FERC Approves Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipeline Projects on October 13, 2017

On October 13, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved certificates of public convenience and necessity to the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline projects.

The FERC “Notational Orders” granting the certificates are available online (as PDFs) at https://www.ferc.gov/CalendarFiles/20171013192035-CP15-554-000.pdf (Atlantic Coast pipeline) and https://www.ferc.gov/CalendarFiles/20171013192058-CP16-10-000.pdf (Mountain Valley pipeline) (links functional as of October 19, 2017).

Following are news media items on FERC’s October 13 action (most recent listed first):

FERC Approves Atlantic Coast, Mountain Valley Pipelines in Rare Split Decision, Natural Gas Intelligence, 10/16/17.

FERC approves Atlantic Coast, Mountain Valley, rejecting broader pipeline review, Utility Dive, 10/16/17.

Politicians react to FERC pipeline certifications, Roanoke Times, 10/16/17 [regarding reactions by U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, Va. Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Virginia’s gubernatorial candidates in 2017, Virginia General Assembly members, and others].

FERC Approves Atlantic Coast, Mountain Valley Pipelines, Bacon’s Rebellion, 10/15/17.

Nelson [County, Va.] residents react to federal approval of Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Lynchburg News & Advance, 10/14/17.

FERC’s approval of Mountain Valley Pipeline stirs defiance, determination, Roanoke Times, 10/14/17.

U.S. regulators OK Atlantic Coast, Mountain Valley pipelines, Associated Press, as published by Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10/14/17.

Federal energy panel grants certificates for Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast pipelines, Roanoke Times, 10/13/17.

Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines gain federal approval, WV Metro News [Charleston, W. Va.], 10/13/17.

For more details on the proposed pipelines and other natural gas developments in Virginia since 2014, please see this Water Central News Grouper post: Natural Gas Drilling and Transport in Virginia under Close Scrutiny in 2014-17 – Summary of Developments and Cumulative List of News Items.

Online Course on Urban BMPs Released in August 2017 by the Municipal Online Stormwater Training Center at U. of Md.

A User’s Guide to Urban BMPs in the Chesapeake Bay was released in August 2017 by the Municipal Online Stormwater Training Center (MOST).  MOST is an initiative of the University of Maryland’s Environmental Finance Center.

The free, two-hour, online course, available at https://mostcenter.org/courses/user%E2%80%99s-guide-urban-bmps-chesapeake-bay, was developed by the Chesapeake Stormwater Network in collaboration with the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center.

This is the latest in a series of seven online courses (as of October 2017) provided by MOST; all are available online at https://mostcenter.org/courses).  The other courses are the following:
Introduction to Local Government Stormwater Financing;
The Building Blocks of an Effective Stormwater Management Program;
Stormwater Financing 101;
Asset Management for Stormwater;
Erosion and Sediment Control for Construction Sites;
Green Infrastructure and Low Impact Development 101.

Other information resources are also available at the MOST Web site.

Some of the information for this post was provided by the Virginia Water Monitoring Council (VWMC).  More information about the VWMC is available online at http://www.vwmc.vwrrc.vt.edu/; or contact Jane Walker at the janewalk@vt.edu or (540) 231-4159.

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Oct. 19-Nov. 1, 2017

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

10/19/17, 9 a.m.: Board of Game and Inland Fisheries.  At the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries headquarters, 7870 Villa Park Drive in Henrico.

10/24/17, 9:30 a.m.: Marine Resources Commission.  At 2600 Washington Avenue in Newport News.

10/26/17, 9:30 a.m.: Board for Waterworks and Wastewater Works Operators and Onsite Sewage System Professionals. At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.  The Board’s Education and Training Committee meets that day at 9:00 a.m. at the same location.

11/1/17, 10 a.m.: Land Conservation Foundation Board of Trustees.  In the East Reading Room of the Patrick Henry Building, 1111 East Broad Street Richmond

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VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY WATER-RELATED MEETINGS

For meetings of legislative committees and commissions, see http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?171+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.

None during this period.

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MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Agriculture/Forestry
10/26/17, 9:30 a.m.: Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Agricultural Best Management Practices Cost-share Program Technical Advisory Committee.  At the Virginia Department of Forestry, 900 Natural Resources Drive in Charlottesville.

Air-Water Connections
10/20/17, 10 a.m.: Public Webinar on Modeling Results for Virginia Business-as-Usual and Cap Scenarios.  Register with the Georgetown [University] Climate Center online at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/4584701090528236289, no later than October 19, 2017.  Conducted by the Georgetown Climate Center for the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Regulatory Advisory Committee on Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Trading Regulation.  The Advisory Committee was formed to advise the DEQ on the development of proposed regulatory amendments concerning CO2 trading.  Its formation follows Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Executive Directive 11 (May 2017) that instructed the DEQ to begin a process of developing regulations to reduce carbon emissions from electric power plants.  Executive Directive 11 is available online (as a PDF) at http://governor.virginia.gov/media/9155/ed-11-reducing-carbon-dioxide-emissions-from-electric-power-facilities-and-growing-virginias-clean-energy-economy.pdf.  A Notice of Intended Regulatory Action was published in the Virginia Register of Regulations on June 26, 2017.  The pertinent section of the Virginia Administrative Code is 9 VAC 5-140.   More information on this regulatory action is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewaction.cfm?actionid=4818.

Biosolids (Treated Wastewater Sludge) Land-application Permit Requests
10/24/17, 6 p.m.: On the permit-modification application by Bio-Nomic Services, Inc., of Charlotte, N.C., to land-apply biosolids to about 1766 additional acres in Bedford County.  At Central Virginia Community College-Bedford Campus, 1633 Venture Boulevard in Bedford.

Coastal Flooding
10/30/17, 1 p.m.: Joint Subcommittee to Formulate Recommendations to Address Recurrent Flooding.  In House Room 1 of the Capitol Building, 1000 Bank Street in Richmond.  The subcommittee was created by the 2014 Virginia General Assembly (HJR 16 and SJR 3) to make recommendations for a comprehensive planning effort to address recurrent flooding in Virginia’s Tidewater and Eastern Shore, particularly as climate change is expected to increase extreme weather events.  Information on the work of this subcommittee is available from the Division of Legislative Services, online at http://dls.virginia.gov/interim_studies_flooding.html; and in a July 23, 2014, news release from the chair of the subcommittee, Del. Chris Stolle (R-83rd) of Virginia Beach, online at http://chrisstolle.com/chris-stolle-elected-as-chair-of-general-assembly-joint-subcommittee-on-recurrent-flooding.

Dams
10/25/17, 9:30 a.m.: Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Districts Dam Owner Workgroup.  At the Virginia Department of Forestry, 900 Natural Resources Drive in Charlottesville.

Infrastructure Construction Funding
10/26/17, 10 a.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public meeting on the Intended Use Plan and Project Priority List for Fiscal Year 2018 grants from the Virginia Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund.  At the DEQ main office, 629 East Main Street in Richmond.  The public review and comment period will end immediately following the public meeting.  The draft list of loan recipients and projects is available from the DEQ online http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/CleanWaterFinancingAssistance/FY2018AnnualSolicitation.aspx.  More information about the Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund is available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/CleanWaterFinancingAssistance.aspx.

Land and Watershed Management
10/19/17, 6 p.m.: Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and federal Railroad Administration (FRA) public hearing for the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Washington to Richmond Southeast High Speed Rail Project (DC2RVA).  At the National Museum of the Marine Corps, 18900 Jefferson Davis Highway in Triangle (Prince William County).  Previous public hearings were held 10/10/17, in Richmond, 10/11/17, in Ashland (Hanover County), 10/17/17 in Alexandria, and 10/18/17 in Fredericksburg.  The project intends to build infrastructure to improve reliability, add capacity, and add nine stops.  The public hearings will take comments on the draft EIS that compares alternatives under consideration and recommended alternatives in each corridor segment.  The draft document is available online at http://www.dc2rvarail.com/draft.   More information is available online at http://www.dc2rvarail.com/.

Legislative Commissions
10/24/17, 10 a.m. (agenda PDF): State Water Commission.  At House Room 1 of the Capitol, 1000 Bank Street in Richmond.  The State Water Commission was established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1990.  Its purpose, according to Virginia Code section 30-187, is to “study all aspects of water supply and allocation problems in the Commonwealth, whether these problems are of a quantitative or qualitative nature; [and] coordinate the legislative recommendations of all other state entities having responsibilities with respect to water supply and allocation issues….”  More information about the Commission is available online at http://dls.virginia.gov/commissions/swc.htm.

Mining
10/24/17, 11 a.m.: Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) Formal Hearings to review the issuance of Cessation Orders CEV0010288 and CEV0010345 for A & G Coal Corporation.  At the DMME Office, 3405 Mountain Empire Road in Big Stone Gap (Wise County).

Ports
10/19/17, 10 a.m.: Virginia Port Authority/Growth and Operations Committee; 10/19/17, 2 p.m.: Executive Committee.  Both meetings at 600 World Trade Center, 101 West Main Street in Norfolk.

Scenic Rivers
10/19/17, 12 p.m.: Historic Falls of the James Scenic River Advisory Board.  At City Hall in Richmond.

Water Quality Regulations and Standards
10/24/17, 2 a.m.: State Water Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public hearing on the triennial review of water-quality standards for bacteria, ammonia, cadmium and human health criteria) (9 VAC 25-260 in the Virginia Administrative Code.)  At the DEQ Main Office, 629 East Main Street in Richmond.  According to DEQ information online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs/WaterQualityStandards/LawsMandates.aspx, Virginia Code section 62.1-44.15 (3a), part of Virginia’s State Water Control Law, requires the State Water Control Board to review and update the Commonwealth’s water-quality standards at least every three years.  The Board conducted a triennial review in 2015, but the Board deferred to a separate rulemaking updates to freshwater aquatic life criteria for ammonia, amendments to the 94 human health criteria, and new EPA recommendations for recreation waters criteria (bacteria) and aquatic life (potentially for cadmium and selenium) (Board action taken at January 14, 2016, meeting).  The proposed amendments on these itmes were published in the Virginia Register of Regulations on September 18, 2017.  The public comment period runs 9/19/17 to 11/17/17.  More information on these proposed amendments is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewaction.cfm?actionid=3171&display=stages.  More information on the triennial review overall is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewAction.cfm?actionid=4017.

Public Comment Opportunity on FY 2018 Virginia Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund Priority List – Ends with Public Meeting on Oct. 26, 2017

The State Water Control Board’s draft priority list for Fiscal Year 2018 grants from the Virginia Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund is undergoing public comment until a public meeting on October 26, 2017.  The meeting that day will be at 10 a.m. at the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) office, 629 East Main Street in Richmond.  More details on the meeting is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewMeeting.cfm?MeetingID=26560.

The draft list of loan recipients and projects is available from the DEQ online http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/CleanWaterFinancingAssistance/FY2018AnnualSolicitation.aspx.  More information about the Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund is available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/CleanWaterFinancingAssistance.aspx; or contact Walter Gills, Va. DEQ Clean Water Financing and Assistance Program, P. O. Box 1105, Richmond, Virginia  23218; phone (804) 698-4133; e-mail: walter.gills@deq.virginia.gov.

CO2 Trading Webinar Held October 20, 2017, by Georgetown Climate Center for Va. Regulatory Advisory Committee on Carbon Dioxide Trading Regulation

A public Webinar on “Modeling Results for Virginia Business-as-Usual and Cap Scenarios” will conducted October 20, 2017, 10 a.m., by the Georgetown Climate Center for the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Regulatory Advisory Committee on Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Trading Regulation.

Register with the Georgetown [University] Climate Center online at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/4584701090528236289, no later than October 19, 2017.

More information about the meeting is available from the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall, online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewMeeting.cfm?MeetingID=26734.

The Regulatory Advisory Committee was formed to advise the DEQ on the development of proposed regulatory amendments concerning CO2 trading.  Its formation followed Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Executive Directive 11 (May 2017) that instructed the DEQ to begin a process of developing regulations to reduce carbon emissions from electric power plants.  Executive Directive 11 is available online (as a PDF) at http://governor.virginia.gov/media/9155/ed-11-reducing-carbon-dioxide-emissions-from-electric-power-facilities-and-growing-virginias-clean-energy-economy.pdf.  A Notice of Intended Regulatory Action was published in the Virginia Register of Regulations on June 26, 2017.  The pertinent section of the Virginia Administrative Code is 9 VAC 5-140.   More information on this regulatory action is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewaction.cfm?actionid=4818.

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending October 17-18, 2017, Plus an Overview of Flooding Nationwide and a Mid-Month Drought Assessment

Below are several items summarizing recent precipitation and stream flow:

  1. An image showing precipitation in the continental United States over the seven-day period ending October 18, 2017;
  2. An map of stream flows in Virginia over the seven-day period ending October 17;
  3. An excerpt from the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force’s latest statewide assessment on October 11, 2017, and a map showing the status of several drought indicators in different Virginia regions, as of October 17.
  4. Flooding overview maps for Virginia and nationwide, as of October 18.

The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned below for providing precipitation and stream-flow information and images. For the current month’s other weekly reports on stream flow and precipitation, please see the News Grouper posts available at this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Virginia+Precipitation.

For monthly reviews of precipitation, stream flow, and drought, please see the 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/.

Gage Oct2017 Walker Creek at Bane Giles Co Rt 663 Sep4 2017

October 2017 Gaging Station of the Month: Walker Creek at Bane (Giles County), September 4, 2017. For the Virginia map of gaging sites, see https://waterdata.usgs.gov/va/nwis/rt.

Precipitation

The National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, online at 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, and other map layers available include river flood forecasts and current flood/severe weather warnings.  Shown below is the continental U.S. 7-day precipitation map as of 8 a.m. EDT on 10/18/17.  Please note that UTC, the time shown on the maps at the site, is four hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time and five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Precip US Oct18
Stream Flow

Seven-day-average Virginia stream flows at gaging stations as of October 17, 2017 are indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) WaterWatch for Virginia, accessed online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?m=pa07d&r=va&w=map.  The map’s color-coded dots compare the previous week’s average stream flows to the normal flow levels for that week over the historical record for each gaging station.  The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS are as shown in the chart following the map.  Note: Additional gaging stations (such as for reservoirs or for inactive sites) are shown on maps available at the USGS’ National Water Information System Mapper, online at https://maps.waterdata.usgs.gov/mapper/index.html.

streams Oct17

stream codes

Flooding Overview

As of about 11:30 a.m. EDT on October 18, 2017, four stream-gaging stations in or near Virginia were near flood stage, according to the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service’s (AHPS) map of stream and river levels relative to flood stage (color-coded) for Virginia and nearby areas.  The AHPS map for Virginia is shown below, along with the nationwide map as of the same time.  The maps are available online at http://water.weather.gov/ahps/forecasts.php; at that site, one can select Virginia or any other state of interest.

Flooding 01 va Oct18Flooding 02 US Oct18

Mid-month Drought Status Update

The Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force (DMTF), a collaboration of state and federal agencies, issued its latest Virginia drought-status report on October 11, 2017.  The report is available at the DMTF Web site, http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/Drought.aspx.  The Task Force was scheduled to meet again on November 2, 2017.

Following is an excerpt from the October 11 report (bolding added):
“Much below normal rainfall and variable temperatures occurred across Virginia throughout September.  Stream flow gaging stations reported flows that were generally below the normal range (between the 25th and 75th percentiles) with many stations across central, southern, and western Virginia reporting much below-normal flows (less than the 10th percentile).  The recorded 28-day average streamflow at stations in the Shenandoah River basin were lower than the 5th percentile, indicating severe hydrologic drought.  Most of the wells in the Virginia Climate Response network of groundwater level observation wells were reporting normal levels, except  for the wells in central Virginia, which continued to report below normal levels.  The DMTF discussed the continuing dry conditions, especially within the Middle James, Roanoke River and Shenandoah drought evaluation regions, and agreed to recommend the issuance of Drought Watch advisories for these regions. The DMTF also agreed to continue the existing Drought Watch in the Northern Piedmont region. The group also decided that the time period for  evaluation of the precipitation indicators on the Statewide drought indicator map should be changed from the entire previous water year (October 1, 2016 –September 30, 2017) to a more recent period (e.g., the previous 60 or 90 days).  DEQ staff implemented this change.…

“The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) reported that some growers Virginia have reported dry conditions that have negatively impacted setting of cover crops.  Also, livestock producers have reported that the extended August and September dry conditions affected pastures to the extent that livestock hay use is 2-3 months ahead of normal.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Wilmington NC District reported that minimal rainfall has occurred upstream of the J. H. Kerr and Philpott reservoirs in the Roanoke basin.  The water levels at J. H. Kerr and Philpott dams are running 3.5 feet and 3 feet below guide curve, respectively, for this time of year.  USACE Norfolk Region staff reported that water levels at Lake Moomaw (Gathright Dam) on the upper James River were just above 1568 ft (approximately 3 feet above Watch level), and dropping about 0.15 feet per day.”

The Task Force also produces a map rating drought-status indicators.  Shown below is the map for October 17, 2017.  The status-indicator abbreviations on that map are as follows: GW = groundwater levels, Prcp = precipitation deficits, Res = reservoir storage, and Flow = stream flow conditions.  For each region of Virginia, the indicators are color coded for “normal,” “watch,” “warning,” or “emergency conditions.”  [ADD as called for: Note the emergency-conditions code (in red) for groundwater in one region.]  Any given day’s current map and more information on drought status in Virginia are available the Task Force Web site, http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/Drought.aspx.Drought VA

 

On Virginia Water Radio for 10-16-17: Remembering the York River Events of October 19, 1781

Virginia Water Radio’s episode for the week of October 16, 2017, is “History on the York River.”  The 4 min./21 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2017/10/episode-390-10-16-17-history-on-york.html,  focuses on the October 19 anniversary of the surrender of Cornwallis’ British army at Yorktown, effectively ending military operations in the Revolutionary War.  The episode features a song from that era, “The Surrender of Cornwallis,” performed by Bobby Horton (http://bobbyhorton.com/).

390 image 0 York River
The York River, with Yorktown in the background, June 27, 2017. U.S. Geological Survey public domain photo by Hayley Austin, accessed online at https://www.usgs.gov/media/images/york-river-york-county-virginia, 10/16/17.

Virginia Water Radio’s is a weekly broadcast/podcast produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.  The home page is http://www.virginiawaterradio.org.  Have a listen or two!