Contact: Bill Hayden, DEQ
RICHMOND, VA. -- Preliminary information from a new study indicates that most airborne chemicals in the city of Hopewell are safely below Virginia's long-term air quality standards, the Department of Environmental Quality announced today. DEQ's investigation is continuing with an analysis of whether two of the chemicals raise any concerns for human health.
"Our initial results show that levels of the chemicals acrolein and formaldehyde require a more thorough look," DEQ Director David K. Paylor said. "We expect a more complete picture when we finish the study of potential health concerns and whether they could affect Hopewell residents."
Air quality studies across the United States show that acrolein and formaldehyde levels in many parts of the country are higher than Virginia's standards. The concentration of these chemicals in Hopewell are not unusual compared with what many other urban and rural areas of the country experience, according to the DEQ report. These chemicals most often are produced during open burning and from vehicle emissions.
"Our primary goal is to protect people's health and the environment," Paylor said. "When we have obtained the information we need and the study is complete, DEQ will evaluate appropriate steps for reducing these and other chemicals in the air."
DEQ began the Hopewell air quality study in 2006 with a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as part of DEQ's overall program to evaluate air quality throughout the Commonwealth. The study covered 67 chemicals and metals, and 96 percent of them were below Virginia's air quality levels of concern. DEQ worked closely with a stakeholder group from Hopewell to explain the design and conduct of the study, and the group members are familiar with the results.
As a result of the work related to this study, DEQ has placed another air monitor in Hopewell and is analyzing several more chemicals beyond what previously was studied. The preliminary Hopewell air quality study is available on the DEQ website at www.deq.virginia.gov.
RICHMOND, VA. -- Local governments and volunteers, demonstrating strong support for litter and recycling programs, completed nearly 800,000 hours of litter and recycling activities in 2007-2008 across Virginia.
The Department of Environmental Quality's 2007-2008 litter and recycling annual report shows that more than 650 Virginian local government employees worked alongside volunteers for approximately 800,000 hours from July 1, 2007, to June 30, 2008, under the state litter prevention and recycling grant program to complete litter cleanups, conduct anti-littering youth education programs and organize recycling programs.
"Virginia's local governments and residents are showing an extraordinary commitment to keeping Virginia clean," says DEQ Director David K. Paylor.
A total of 10,583 cleanup events were hosted throughout Virginia, using a total of 101,177 volunteers who cleaned up 38,745 cubic yards of litter. Nearly 2,500 presentations, workshops and other educational events for youth were conducted as part of youth education programs.
Three hundred local governments received approximately $1.8 million in funding from the state litter prevention and recycling grant program and exceeded matching funds with more than $8.1 million from other sources of funds and in-kind services.
The money for litter prevention and recycling grants is generated through three litter taxes paid by Virginia beer distributors, soft drink companies and retailers. DEQ disburses the litter and recycling tax revenues to localities that apply annually for the grant funding. The amount that each locality receives is proportional to the road miles and population of the jurisdiction.
To learn more about Virginia's litter prevention and recycling grant program and to read the 2008 annual report to the Litter Control and Recycling Fund Advisory Board, visit the DEQ website at www.deq.virginia.gov/recycle/programs.html.
Contact: Bill Hayden, DEQ
RICHMOND, VA. -- The Department of Environmental Quality's annual recycling rate report shows that Virginians' commitment to recycling remains strong with 38.5 percent of municipal and other solid wastes recycled in 2007.
DEQ used data from recycling rate reports submitted by the 74 solid waste planning regions in Virginia representing 325 Virginia cities, counties and towns. The percentage represents 3,637,933 tons of material recycled or reused.
"Recycling rates continue to be strong across Virginia," DEQ Director David K. Paylor said. "It is clear that Virginians are committed to recycling as a way of preserving our natural resources and minimizing the use of landfill space."
The Virginia annual recycling report provides an overview of the materials recycled, the amount of waste disposed, and a list of the recycling rate reported by each solid waste planning region in 2007. The report is available on DEQ's website at www.deq.virginia.gov/.
The recycling rate of 38.5 percent exceeds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's national goal of 35 percent by 2010 and is above the 2007 national rate of 33.4 percent. The state's 2007 recycling rate grew slightly from the 2006 rate of 38.4 percent. Virginia showed an increase in recycling of plastics, metals, glass and used oil from 2006 to 2007.
DEQ's recycling program works closely with recycling program managers, as well as with local governments and solid waste planning regions to ensure that their recycling programs are able to meet or exceed the state's mandated recycling rates. Virginia has a two-tiered recycling mandate. Individual localities or solid waste planning regions with low population densities or high unemployment rates qualify for the 15 percent recycling level. All others must meet the 25 percent recycling rate.