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Water Quality Success Stories

The water quality programs at DEQ aim to identify, restore, and ultimately protect impaired waters. This is accomplished through water quality monitoring, assessments of the water quality data to identify impaired waters as part of the 305(b)/303(d) Integrated Report, and a number of regulatory and non-regulatory, incentive based approaches to restore water quality. These approaches to restoring water quality include TMDLs, TMDL alternatives, TMDL implementation plans, permitting and grants/cost-share programs that help fund pollution controls and best management practices (BMPs) across the state.


In cases where impaired waters have been restored or exhibit great improvements in water quality due to the implementation of pollution controls, we call those success stories. Generally, waters are degraded over long periods of time and therefore the restoration of those impaired waters takes both time and properly implemented pollution controls. Due to the unique characteristics of each impaired stretch of water, the methods for restoring impaired waters are varied.  In some cases, installing BMPs throughout the watershed as prescribed in TMDL Implementation Plans, or TMDL alternatives may lead to water quality restoration. In other cases, working closely with regulated entities, the implementation of TMDL wasteload allocations and other permit conditions through the permitting process can restore impaired waters.  While these two scenarios outline restoration attained through nonpoint source reductions or point source reductions, it can also be the case that impaired waters are restored through a combination of both. Given the complex and often large scale nature of water quality impairments, the success stories highlighted here were successful because of extensive collaboration between DEQ, one or more other agencies, regulated entities, and multiple other stakeholders.


The examples of water quality success stories in Virginia are presented on two different webpages:

Eroded stream on the left next to the same stream with restored riparian areas and no more erosion.

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


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