny, president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation.

The Virginia Green program is run through a partnership of the Department of Environmental Quality, the Virginia Tourism Corporation, the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association (formerly the Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association), and the Virginia Green Travel Alliance. The program encourages green practices in Virginia’s tourism industry, and nearly 1,700 tourism businesses and other organizations have self-certified their green commitments through the Virginia Green program.

The 2015 Virginia Green Travel Star Award winners are:

-- Green Attraction of the Year: Burnham Guides, Onancock
-- Green Brewery of the Year: Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Richmond
-- Green Brewery of the Year: Wild Wolf Brewing Co., Nellysford
-- Green Event of the Year: 2015 UCI Road World Championships, Richmond
-- Green Hotel of the Year: Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel
-- Green B & B of the Year: Oak Grove Plantation Bed & Breakfast, Cluster Springs
-- Green Cabins of the Year: Shadow Mountain Escape, Luray
-- Green Restaurant of the Year: Caffe Amouri, Vienna
-- Green Visitor Center of the Year: Virginia Beach Visitor Information Center
-- Green Winery of the Year: North Gate Vineyard, Purcellville
-- Green Supplier of the Year: Lumen Energy, Richmond
-- Green Convention Center of the Year: Virginia Beach Convention Center
-- Green Conference Center of the Year: Airlie Conference Center, Warrenton
-- Most Innovative Green Projects of the Year:
--- Green Weddings by Khimaira Farm, Luray
--- Dark Skies Initiative by Staunton River State Park, Scottsburg
--- Zero Waste Project by Xanterra Kingsmill Resort, Williamsburg
--- Composting & Urban Garden by the Hilton Downtown Richmond
--- Electric Vehicle Charging Station by Croc’s 19th Street Bistro, Virginia Beach
--- Recycling and Sustainability by Richmond International Airport
--- Pollinator Habitat Program by the Virginia Department of Transportation Welcome Centers
--- Green Procurement for the 2015 UCI Road World Championships by Echelon Event Management, Richmond

The 2015 Virginia Green Travel Leader Award winners are:

-- Adventure Kayak Tours, Chesapeake
-- Back INN Time Bed & Breakfast, Kilmarnock
-- Birdsong Pleasure Garden, Luray
-- Capital Ale House, Richmond
-- Cary St. Cafe, Richmond
-- Clay Corner Inn, Blacksburg
-- Green Leaf and Pebble Tea Spa, Virginia Beach
-- Go Green Distributors, Newport News
-- Hungry Mother State Park, Marion
-- Keep Virginia Beautiful - UCI Richmond Beautification Projects
-- Lansdowne Resort
-- Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery, Goochland
-- Mountain Song Inn, Willis
-- Oystoberfest, Richmond
-- Peabody’s "Hip Little Stay," Luray
-- Port City Brewing Co., Alexandria
-- Stonewall Jackson Inn Bed & Breakfast, Harrisonburg
-- The Westin Reston Heights
-- Virginia Aquarium Sensible Seafood Program, Virginia Beach
-- Virginia Tech Dining Services, Blacksburg
-- White Flint Farm, Keeling

Information about Virginia Green is available on the DEQ website at

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: February 24, 2016 at 3:13 pm

DEQ issues notice of violation to Dominion for mineral oil spill affecting Potomac River

February 19, 2016

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447

RICHMOND, VA. -- The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality issued a notice of violation today to Virginia Electric and Power Co. (Dominion) for a spill event occurring on January 24, 2016, at Dominion's Crystal City substation in Arlington County.

A transformer failure at the substation, located at 18th Street South and South Fern Street, released approximately 13,500 gallons of mineral oil.

After the transformer failure, DEQ received reports of an oil sheen on February 3, 2016, extending from stormwater outfall locations at Roaches Run to downstream shoreline areas along the Potomac River reaching as far south as the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. The source of the oil sheen was traced back to mineral oil released from the Crystal City substation on January 24. Dominion announced on February 12 that it is assuming the role of "responsible party" for the release and will continue to cooperate with ongoing requirements for investigation and corrective action.

DEQ's notice of violation addresses the spill event and associated natural resource damage. In addition to impacts to state waters, 29 animal and fish deaths have been discovered. The notice of violation is an initial step in ensuring that Dominion is held accountable for the situation. The State Water Control Law provides authority to require corrective action and to assess civil penalties. In addition, DEQ plans to seek cost reimbursement for spill response activities and natural resource damage.

As of February 19, oversight of the spill event has been transferred to DEQ by the unified command (Virginia DEQ, the District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment, and the U.S. Coast Guard). DEQ will continue to oversee the spill investigation and response, and it will monitor corrective action activities required of Dominion.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: February 19, 2016 at 2:01 pm