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Official DEQ news releases.

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Public meeting scheduled on removal of coal ash wastewater from Clinch River power plant

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12, 2016

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447
william.hayden@deq.virginia.gov

RICHMOND, VA. -- The Department of Environmental Quality will host an informational briefing on the proposed reissuance of an environmental permit for the Appalachian Power Co. Clinch River plant near Carbo in Russell County. The meeting will be held at the Russell County Public Library, 248 West Main St., Lebanon, VA, on Wednesday, April 20, 2016, from 7 to 9 p.m.

The meeting will provide information on the proposed reissuance of the water permit that regulates the discharge of industrial wastewater, sanitary wastewater and stormwater runoff from the facility. The proposed permit also will address wastewater discharges that result from the closure of coal ash management ponds. The closure of these ponds was necessitated by the recent conversion of the plant to use natural gas as a fuel, and by final coal ash regulations that were approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2015. The proposed permit covers the removal of treated water from the ponds to ensure that the water quality and aquatic resources of the river are protected.

This meeting is not part of the required public participation process for any water or solid waste permitting actions associated with the closure. The meeting is intended to supplement those processes and to allow the public an opportunity to ask DEQ questions during the official public comment period. Also, please note that because this meeting is not part of the official permitting process, comments made during this informational meeting will not be part of the official public comment record on any of the required permit actions.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: April 12, 2016 at 9:24 am

DEQ to hold public information meeting on New River PCB study

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 5, 2016

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447
william.hayden@deq.virginia.gov

RICHMOND, VA. -- The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will host a public information meeting April 5, 2016, from 6 to 8 p.m. to share information about a water quality study related to polychlorinated biphenyls in the New River watershed. The meeting is in the Muse Hall Banquet Room at Radford University, 801 E. Main Street, Radford, VA 24141.

A "total maximum daily load" study of PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, is kicking off in the New River watershed. A TMDL is the maximum amount of a pollutant a water body may contain and still meet water quality standards. To restore water quality, PCBs will have to be reduced to the amount specified by the TMDL. During several years of fish tissue collection in the watershed ranging from Wythe County to Montgomery County, DEQ has found fish tissue contaminated with PCBs. These PCB levels have led the Virginia Department of Health to issue fish consumption advisories. A task force completed a source identification study and produced a report in 2004 that established the foundation for this PCB study.

During the meeting, DEQ, the Virginia Department of Health, and DEQ's contractor, Biological Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech, will have displays and staff available on numerous PCB-related topics. The meeting will focus on the PCB sources contributing to contaminated fish tissue in the New River, Reed Creek, Claytor Lake, Peak Creek, Walker Creek and Stony Creek watersheds. People or organizations interested in serving on the technical advisory committee will be asked to sign up expressing their interest. Acceptance to be on the committee is at the sole discretion of DEQ.

The public comment period on the study closes May 3, 2016.

PCBs are chemicals that were used in electrical transformers and other equipment until the late 1970s and can remain in the environment for decades. The Virginia Department of Health recommends that pregnant women, women who may become pregnant, nursing mothers, infants and young children should avoid eating PCB-contaminated fish from advisory areas. A full list of waters and fish affected by the advisories is available on the health department's web site at www.vdh.virginia.gov.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: April 05, 2016 at 11:16 am

Virginia issues report on chemical releases for 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2016

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447
william.hayden@deq.virginia.gov

RICHMOND, VA. -- Virginia industries reported 917 million pounds of chemicals managed on-site, transferred off-site or released to the environment in 2014, a 5.6 percent increase from the previous year, according to the latest Toxics Release Inventory produced by the Department of Environmental Quality.

The overall increase is due to larger amounts of chemicals being managed on-site, such as through treatment or recycling. In addition, the report shows decreases in chemical releases to the environment -- the air, water and land.

"The long-term trend in releases of toxic chemicals to the environment continues to decline," DEQ Director David K. Paylor said, "and that is good news for all Virginians. Chemical releases in Virginia are managed under environmental permits, which ensure that people and the environment are protected."

DEQ compiles information on a wide range of toxic chemicals released by facilities that are required to submit reports each year. The 2014 report, which contains the most recent information available, includes these findings:

-- 35.2 million pounds of chemicals were released on-site to the air, water and land.
-- 66.9 million pounds of chemicals were transferred off-site for treatment, recycling, energy recovery or disposal.
-- 814 million pounds of chemicals were managed on-site by treatment, recycling or energy recovery.

The report also includes data about releases of a group of chemicals known as persistent bio-accumulative toxics. These chemicals remain in the environment for long periods of time and can build up in body tissue. On-site releases of these chemicals totaled 640,800 pounds in 2014.

DEQ uses the TRI data to identify facilities for projects to reduce pollution at the source. The Virginia Environmental Excellence Program at DEQ uses incentives and assistance efforts to promote environmental stewardship beyond regulatory compliance. The goal of this initiative 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.

The 2014 TRI is available on the DEQ website at www.deq.virginia.gov. Information on releases from 2015 is due to DEQ this summer and will be available to the public in early 2017.

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: March 29, 2016 at 12:53 pm

DEQ statement on settlement of lawsuits over coal ash discharge permits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 10, 2016

Contact: Bill Hayden
(804) 698-4447
william.hayden@deq.virginia.gov

RICHMOND, VA. -- The director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, David K. Paylor, issued this statement today following the announcement that two lawsuits on the management of coal ash wastewater in Virginia have been settled:

"DEQ is pleased that Dominion has voluntarily agreed to go beyond federal and state regulatory requirements to further enhance protections for Virginia waters.

"DEQ has full confidence that its discharge permits fully protect water quality, aquatic life and human health. The permits issued for Dominion's Bremo and Possum Point power stations, like thousands of similar permits DEQ has written in the past four decades, meet strict federal and state requirements for water quality.

"The people who work at DEQ take their environmental stewardship obligations seriously, and recent accusations against DEQ's integrity are baseless. The quality of Virginia's rivers and streams has improved dramatically over the years. DEQ will continue to write and enforce permits that protect Virginia's environment in the consistent, thorough and responsible manner that Virginians deserve."

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: March 10, 2016 at 9:52 am

Marine debris summit to accelerate Virginia coastal and ocean cleanup efforts

From: Bill Hayden

Sent: March 02, 2016 at 2:56 pm