Virginia Toxics Release Inventory Report for 2013 Data Released March 27, 2015, by Va. DEQ

On March 27, 2015, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced publication of the latest annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), covering data reported for 2013.  This year’s report lists types and amounts of chemicals released and reported by 426 industrial operations in the Commonwealth having 10 or more employees and reaching specific minimum amounts of toxic chemicals used.  (See p. 2 in the Introduction to this year’s report for the list of criteria determining which operations must report.)

According to the DEQ’s 3/27/15 news release on the TRI report, “36 million pounds of chemicals were released on-site to the air, water and land (an increase of 10.3 percent from 2012); 67.6 million pounds of chemicals were transferred off-site for treatment, recycling, energy recovery or disposal (a 3.6 percent increase from 2012); [and] 764 million pounds of chemicals were managed on-site by treatment, recycling or energy recovery (a 1.4 percent decrease from 2012).

According to the report’s Executive Summary, the released amounts of “persistent bioaccumulative toxics” (chemicals that remain in the environment for a long time, are not easily destroyed, and can build up in body tissue)—were 219,721 pounds released on-site; 806,906 pounds transferred off-site from reporting Virginia facilities for treatment, recycling, energy recovery, or disposal; and 317,997 pounds managed on-site by treatment, recycling, or energy recovery.

The report’s Executive Summary states the following about how to interpret the release information: “The Virginia TRI Report provides the public with information concerning specified toxic chemicals and chemical compounds which are manufactured, processed, or otherwise used at Virginia facilities.  Responsible use of the information can help the public and industry identify potential concerns and develop effective strategies for reducing toxic chemical usage and release.  The TRI data do not, however, represent a measure of the public’s exposure to chemicals, nor does they assess risk.  Most of the releases are regulated and permitted under other state and federal programs that are designed to protect human health and the environment.  Because of differences in report-generation schedules and receipt of reports, the information in the Virginia TRI Report will not precisely match the information in the national Toxics Release Inventory – Public Data Release, located at http://www2.epa.gov/toxics-release-inventory-tri-program/tri-data-and-tools, as published by [the U.S.] EPA.”

This year’s Virginia TRI report and those from previous years are located online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Air/AirQualityPlanningEmissions/SARATitleIII/SARA313ToxicsReleaseInventory.aspx.

Source: Virginia issues report on chemical releases for 2013, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality News Release, 3/27/15.

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Mar. 30-Apr. 13, 2015

For more information, click on underlined meeting dates. Click here for the Commonwealth Calendar listing of all government meetings open to the public, and here for the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall listing of all government meetings of a regulatory nature.

For other, non-governmental, events, please see the Water Central News Grouper post, Quick Guide to Virginia Water-related Events

REGULAR MEETINGS OF STATEWIDE BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

3/30/15, 10 a.m.: State Water Control Board. At the General Assembly Building, House Room C, 9th and Broad Streets in Richmond.

4/8/15, 9 a.m.: Sewage Handling and Disposal Appeal Review Board. At the Perimeter Center, Training Rooms 1A, 1B, & 1C, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond/Henrico.

4/11/15, 2 p.m.: Cave Board. At Luray Caverns in Luray.

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MEETINGS OF LEGISLATIVE BODIES

For meetings of legislative committees and commissions, see http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+oth+MTG. Links to information about General Assembly commissions, councils, and special interim committees coordinated by the Division of Legislative Services are available online at http://dls.virginia.gov/commissions.html.

None during this period.

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MEETINGS ABOUT TOTAL MAXIMUM DAILY LOADS (or TMDLs) for IMPAIRED WATERS

For more information about TMDLs in Virginia, click here for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality TMDL Web site; click on “Public Notices” in the menu to the left to access upcoming meetings and public-comment periods. A search tool to find approved TMDL reports is available at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs/TMDL/TMDLDevelopment/ApprovedTMDLReports.aspx.

3/31/15, 2 p.m., on the TMDL implementation plan for bacteria impairments in the Rapidan River and several tributaries (Beautiful Run, Blue Run, Marsh Run, Poplar Run, Rippin Run, and unnamed tributaries), in the Rappahannock River watershed in Albemarle, Greene, Madison, and Orange counties. At the Madison County Cooperative Extension Office, 2 South Main Street in Madison.

3/31/15, 6:30 p.m., on the TMDL implementation plan for bacteria impairments in the Hardware River and North Fork Hardware River, located in the James River watershed in Albemarle and Fluvanna Counties. At Victory Hall, 401 Valley Street in Scottsville (Albemarle County). A second public meeting on this TMDL will be held 4/9/15, 6:30 p.m., at North Garden Fire Hall, 4907 Plank Road in North Garden (Albemarle County).

4/7/15, 6 p.m., on the TMDL implementation plan for bacteria and sediment impairments in Chestnut Creek, in the New River watershed in Carroll and Grayson counties and in the City of Galax. At the Galax Recreation Center Room A, 601 South Main Street in Galax.

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MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Agriculture/Forestry
3/30/15: Virginia Agricultural Council.   At the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center, 24 South Market Street in Staunton. The Council hear and act upon agricultural project proposals for financial assistance. The Council was established by the General Assembly in 1966 to assist in financing agricultural research, education, and services. More information about the Council is available online at http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/about/boards.shtml.

Biosolids (Treated Sewage Sludge) Land-application Permit Requests
3/31/15, 6 p.m.: On the permit application by Synagro Central, LLC, of Champlain, Va., to land-apply biosolids to 1,143.5 acres in Clarke County. At the Clarke County Offices, 101 Chalmers Court in Berryville.

4/2/15, 6 p.m.: On the permit application by Agri-Sludge, Inc., of Shreve, Ohio, to land-apply biosolids to 4,768.7 acres in Rockingham County. At the Department of Environmental Quality’s Valley Regional Office, 4411 Early Road in Harrisonburg.

Energy – Fossil Fuels
3/30/15, 10 a.m.: Air Pollution Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality public hearing on a draft permit amendment for Virginia Electric and Power Company’s (VEPCO) Southampton Power Station located in Franklin.  At Paul D. Camp Community College, Room 129, 100 North College Drive in Franklin.  The facility proposes to change provisions of the permit granted when the facility converted from coal to biomass as its principal fuel, particularly to expand the use of No. 2 fuel oil from use during startup only to use during startup, shutdown, and during regular operation for flame stabilization.  The public comment period is 2/27/15 to 4/14/15.

3/31/15, 6:30 p.m.: Air Pollution Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality public hearing on a draft permit amendment for Virginia Electric and Power Company’s (VEPCO) Altavista Power Station.  At Altavista Town Council Chambers, 510 Seventh Street in Altavista.  The facility proposes to change provisions of the permit granted when the facility converted from coal to biomass as its principal fuel, particularly to expand the use of No. 2 fuel oil from use during startup only to use during startup, shutdown, and during regular operation for flame stabilization.  The applicant proposes to use approximately 800,000 tons/year of woody biomass, up to 60,000 gallons/year of No. 2 fuel oil, and a certain amount of natural gas.  The public comment period is 2/25/15 to 4/15/15.

4/8/15, 6 p.m.: Air Pollution Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality public hearing on a draft permit amendment for Virginia Electric and Power Company’s (VEPCO) Hopewell Power Station.  At the Hopewell Public Library, 209 East Cawson Street in Hopewell.  The facility proposes to change provisions of the permit granted when the facility converted in 2012 from coal to biomass as its principal fuel, particularly to add flame stabilization to the current use (startup and shutdown) of natural gas.  The public comment period is 3/3/15 to 4/23/15.

Fort Monroe
4/9/15, 1 p.m.: Fort Monroe Authority Board of Trustees’ Finance Committee.  At 151 Bernard Road in Fort Monroe.  In 2011, the Virginia General Assembly (Senate Bill 1400) established the Fort Monroe Authority to manage the historic areas of Fort Monroe and Old Point Comfort—at the confluence of Hampton Roads with the Chesapeake Bay—after the federal government closed its military facilities there.  Fort Monroe had been a U.S. military base since 1836.  In 2011, the area was designated as Fort Monroe National Monument (http://www.nps.gov/fomr/index.htm). More information about Fort Monroe and the Authority is available online at http://www.fmauthority.com/.

Mining and Mined Land Reclamation
4/1/15, 10:30 a.m.: Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) informal conference on Bond Release Application 1009446 for Paramont Coal Corporation.  At the mine site in Buchanan County, 3.0 miles northeast of Prater, off State Route 604.

Southeastern U.S. Precipitation and Virginia Stream Flow Look-back at Winter 2014-15

On March 26, 2015, with Virginia’s and the Northern Hemisphere’s spring equinox just a few days gone by, here’s a look back at what happened with rainfall in the southeastern United States and stream flow in Virginia in winter 2014-25.  The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned above for their work to providing these valuable assessment products.

Precipitation

The following maps, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Southeast Regional Climate Center (SRCC), located at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill (http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/precip_maps, accessed 3/26/15), show southeastern U.S. precipitation between December 26, 2014, and March 25, 2015 (first map), and how this rainfall compared to historical normal values for that period (second map). These data are provisional. (For perspective, Virginia’s statewide average annual rainfall since 1895 has been about 43 inches, according to the SRCC’s “Monthly and Seasonal Climate Information” Web page at http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/monthly_seasonal.)

precip 90 dayprecip perc 90 day

In the second map, note the brown and red areas—indicating precipitation at least 10 percent below normal for the period—in a swath of Virginia from the southwest to the center of the state. These levels have helped cause the occurrence of “abnormally dry” conditions in about 20 percent of Virginia as of March 24, 2015, according to the report of the U.S. Drought Monitor for that date. (The Drought Monitor is produced by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is available online at http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/.) Virginia has had some areas rated as abnormally dry since the April 22, 2014, Drought Monitor report.

Outside of Virginia, note the large swath of below-normal precipitation from Virginia south to the Gulf Coast. The March 24, 2015, Drought Monitor rated about 25 percent of the southeastern United States as abnormally dry.

For another color-coded map of precipitation in Virginia or any other state of your choosing, see the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service’s nationwide map of precipitation, with daily, monthly, and yearly archives; online at http://water.weather.gov/precip/.

Stream Flow

The first graph below, from the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) “WaterWatch—Current Water Resources Conditions” Web site (http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/new/index.php?id=pa01d&sid=w__plot&r=va), accessed 3/26/15), compares average daily stream flow to historical records for the 45-day period of Feb.7—Mar. 25, 2014. The second graph covers the period since January 2001. The data in the graphs come from 88 sites that have at least 30 years of records. Each graph uses a “stream flow index,” which measures how a site’s average stream flow over 24 hours compares to the historical average stream flow for that same site and date. The graphs shows a further average: the stream flow index averaged statewide over the 88 sites.

Streams 45 daysStreams 10 years

 

Other Water Status Posts on the Water Central News Grouper

Previous seasonal look-backs are at this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Seasonal+Look-back.

Monthly water-status updates are at this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Virginia+Water+Status.

What Ranges from Aquatic Insects, to Fluid Mechanics, to Urban Hydrology, and More?

The answer: the topics addressed in water-related courses available at Virginia Tech.

The Virginia Water Resources Research Center recently compiled lists of Tech’s water-related courses–one list for undergraduate-level courses and one for graduate-level courses.  The lists are available as PDFs at http://www.vwrrc.vt.eduwater-courses-vt/.

The lists will, of course, help Tech’s water-resources students, including those in the university’s new undergraduate water-resources major that began in 2015 (please see http://waterdegree.frec.vt.edu/ for more information on the new major).  But Virginia citizens and policy makers might also want to check out the lists to see the broad range of topics and issues that connect to water resources.

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending March 24, 2015

This post presents images showing precipitation in Virginia and other areas of the southeastern United States, and stream flow in Virginia, over the seven-day period ending March 24, 2015.  The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned below for providing precipitation and stream-flow information and images.

For monthly reviews of precipitation, stream flow, and drought, please see the News Grouper posts available at this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Monthly+Water+Status.

For more information on current and historical surface-water and groundwater conditions in Virginia, please see the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Virginia Science Center’s Web site, http://va.water.usgs.gov/.

Precipitation

The following maps show southeastern U.S. precipitation amounts (top map) and the percent of normal precipitation for the given location at this time of year (bottom map) over the seven-day period ending March 24, 2015.  The maps were accessed on March 25 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Southeast Regional Climate Center, located at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill; online at http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/precip_maps.  As of that date, these data were provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).

Precip Mar 24Precip perc Mar 24

 

For another precipitation-information source: The National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, http://water.weather.gov/precip/, provides maps showing precipitation nationwide or by state for specific days, months, or years. The site also has the capability to show county boundaries. Shown below is the map of seven-day precipitation ending at 8 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on March 25, 2015. (Please note that UTC, the time shown on the map below, is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and four hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.)

Precip us Mar 25

Stream Flow

Average Virginia stream flow over week ending March 24, 2015, is indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia (online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/classic.php?m=pa07d&r=va&w=mv01d%2Cmap, accessed 3/25/15).  The map compares the previous week’s average stream flows at 139 stream-gaging stations in Virginia and just beyond the state border to the normal flow levels for that week over the historical record for each gaging station.  The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS to compare flows to historical records are as shown in the following chart (the higher the percentile and the “bluer” the color, the higher the flow relative to normal for the site and time of year).

KEEP on deskto - Stream flow code graphStreams Mar 24

On Virginia Water Radio for 3-23-15: Good-bye Winter, and Thanks for the Water

This week, Virginia Water Radio features music to mark the passing of winter into spring, and to recognize the importance of the water winter leaves behind.  Click here to have a listen (3 min./42 sec.)

Virginia Water Radio, online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org, is the Virginia Water Resources Research Center’s weekly podcast using sounds and music to focus on issues, events, people, and creatures connected to Virginia’s waters.

Lawsuit Filed by Sierra Club in March 2015 Against Dominion Virginia Power Over Coal Ash at Chesapeake Energy Center in Chesapeake, Va.

On March 19, 2015, the Sierra Club, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, filed a federal lawsuit alleging “ongoing contamination of groundwater and surrounding surface waters” from Dominion Virginia Power’s coal-fired Chesapeake Energy Center power plant in Chesapeake, Va.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, located in Norfolk, the suit alleges that the plant’s disposal of coal ash (the solid material remaining after combustion of coal to generate electric power) in storage ponds between the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River and Deep Creek (Dominion’s practice since 1953, according to the suit), have “for at least two decades” resulted in discharges to groundwater of arsenic and other heavy metals and pollutants at levels above Virginia standards, that the groundwater contaminants also reach surface waters, and that the plant’s Virginia Pollutant Elimination Discharge System (VPDES) permit does not permit such levels of discharge.

According to the WAVY-TV/Norfolk report of the lawsuit filing, Dominion stated that it stopped operation of the plant in December 2014 and is decommissioning the plant in compliance with federal and state regulations.

The plant is under a Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) groundwater corrective action plan that aims to diminish the level of groundwater contaminants over time. Information on DEQ’s groundwater-monitoring program for solid-waste facilities (including coal-ash storage) is available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/LandProtectionRevitalization/SolidHazardousWasteRegulatoryPrograms/SolidWaste/GroundwaterMonitoring.aspx.

Sources: Dominion sued over Chesapeake power plant, WAVY-TV Norfolk, 3/19/15 (a PDF link to the lawsuit document filed by the SELC on March 19 was available at this site, as of 3/20/15); and Group sues Dominion over Chesapeake coal ash, Virginian-Pilot, 3/20/15.