RSS feed for DEQ news releases DEQ news releases

Official DEQ news releases.

List administrator(s): Jennifer Underwood, Ann Regn, Irina Calos, John Tragesser

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Celebrates 25 Years of Progress

Contact: Ann Regn
April 2, 2018
(804) 698-4442

RICHMOND, VA. - April 1, 2018 marked the 25th anniversary of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Since that time, Virginians have seen dramatic improvements in our environment. Air, water and waste pollution is down. The number of restored lands is up. These improvements are due to several factors made possible by the formation of DEQ and its approach to environmental management. In 1993, four state agencies merged under one umbrella agency. Previously independent as the Department of Air Pollution Control, the State Water Control Board, the Department of Waste Management and the Council on the Environment, the newly formed department began to tackle environmental programs together. Equipped with a vision for a cleaner environment and a strategic plan with values and numeric objectives, the agency's core functions like permitting, monitoring, inspections and enforcement became more efficient, consistent and transparent. The agency also adopted holistic and integrated approaches to complex ecosystem management and watershed restoration. Projects reached across all areas in Virginia from the Chesapeake Bay and coastal areas to southern rivers, wetlands, mountain streams, airsheds, and underground aquifers.

When asked what the agency's accomplishments have been, one staffer simply said, "We have made a visible difference."

To learn more about DEQ and its accomplishments visit or to see:

- DEQ Dashboard, a short summary with graphs and data outlining the progress in each area;
- Agency timeline, a poster documenting major milestones since 1993;
- DEQ Story Map, 25 Years of Progress: A graphic collage of photos, video clips, maps and staff quotes journaling some successes along the way.


From: Jennifer Underwood

Sent: April 02, 2018 at 10:36 am

Virginia Issues Report on Chemical Releases for 2016

Contact: Ann Regn
March 29, 2018
(804) 698-4442

RICHMOND, VA. - Over the last decade chemicals released to the environment have decreased according to the latest Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) prepared by the Department of Environmental Quality. For 2016, DEQ reports 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. 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."

Compared to 2015, this year's data represents an increase of 5.8 percent in the amount of chemicals being released or managed on-site through treatment or recycling. The data also show a decrease in the chemicals being transferred off-site for treatment.

The 2016 report, which contains the most recent information available from Virginia facilities, includes these findings:
- 35.82 million pounds of chemicals were released on-site to the air, water and land.
- 65.40 million pounds of chemicals were transferred off-site for treatment, recycling, energy recovery or disposal.
- 808.84 million pounds of chemicals were managed on-site by treatment, recycling or energy recovery.

The report addresses separately those chemicals the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated as Persistent Bio-accumulative Toxins (PBTs). These chemicals remain in the environment for long periods, are not readily destroyed, and build up or accumulate in body tissue. On-site releases of these chemicals totaled 190,961 pounds in 2016.

DEQ, through its Virginia Environmental Excellence Program, uses incentives and assistance efforts to promote environmental stewardship beyond regulatory compliance. A facility applying to the program must have a good record of sustained regulatory compliance and an environmental management system or documented commitment to environmental sustainability. The goal 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, along with better managing solid waste, and conserve energy and water use.

The 2016 TRI report is available on the DEQ website at Information on
releases from 2017 is due to DEQ this summer and will be available to the public in early 2019. Visit


From: Jennifer Underwood

Sent: March 29, 2018 at 2:17 pm

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

From: Ann Regn

Sent: March 26, 2018 at 7:06 pm

DEQ Takes Enforcement Action Against Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC

March 16, 2018

Contact: Ann Regn
(804) 698-4442

RICHMOND, VA. - The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (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."

The NOV requires ACP representatives to contact DEQ within 10 days to discuss how to remedy the situation and explain how they will prevent future violations.

While limited tree felling is allowed, the activity cannot impact riparian areas. Furthermore, land disturbance cannot begin until all of the erosion and sediment and stormwater control plans required for all sections of the project are approved by DEQ. "The agency's review of the project has been the most thorough in the history of the Commonwealth, and the enforcement will be as rigorous," said Director Paylor.

The issuance of an NOV is the first step in triggering enforcement action by DEQ. Enforcement actions are frequently resolved with payment of a civil charge and required action to correct the violation. A copy of the NOV can be obtained on DEQ's webpage

The 600-mile underground Atlantic Coast Pipeline originates in West Virginia and travels through Virginia and North Carolina. The pipeline is being developed jointly by Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Piedmont natural Gas and Southern Company Gas. Though the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has independent authority over many of the procedures related to federal pipeline development, DEQ is able to exercise enforcement authority over many aspects of the project.

From: Irina Calos

Sent: March 16, 2018 at 5:24 pm

DEQ Approves Final Atlantic Coast Pipeline Stormwater Methodology, Rolls out Landmark Monitoring, Compliance and Enforcement Strategy

February 22, 2018

Contact: Ann Regn
(804) 698-4442

RICHMOND, VA. - Today, the Virginia Department of Environment Quality (DEQ) announced that it has received a final document detailing Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC's (ACP) proposed compliance methodology for meeting Virginia's post construction water quality and quantity requirements. The methodology was subjected to a thorough review and DEQ rejected several earlier versions of this technical document before approving the final released today.

DEQ also received similar technical documents from the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) describing MVP's proposed engineering methods that will be used before drafting detailed site plans for stormwater management. Both documents are available at:

DEQ is continuing to review detailed, project-specific erosion and sediment control and stormwater plans that the agency has required ACP and MVP to submit for every foot of land disturbance related to pipeline construction. Once approved, these requirements, contained in Virginia's Erosion and Sediment Control (ESC) and Stormwater Management (SWM) regulations will manage runoff during and after construction to protect water quality. In response to DEQ's comments, ACP continues to submit revisions to ESC and SWM plans to address deficiencies and concerns identified during the agency's review.

"Protecting water quality and water supplies requires controlling runoff and these plans are critical to that goal. They need to be complete. DEQ staff and its contractors are taking care to scrutinize all aspects of the plans to ensure they meet rigorous design standards," said Director David K. Paylor.
DEQ also announced that it will implement a comprehensive program to monitor construction of both the ACP and the MVP to ensure compliance with water quality standards, and take strong enforcement action if violations occur. The strategy will include the following elements:

-- Inspection of erosion and sediment control and stormwater management practices during construction, including proper installation, performance and maintenance of these practices to avoid and minimize water quality impacts.
-- Utilization of DEQ staff inspectors augmented by third party contractors hired by DEQ to ensure adequate coverage during all phases of construction, including two inspectors for each active construction spread.
-- Conducting water quality monitoring tests at several locations and stream crossings to evaluate water conditions.
-- Ensuring proper identification and protection of sensitive karst features on the landscape.

-- Routine audits and complaint investigations, including a planned web-based "hotline" for the public to submit information about potential violations.
-- Evaluation of stream crossing monitoring data, topography, weather conditions and activity in upland areas and wetland and stream crossings to inform deployment of field inspectors.
-- Ensuring monitoring of hydrostatic testing, acid soils mitigation, steep slope best practices, spill prevention control and counter measures, and riparian buffer protections to prevent pollution.
-- Continued collaboration with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, the Army Corps of Engineers, and local governments to achieve compliance.

-- Aggressively enforce environmental laws and regulations through the issuance of warnings, penalties and all other legal mechanisms available to protect the environment.
-- Using the agency's limited existing "stop work" order authority to halt ongoing construction activities that are impacting water quality.
-- Appling additional "stop work" order authority to prohibit and reassess construction activities that are an imminent threat to water quality, should the General Assembly approve such authority.

"The permitting process for these pipelines has been the most rigorous for any pipeline in Virginia history, and, should they move forward, our environmental compliance program will be the most vigilant," Paylor said. "DEQ will hold the developers to the highest construction standards and will take swift and strong enforcement action for any problems that occur."

This multi-faceted plan of evaluation and coordinated inspection and DEQ's Enforcement Program capabilities will ensure developers comply with Virginia's rigorous regulatory requirements designed to protect water resources.

Additional information, including links for contacting the agency can be found at


From: Jennifer Underwood

Sent: February 23, 2018 at 10:23 am