Virginia CZM Program: 2013 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:VA CZM logo

52

Grantee:

Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission

Project Title:

Middle Peninsula Water Reuse Study

Project Description as Proposed:

As recent changes to Virginia water regulations have tightened water protection and management there is a strong need to consider maximizing local and region water resources that may have financial benefits to localities. Therefore, Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission (MPPDC) staff is proposing an exploratory project looking at water reuse and the potential economic impacts to Middle Peninsula localities.

In 2011, a line item in the appropriation act and a letter from Delegate Harvey Morgan requested the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Virginia Department of Health to examine opportunities to expand water reuse and reclamation. As a result a substantial amount of work was completed by the state to encourage the expansion of water reuse in order to conserve water and to reduce nutrient loads to surface waters. More recently however there have been parallel regulatory efforts and changes that have focused on similar goals.

First, based on changes in the Virginia Stormwater Management Act and Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) permit regulations, localities are now required to develop and implement a local VSMP. During 2013, the MPPDC was funded through the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation to work with Middle Peninsula localities to develop their local/regional VSMP. In part, a staffing and budget plan estimated that costs of implementing a local VSMP program will surpass the amount of VSMP permit fees to be collected. In conjunction with changes to stormwater regulations, the Commonwealth of Virginia has recently expanded the Eastern Groundwater Management Act (GMA) which added ten localities. Of the ten localities five are Middle Peninsula localities. As a result of the GMA expansion all six Middle Peninsula localities now fall into the GMA.

Due to such regulatory changes, commoditizing water resources through water reuse has the potential to benefit Middle Peninsula localities. Through the harvesting of stormwater, treating wastewater and grey water and then reusing these resources, localities may have an opportunity to generate a new revenue stream that could recoup some of the VSMP costs. A water reuse program may also reduce and supplement groundwater withdrawals. To begin to gain an understanding of potential implications of water reuse to Middle Peninsula localities, MPPDC staff will research and organize general information about the topic, regulations, and Virginia case-studies (if any),. In addition to MPPDC staff research, the MPPDC will partner with the National Sea Grant Law Center to gain a broader national perspective on water reuse and programs that have been established elsewhere. 

Once research is gathered, MPPDC staff will organize a Water Reuse Stakeholder Committee (ie. Hampton Roads Sanitation District, Local Utility Staff, Virginia Department of Health, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Middle Peninsula locality representatives, etc.) to discuss: (1) opportunities for water reuse within the Middle Peninsula (ie. types of uses, ), (2) relevant State regulatory and local policy concerns/issues, and (3) potential solutions and policy needs to implement water reuse within the Middle Peninsula. This committee will ultimately focus on developing a road map/guidance document for localities within the Middle Peninsula interested in implementing water reuse in the future.  

Federal Funding:

$16,798 

Project Contact:

Jackie Rickards, 804.758.2311; jrickards@mppdc.com 

Project Status:

10/1/2013 - 9/30/2014; Project Completed 

Final Product Received:

Middle Peninsula: Water Reuse Study (PDF) 

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

As water regulations tighten and water resource management becomes increasingly important to meet water quality standards and water supply demands for future generations and to maintain the health of environmental ecosystems, water reclamation becomes a viable option, among other techniques, to assist in the comprehensive management of water resources within the Middle Peninsula. 

Specifically based on amendments to the Virginia Stormwater Management Act, the Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) (9VAC25-870) and the expansion of the Eastern Groundwater Management Area (GWMA) (9VAC25-600), localities are expected to meet additional water quality standards and safeguard water supplies.  However, each present potential fiscal impacts to local governments and their constituents. Thus, commoditizing water resources through water reuse may benefit Middle Peninsula localities through revenue generation, but may also supplement dwindling water supplies and help sustain businesses and economic growth for the future.

To begin to understand water reclamation, the MPPDC was funded through the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program (CZM) to research and organize general information about water reclamation, associated regulations, and Virginia case-studies. MPPDC staff also organized a Water Reuse Steering Committee, consisting of representatives from member localities and the Hampton Road Sanitation District (HRSD), for educational purposes and for policy discussions. Through multiple meetings, the committee generated recommendations to move forward with focus on water reuse and supply for the Middle Peninsula: 1) absent a state directive to conserve, concerned localities could implement voluntary measures as outlined in the Regional Water Supply Plan; (2) Develop a model/plan for an exchange program or trading program for groundwater; (3) Explore the idea of developing a funding opportunity for public infrastructure improvements specific to water reclamation; (4) Identify issues that the Virginia Department of Health has with water reclamation and assuming risk, in light of the dwindling water supply; (5) research surface water management areas, surface water rights, and how these rights can be relinquished; and (6) develop cost estimates of water reuse, aquifer recharge, and other technologies for potential funding opportunities. 

While such recommendations are not silver bullets to resolving the water resource issues at hand they are actions that support supplementing future resources for the Virginia Coastal Plain and the Middle Peninsula.

Disclaimer: This project summary provides the federal dollars initially awarded to the grantee. Due to underexpenditure or reprogramming of grant funds, this figure may change. For more information on the allocation of coastal grant funds, please contact Laura McKay, Virginia Coastal Program Manager, at 804.698.4323 or email: Laura.McKay@deq.virginia.gov

A more detailed Scope of Work for this project is available. Please direct your request for a copy to Virginia.Witmer@deq.virginia.gov

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


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