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Featured Programs Archive

DEQ Issues Virginia Report on Chemical Releases for 2016
March 2018

Over the last decade chemicals released to the environment have decreased according to the latest Toxic Release Inventory. The report indicates 909.07 million pounds of chemicals were managed on-site, transferred off-site or released to the environment by Virginia industries. Each year, under the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act, DEQ compiles information on dozens of chemicals released by facilities in Virginia. Chemical releases are managed under a wide variety of environmental permits, which ensure that people and the environment are protected. Compared to 2015, this year’s data represents an increase of 5.8 percent but the overall trend is downward. Between 2003 and 2016, the amount of chemicals released has decreased by 44.7 percent. “This downward trend reflects the growing commitment to eliminate or reduce waste at the source of generation,” according to DEQ Director, David K. Paylor. “Virginia continues to grow, yet the trend is positive as all sectors of Virginia's government, businesses, industries and citizens adopt pollution prevention as an everyday approach. Read more.

DEQ Approves Erosion & Sediment, Stormwater, and Karst Plans for MVP to Protect Water Quality
March 2018

Detailed site plans which specify engineering designs for erosion & sediment and stormwater management for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) have been approved. These plans along with the karst protection plan will minimize impacts to water quality in all areas of the project, including karst terrain, during and after construction of the pipeline project. Approval of these plans authorizes MVP to begin land disturbing activities in Virginia consistent with these plans. No changes to the plans are permitted without obtaining prior approval from DEQ. The basis for the design specifications for the plans are contained in Virginia’s erosion and sediment control and stormwater management regulations.  The plans have been thoroughly reviewed by DEQ and a third party consultant. DEQ’s enhanced plan review, along with its new stop-work authority, gives the agency a variety of tools to ensure developers comply with Virginia’s rigorous regulatory requirements. For more information, see [more].

DEQ Takes Enforcement Action Against Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC 
March 2018

DEQ issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC (ACP) on March 16, 2018 for failing to maintain adequate limits of disturbance during tree felling operations in violation of Virginia’s State Water Control Law.  These limits forbid work within buffer zones to protect stream and wetland crossings during pipeline development, and are instrumental to the protection of Virginia’s environment and natural resources. The NOV identifies violations on 15 separate sites resulting in an estimated 0.84 acres in impact to wetlands and streams. 

“DEQ is watching pipeline activities closely and expects full compliance with all conditions,” said David K. Paylor, Director. “We will not hesitate to initiate enforcement actions like this to make sure the project complies with good environmental standards.”  See news releases.

ACP/MVP Methodology
February 2018

DEQ has received technical documents detailing Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) proposed compliance methodology for meeting Virginia’s post construction water quality and quantity requirements. The methodology was subjected to a thorough review and describes proposed engineering methods that will be used before drafting detailed site plans for stormwater management.

DEQ continues to scrutinize site-specific erosion and sediment control plans that the agency has required for every foot of land disturbance related to construction. Construction cannot begin until these plans are approved. Once approved, the requirements contained in Virginia’s Erosion and Sediment Control and Stormwater Management regulations will manage runoff during and after construction to protect water quality.

The agency will also implement a comprehensive program to monitor construction of both pipelines to ensure compliance and take strong enforcement action if violations occur. See news releases.

DEQ to submit report on approved MVP erosion & sediment and stormwater control plans
February 2018

Prior to construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, DEQ will submit a report to the State Water Control Board (Board) on DEQ’s approval of the final erosion and sediment control and stormwater plans, the annual standards and specifications, and the Supplemental Karst Evaluation Plan. “Because of the depth of citizen concerns and to assure transparency, we plan to follow the same notification procedures for MVP as required for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline,” said Director David Paylor. “DEQ will provide a report to the Board and the public as soon as they are finalized and approved.” Last month at its deliberations of the upland Section 401 water quality certification for Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the Board required DEQ to report on the adequacy of these plans. These programs—erosion and sediment control, stormwater management and upland certification give DEQ a variety of regulatory tools to protect water quality across the range of pipeline activities, not just temporary construction impacts to streams and wetlands. “DEQ will hold the developers to the highest standards for which they are accountable and take appropriate action for any problems that occur,” Paylor said. Read more about the pipelines.

Groundwater Permits Protect Water Supplies
January 2018

Since 1992, DEQ has reviewed requests to withdraw large quantities of groundwater in the coastal plain. Groundwater withdrawal permits are issued to industry, municipal water supplies, agriculture, and large residential developments that use more than 300,000 gallons of groundwater in any month. Over pumping of the aquifer has led to significant groundwater declines, measured land subsidence, and increasing saltwater intrusion. However, through innovative programs such as the Virginia Coastal Plain Groundwater Initiative, DEQ assisted major permittees in reducing their total permitted withdrawal limits by as much as 52 percent, which ensures adequate supplies into the future for every user.

Water Quality Certification for ACP
December 2017

Section 401 Water Quality certification for upland conditions was issued to Atlantic Coast Pipeline on December 20, 2017. The State Water Control Board included a delayed effective date based on submission and approval of certain information: ”This certification shall be effective only following submission, review and final approval as required by law of the Karst Mitigation Plan, Annual Standards and Specifications, and Erosion and Sediment Control Plans and Stormwater Management Plans, and a report to the board and the public by DEQ on the adequacy of these materials." This certification is part of the most rigorous regulatory process to which a proposed pipeline ever has been subjected in Virginia. DEQ’s staff has been diligent, and will continue to be diligent, to ensure that all appropriate practices are in place to meet all water quality challenges identified. DEQ has worked, and will continue to work, to make sure it has met all the requirements of state and federal law for which it is responsible. If this project proceeds, DEQ will hold the developers to the highest standards for which they are accountable.

DEQ central office moving to new Main Street location in downtown Richmond
December 2017

The DEQ central office has begun moving its downtown Richmond operations to a new Main Street location. The move will be completed December 22, 2017. Between now and then, the DEQ street address will remain unchanged. On December 23, 2017, the street address will change to 1111 East Main St., Richmond, VA 23219. The post office box mailing address will not change, and DEQ phone numbers will remain the same. During the move period, visitors should report to 629 East Main Street for information on meeting with DEQ staff. Read more about the office relocation.

DEQ statement on SWCB’s Mountain Valley Pipeline Decision
December 2017

On December 7, 2017, the State Water Control Board approved certification covering upland areas for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) on a 5-2 vote . The certification includes additional conditions required in  upland areas to protect water quality in proposed MVP route. This certification is part of the most rigorous regulatory process to which a proposed pipeline ever has been subjected in Virginia. DEQ technical staff has been diligent to ensure that all appropriate practices are in place to meet all water quality challenges identified.  DEQ has worked closely with our attorneys to make sure that we have met all the requirements of state and federal law for which DEQ is responsible. If the MVP project proceeds, we will hold the developers to the highest standards for which they are accountable.

For more information:

Virginia recycling rate increases to 42.6 percent in 2016
November 2017

The annual recycling rate throughout the Commonwealth reached 42.6 percent in 2016, up from 41.5 percent in 2012. A statewide report is issued every four years. Regions where recycling was highest include central Virginia/Richmond (58.9 percent), northern Virginia and northern Shenandoah (each with 45.9 percent), and Fredericksburg (44.5 percent). Read more about recycling in Virginia.

Drought watch declared for several Virginia regions
October 2017

In response to existing conditions and to increase public awareness of the potential for a significant drought event in Virginia, DEQ has issued a drought watch advisory for the Middle James, Roanoke River and Shenandoah drought evaluation regions. A drought watch advisory is intended to increase awareness of conditions that are likely to precede a significant drought event and to facilitate preparation for a drought. Read more about drought conditions in Virginia.

State Water Control Board meeting dates announced
October 2017

The State Water Control Board plans to hold two meetings in December to consider additional Section 401 water quality certification conditions for the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines.  Each meeting is scheduled to last about two days. On the first day of each meeting, those who made oral or written comments during the public comment period will have an opportunity to sign up to speak to the board under the board’s policy for public participation. The official agenda containing more details will be available in early November. For additional details, see News Release.

Applications being accepted for Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards
September 2017

Applications for the 2018 Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards are now being accepted. The application period will end at 5 p.m. on November 9, 2017. For 2018, there are four categories of awards: sustainability, environmental project, land conservation and implementation of the Virginia Outdoors Plan. Winners will be announced at the 27th Annual Environmental Virginia Symposium at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington. Read more about pollution prevention efforts in Virginia and the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program.

Virginia observes SepticSmart Week
September 2017

Each year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency holds SepticSmart Week with outreach activities to encourage homeowners and communities to care for and maintain their septic systems. Governor McAuliffe has proclaimed September 18-22 to be SepticSmart Week throughout Virginia. Proper septic system use and routine care are vital to protecting public health, preserving our groundwater, lakes, streams and waterways, and avoiding costly repairs that can result from neglect. Septic systems treat wastewater from homes and businesses. Read more information about septic maintenance.

Public review period extended for MVP erosion and sediment, stormwater plans
September 2017

DEQ has extended the public review period for the erosion and sediment control plans and stormwater management plans for the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline. The public input period now closes on October 22, 2017, for MVP plans only. More information is available on the DEQ’s erosion and sediment control for natural gas pipelines web page.

Campaign launched to reduce marine debris
August 2017

The Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program and Clean Virginia Waterways designed and launched the new social media marketing campaign to promote litter-free wedding send-off ideas to reduce marine debris. The campaign was informed by the Virginia Balloon Litter Study, and received funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Coastal Management and Marine Debris Program. The “Joyful Send-off” campaign includes a website, Facebook page, Instagram and Pinterest accounts.

Deadline for proposed 401 water certifications closed on August 22
August 2017

The public comment period for both the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines closed on August 22, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. All oral comments heard at public hearings or written comments received by the deadline will be reviewed and considered by DEQ. When DEQ has completed its review and prepared a summary of the comments, the agency will prepare draft responses to the comments and recommendations for the State Water Control Board's consideration at a meeting this fall. For more information, see DEQ's News Releases and Water Protection Requirements for Pipelines

Location change announced for one Atlantic Coast Pipeline public hearing
August 2017

The location for the August 14, 2017, public hearing on the proposed water quality certification for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline has changed from Dinwiddie High School. The hearing will be held at the Southside Virginia Community College, Center for Workforce Development, Christanna Campus, 109 Campus Drive, Alberta, VA 23821. The hearing will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. More information is available on the DEQ natural gas pipelines web page, including two new factsheets, How to make comments and Environmental regulatory tools.

 Detailed information available on site-specific pipeline plans
July 2017

Site-specific Erosion & Sediment Control (ESC) and Stormwater Management (SWM) plans for the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines are now available on DEQ's website for public review. View more information about these plans. The plans will address every foot of land disturbance related to pipeline construction, including access road and construction staging areas. DEQ is reviewing these plans to ensure they meet the design requirements contained in Virginia's ESC and SWM regulations. Additional information also is available on the entire process DEQ will use to evaluate the pipeline proposals.

Citizen water quality monitoring plays an important role in Virginia
July 2017

The Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Program at DEQ is one of the agency’s most visible success stories. There is no limit to what interested citizens can do to help protect and restore our rivers, streams and lakes. Be a water quality monitor; participate in stream cleanups and stream bank restoration; or help educate yourself and neighbors. Information is available on the DEQ website on: the recently issued citizen monitoring grant request for proposals, the informative citizen monitoring story map and the citizen monitoring program fact sheet.

DEQ to hold public hearings, comment period on proposed pipelines
June 2017

DEQ 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. Read more about the environmental activities for the proposed pipelines, and sign up for a news feed from DEQ to receive information as developments occur.

DEQ lifts Northern Virginia drought watch
June 2017

DEQ 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. The reasons for the change include higher-than-normal rainfall and an increase in groundwater flow. Read more about Virginia’s drought status.

CCR surface impoundments closing assessments
June 2017

Senate Bill 1398, adopted by the 2017 General Assembly, requires every owner or operator of coal combustion residual (CCR) surface impoundments located in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed to conduct an assessment regarding the closure of the unit.  These assessments are to be provided no later than December 1, 2017. The bill also requires that DEQ suspend, delay or defer the issuance of solid waste permits regarding the closure of these surface impoundments until at least May 1, 2018. Read more coal ash information.

Virginia Statewide Land Cover Database completed
March 2017

DEQ, in partnership with the Virginia Information Technologies Agency, completed the Virginia Statewide Land Cover Database, a 1-meter resolution classification of 2013-2015 imagery of the Commonwealth. Before development and release of the database, the latest available statewide land cover data in Virginia were from the 2011 National Land Cover Database, released at 30-meter resolution. The increased level of detail represented by the high resolution Virginia database significantly improves the Commonwealth’s capabilities for geographic analysis, management, and monitoring applications in biology, climate, disease analysis, land management, hydrology, and environmental planning, among other applications.

New regulations help prevent mercury pollution and protect worker health
March 2017

New regulations recently took effect in Virginia that address the requirements for crushing mercury-containing lamps, a type of “universal waste.” The regulations are intended to reduce the release of mercury into the environment and to protect the health of workers who crush the lamps for disposal. All handlers of mercury-containing lamps that have a crushing operation at their facility, regardless of size, must notify DEQ within 30 days of commencing the crushing operation. New facilities must comply with the requirements once crushing operation is to begin. Facilities with existing crushing operations must demonstrate compliance with the new requirements by April 1, 2017. DEQ has developed guidance on this type of operation, and a list of frequently asked questions also is available on the DEQ website.

Latest Bay Barometer shows significant improvements for Chesapeake Bay
February 2017

The Chesapeake Bay Program has released its annual report on the environmental health and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Working across political and geographic boundaries, the partnership has reached—and in some cases, surpassed—the halfway mark toward half a dozen of the commitments built into the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. The indicators of environmental health, restoration and stewardship summarized in the Bay Barometer reveal a resilient Chesapeake Bay. Read more about the findings in the Bay Barometer or Virginia’s work in Bay restoration.

Proposed settlement provides $50 million to compensate for Waynesboro mercury release
January 2017

The Commonwealth and the U.S. departments of Justice and Interior have announced a proposed settlement to resolve natural resource damage claims stemming from the release of mercury from the former Du Pont facility in Waynesboro that affected the South River and the South Fork Shenandoah River. The settlement is valued at about $50 million. In addition to a cash payment of just more than $42 million, Du Pont will fund the design and implementation of significant renovations at the Front Royal Fish Hatchery, estimated to cost up to $10 million. The settlement terms are outlined in a proposed consent decree filed in federal court in Harrisonburg. Read more about the natural resources damage assessment.

DEQ receives $750,000 wetlands grant
January 2017

DEQ has received a $750,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant to focus on development of strategies and to extend outreach to improve understanding and protection of high ecological value aquatic resources such as headwater resources and wetlands that may provide added value in improving impaired waters in the Commonwealth. With the help of this grant, Virginia is making significant progress in the development of a comprehensive nontidal wetland regulatory program; refinement of DEQ’s permitting/compliance database to track impacts, compliance and compensation by watershed; and continued refinement of wetland monitoring and assessment tools for use in management decision-making and integration within DEQ water quality programs. Grant activities will specifically address three of the priority elements in Virginia’s EPA-approved state wetlands plan. One of the beneficiaries of the grant is the Virginia Wetlands Condition Assessment Tool (WetCAT – Chrome and Firefox browsers only). Read more about Virginia’s monitoring and assessment strategy

Virginia responds to draft EIS for proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline
January 2016

Virginia has submitted its response to the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline. The main comments submitted by the Commonwealth to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission were that a supplemental draft EIS is needed to address adequate analysis of newly submitted route changes, and a comprehensive forest mitigation plan addressing direct and indirect forest loss is needed. Read Virginia’s response and more information about the proposed pipeline.

Achieving success in improving water quality in Virginia
December 2016

Restoring or improving water quality in Virginia’s rivers and streams is one of DEQ’s top priorities. This is accomplished through water quality monitoring, assessments of the water quality data to identify impaired waters, and a number of regulatory and non-regulatory, incentive-based approaches to restore water quality. Success occurs when impaired waters have been restored or exhibit great improvements because of the implementation of pollution controls. Dozens of success stories that demonstrate a long-term commitment to partnerships among local, state, federal and private stakeholders in Virginia. View an interactive map of success stories for details.

Southeast Virginia native plants guide now available
December 2016

The latest in a series of booklets about native plants in different parts of Virginia is now available. “Native Plants for Southeast Virginia including Hampton Roads Region,” produced by the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program at DEQ with expertise from a regional team, can be found on the DEQ website, or copies are available for mailing on a limited basis. Read more about the native plant guides.

Brownfields in Virginia receive renewed attention
November 2016

DEQ continues to play a vital role in helping communities make better use of formerly used land that may be contaminated through its Brownfields/Land Renewal Program. DEQ recently gave a presentation at the Newport News Revitalization Forum, part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Making a Visible Difference” initiative. Newport News and Norfolk have been selected as part of this initiative. These forums focus on providing better support to communities, especially in environmentally overburdened, underserved and economically distressed areas where the needs are greatest. View a map of brownfields success stories.

Virginia’s most populated areas achieve 44.2% recycling rate
October 2016

Local and regional efforts to recycle, where population exceeds 100,000, reached 44.2 percent in the Commonwealth in 2015. DEQ’s latest recycling rate report shows that 113 cities, counties and towns submitted reports. Other areas of Virginia, where the population is below 100,000, are required to submit recycling reports every four years and were not included in the 2015 report. Read more about recycling in Virginia

DEQ monitoring algae in Shenandoah River
October 2016

DEQ will begin monitoring this summer to evaluate seven segments, totaling 25 river miles, for algae in the Shenandoah River. This action follows citizen concerns raised about algae growth affecting recreation use in the Shenandoah. Details in the recently approved 2014 Integrated Water Quality Assessment Report indicate that algae have an observed effect in the designated stream segments, but there are insufficient data to determine whether the recreation use was affected. More information is available on the Shenandoah River algae web page and the draft Shenandoah River monitoring plan.

Virginia water supplies may be affected by low August rainfall
September 2016

Rainfall amounts during August 2016 were well below normal across most of Virginia, causing the past month to rank as one of the driest on record at many observing stations. However, relatively wet conditions and above-normal groundwater levels early in the summer mitigated the effect of low August rainfall in many areas. Read more about the status of Virginia’s water supplies.

DEQ highlights septic maintenance programs during SepticSmart week
September 2016

SepticSmart Week, which is Sept. 19-23 this year, includes outreach activities to encourage homeowners and communities to care for and maintain their septic systems. DEQ provides a variety of funding sources to support residential septic maintenance, repair and installation.  These DEQ programs include the Clean Water Financing and Assistance Program, implementation of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, and the Watershed Program. Learn more about SepticSmart Week.

DEQ issues 6 Hampton Roads MS4 permits
July 2016

Individual municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permits for six localities--Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach have been issued and are effective July 1, 2016. Reissuance of these 10 permits has been a top priority for the agency.  DEQ worked closely with U.S. EPA Region 3 and the local governments to accomplish this significant task. The approved permits establish measurable program requirements to control the discharge of pollutants in stormwater to the maximum extent practicable and are an important milestone towards achieving the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).  These permits are the first to include reduction requirements associated with the Chesapeake Bay TMDL. To demonstrate compliance with the Bay TMDL, permittees are required to submit plans to demonstrate phased reductions of nutrients and sediment over three permit terms. Read more on the Chesapeake Bay TMDL.

Water supplies looking good across Commonwealth
July 2016

The most recent evaluation by the Drought Monitoring Task Force shows that precipitation during May and June was normal to above normal in Virginia. Since October 1, 2015, precipitation totals have been greater than normal for 11 of the 13 drought evaluation regions, with the remaining two regions (Northern Virginia and Northern Piedmont) nearly normal. Stream flow and groundwater level indicator stations are continuing to report normal to above normal conditions. Read the latest drought report.

DEQ seeks comment on draft water quality guidance manual
July 2016

DEQ is modifying the procedures used for defining and determining impaired waters and is providing for public comment on the procedures. The public is invited to submit written comments through July 27, 2016. The 2016 draft manual contains the assessment procedures and methods to be used for the development of Virginia’s next combined Water Quality Assessment and Impaired Waters Report. Read more about the draft guidance.

DEQ employee receives Governor's Agency Star Award for public service
June 2016

Gary Flory is the 2016 recipient of the Governor’s Agency Star Award for public service. The award was presented May 12, 2016, by Governor Terry McAuliffe at the Executive Mansion. A 24-year employee with DEQ, Gary is the agricultural and stormwater programs manager for the agency’s Valley Regional Office in Harrisonburg. Recognized as a national and international expert in the area of environmental response to animal disease and agro terrorism, he regularly dedicates his time to writing and lecturing on solutions and awareness of these difficult issues. Gary has a long list of published articles and has given presentations to statewide, national and international audiences. Read more about the Governor’s awards.

Chesapeake Bay grasses show strong increase for 2015
May 2016

Underwater grasses in the Chesapeake Bay rose 21 percent from 2014 to 2015, bringing them to the highest total of the last three decades. The total of 91,621 acres is the highest amount ever recorded by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science aerial survey and surpasses the Bay partnership’s 2017 restoration target two years ahead of schedule. More information on the Bay’s submerged vegetation.

Groundwater management aims to protect coastal aquifer
March 2016

By current estimates, more than 30% of Virginians depend upon groundwater for their domestic supply. Protecting our groundwater resources is a growing concern and one of DEQ’s long-range priorities. DEQ has established Groundwater Management Areas (GWMAs) to manage and protect critical water resources along the Coastal Plain (areas East of I-95); the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee (EVGMAC) has been established by the General Assembly to review alternatives, funding, and other ways to better manage our groundwater resources. Read more

DEQ authorizes $8.5 million for local stormwater projects
March 2016

DEQ 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. 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. Read more about the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund.

Federal nonpoint source grant funds available
January 2016

DEQ is making approximately $2 million in federal Section 319(h) grant funding available to establish “total maximum daily load” implementation projects that could start between July 1, 2016, and October 1, 2017, as resources become available. Funding is available for three categories of projects: start-up projects, new implementation projects and continuing implementation projects. A webinar will be held January 27, 2016. Learn more about nonpoint source funding, or register for the webinar.

Virginia Nonpoint Source Water Quality Improvement Fund seeks requests
December 2015

DEQ is seeking requests for financial assistance through the Water Quality Improvement Fund (WQIF).  About $2.5 million in matching grant funds will be available, statewide, for projects that reduce nonpoint source (NPS) pollution from stormwater runoff, failing onsite sewage disposal systems, abandoned or orphaned mine lands, or other non-agricultural sources of NPS pollution. Deadline for applications is February 16, 2016.  For questions contact Read more about the WQIF NPS Request for Assistance.

DEQ seeks applications for Stormwater Local Assistance Fund
December 2015

DEQ is seeking applications for financial assistance through the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund.  DEQ will have about $8 million in matching grant funds for distribution. Applications are being solicited for projects including: new stormwater best management practices, stormwater best management practice retrofits, stream restoration, low-impact development projects, buffer restorations, pond retrofits and wetlands restoration. Eligible recipients are local governments. Read more about the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund.

DEQ issues air monitoring data report   
December 2015

DEQ has issued the 2014 Ambient Air Monitoring Data Report, which is a compilation of air pollutant measurements taken across Virginia. The report shows that concentrations of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide for the hourly and annual standards, sulfur dioxide and PM10 were within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s national ambient air quality standards. Read more about air quality in Virginia.

Drought watch lifted for Roanoke River Basin
November 2015

DEQ has lifted the “drought watch” advisory for the Roanoke River basin that was issued in September 2015. The affected localities and public water suppliers include Patrick, Franklin, Roanoke, Henry, Bedford, Pittsylvania, Campbell, Halifax, Charlotte and Mecklenburg counties and the cities of Danville, Martinsville, Roanoke and Salem. Above-normal rainfall in the past 60 days contributed to the lifting of the advisory. Read more about Virginia’s drought status.

Virginia sets listening sessions on Clean Power Plan
September 2015

Virginia is holding six listening sessions around the state on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Clean Power Plan. The public comment period on the plan runs through October 13, 2015. The plan has been established to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants that generate electricity from fossil fuels. Before taking any formal action, DEQ is seeking input from the public on the best way to implement the emission guidelines for existing power plants. More information on Virginia's actions.

Proposed consent order addresses Honeywell violations  
September 2015

DEQ is proposing a consent order that addresses violations of water discharge permit conditions at Honeywell’s Hopewell manufacturing facility. The public will be able to comment on the proposed order through September 23, 2015. The order addresses violations for water quality monitoring and reporting, and releases of chemicals and other materials used by Honeywell. The proposed order includes a $300,000 penalty and requires Honeywell to inspect, repair or replace process sewers at the facility that, due to their deteriorated condition, allowed the release of wastewater into the James River. Read the consent order or news release.

Virginia holds informal comment period on Clean Power Plan
August 2015

DEQ is holding an informal public comment period on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Clean Power Plan. The comment period will be August 13 through October 13, 2015. The plan has been established to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants that generate electricity from fossil fuels. Before taking any formal action, DEQ is seeking input from the public on the best way to implement the emission guidelines for existing power plants. More information on Virginia's actions.

Chesapeake Executive Council reinforces Bay goals
July 2015

The Chesapeake Executive Council, chaired by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, held its annual meeting July 23, 2015, to set goals and guidance for the partnership. During their afternoon press event, council members announced the release of 25 management strategies outlining the Chesapeake Bay Program's plans for achieving the goals and outcomes of the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, advancing the restoration, conservation and protection of the Bay, its tributaries and the surrounding lands. Read more about Virginia's role in the Bay program.

Governor announces Environmental Excellence Awards

April 2015

Governor Terry McAuliffe has announced the winners of the 2015 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards, which were presented today at the Environment Virginia Symposium at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington. The awards recognize significant environmental contributions in three categories: sustainability, environmental project and land conservation. They are given to businesses and industrial facilities, not-for-profit organizations, and government agencies. See more information on the awards.

Federal agencies recognize Va. nutrient trading program

December 2014

U.S. officials have joined Governor Terry McAuliffe in recognizing Virginia’s nutrient trading program as an innovative, market-based approach that helps improve water quality  in the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers. At a gathering December 16, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture and the White House Council on Environmental Quality highlighted the Virginia program as “a win for the environment and our economy” that can be used as a model for similar programs across the country. More on Virginia’s nutrient trading program.

Governor McAuliffe signs executive order protecting Va.’s coastal resources

December 2, 2014 

Governor Terry McAuliffe signed an executive order that continues the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program, a network of state agencies and local governments designed to protect Virginia’s coastal regions. “From protecting the wildlife and fisheries of the Chesapeake Bay to meeting the threat of sea level rise, Virginia has a responsibility to protect our coastal areas and the vital natural and economic resources they offer,” Governor McAuliffe said. DEQ is the lead agency for the program, which the governor called “a critical framework” for the Commonwealth’s stewardship of these resources. Read more about the Virginia CZM.

November is Virginia Oyster Month

November 7, 2014

Governor Terry McAuliffe has announced that November is “Virginia Oyster Month,” in recognition of the value of Virginia oysters to the economy and the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Among the participants in restoration efforts is the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program, which began providing funds in 1999 to promote oysters through the Virginia Oyster Heritage Program. This public-private partnership leveraged additional funds and led to the construction of more than 80 sanctuary reefs and 1,000 acres of harvest area in the Commonwealth’s coastal waters. More information on Virginia oysters

$1.5 million available for water quality improvement projects

October 9, 2014

DEQ is making approximately $1.5 million in federal grant funding available to support Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) implementation projects that will result in advancement of goals and milestones provided in eligible TMDL implementation plans. Local governments (including counties, cities and towns), county health departments, soil and water conservation districts, planning district commissions, regional commissions, Virginia institutes of higher education, and Virginia state agencies are eligible to apply. Applications are due by November 17, 2014. More information on the TMDL grants.

DEQ continues partnership with 2 universities, EPA

September 10, 2014

In a continuing effort to enhance environmental research and teaching, DEQ has signed a renewed agreement with Hampton University, Norfolk State University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The agreement includes goals that promote an increase in the number of minorities with careers in environmental fields, as well as a greater understanding of the causes and effects of air pollution. Under the EPA project called Linking Environmental and Academic Programs, which the agreement continues, DEQ provides internships to university students to learn about air quality and environmental science. Read the agreement.

Agencies agree on reviewing potential permits for natural gas and oil drilling

August 12, 2014

DEQ and the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy have signed an agreement on the coordinated review of the environmental impacts of potential permits for oil or gas drilling in the Coastal Plain that includes Tidewater, Virginia. The agencies have committed to ensuring a transparent process that includes a thorough environmental impact review and addresses all public comments. The agreement will help the agencies and the public focus on the distinctiveness and complexity of the Coastal Plain aquifer system, including the Potomac Aquifer, which supplies water for about half of Virginia’s population for drinking, agricultural use and industrial use. 

Environment Virginia Symposium opens call for presentations

August 5, 2014

Virginia Military Institute’s Center for Leadership and Ethics has announced a call for presentations for the 26th annual Environment Virginia Symposium. Abstracts will be accepted online August 5 through October 3, 2014. Submissions are invited from business, government, academia and non-profit organizations. Graduate and undergraduate students also are invited to submit for this sole call for the 2015 symposium. More information on the call for presentations.

New Chesapeake Bay agreement focuses on results

July 16, 2014

The newly signed Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement recommits Virginia and its Bay Program partners to restoring, conserving and protecting the Bay, its tributaries and the lands around them. “Our efforts going forward are crucial for bringing the Bay back to health,” DEQ Director David K. Paylor said. “This is the time to build on the successes we have seen in the past several years.” In encouraging a forward-looking approach to conservation, the agreement focuses on immediate results and recognizes that long-term efforts must be sustained. It contains 10 goals that are linked to specific outcomes, or measurable targets that will contribute to achievement of Bay restoration. See more information on the 2014 Bay agreement.

Virginia achieving most Bay TMDL milestones

July 9, 2014

The EPA evaluation of progress toward meeting 2012-2013 Chesapeake Bay TMDL shows Virginia has achieved most of its numeric milestones. Virginia met the targets, in part, because of greater than expected wastewater reductions.  To stay on track to meet the 2017 commitment of having practices in place to achieve 60 percent of reductions necessary for nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment, additional efforts will be needed in Agriculture, Urban/Suburban Stormwater and Septic sectors.  More information

Localities administering stormwater management programs

June 26, 2014 

Effective July 1, 2014 many localities in Virginia are administering the Virginia’s Stormwater Management Program (VSMP).  Stormwater Construction VPDES General Permit registration statements are now to be sent to the VSMP Authority (locality) where the land disturbing activities occurs. See the list of VSMP authorities and map for details. If your land disturbing activity is not within a locality that is a VSMP Authority, registration statements must be sent to DEQ for Stormwater Construction General Permit coverage.

Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration for Dan River

June 9, 2014

To restore fish and wildlife resources affected by the Feb. 2, 2014, Dan River coal ash spill, several state and federal agencies have initiated a Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration plan cooperatively with Duke Energy, the party responsible for the spill. The government participants—Virginia DEQ, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources—have been an integral part of the response to the coal ash spill. The participants are continuing their work by conducting the assessment and restoration to evaluate the impact of the spill on natural resources and ultimately to restore the affected resources. More on the Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration.

Stormwater construction permitting questions

May 27, 2014

DEQ provides information on applying for construction general permit coverage of land-disturbing activities under the stormwater program. Details are available at:

2014 General Permit Forms and Fees

Air Quality Awareness Week
May 2014

It’s that time of year again, when Virginians are on the lookout for poor air quality resulting from ozone pollution. Fortunately, air quality has shown steady improvements in the last 20 years, and ozone is less of a concern than it used to be. In fact, 2013 was the best year on record for air quality. Sign up for daily air quality alerts, and learn more about ozone forecasts and steps all Virginians can take to help keep our air clean.

Russ Baxter named Erchul Leadership Award Winner
April 21, 2014 

Russ Baxter, deputy secretary of natural resources for the Chesapeake Bay and former Chesapeake Bay coordinator at DEQ, is the 2014 recipient of the Erchul Environmental Leadership Award. The award was presented at the Environment Virginia Symposium at VMI in Lexington. This award recognizes a Virginian who has made significant individual efforts to improve the environment. More on the Erchul award.

Governor McAuliffe to address Environment Virginia Symposium
April 7, 2014

Governor Terry McAuliffe is scheduled to address the opening session of the 25th annual Environment Virginia Symposium on April 8 at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington. This year’s conference theme is “Collective Impact: Working Together to Create a Positive Environmental Legacy.” Also on April 8, the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award winners will be announced. More about Environment Virginia

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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