Category Archives: Drinking Water

Virginians Who Use Private Wells, Springs, or Cisterns Can Get Inexpensive Baseline Testing and Assistance from the Virginia Household Water Quality Program and Master Well-owner Network; Drinking-water Clinics in 2017 Run from March 15 to November 1 in over 50 Localities

The Virginia Household Water Quality Program offers drinking-water clinics in which people who rely on private wells, springs, or cisterns can get  their water tested inexpensively for key constituents and receive a report interpreting the results.  The cost to participate in 2017 is $55.  The clinics in 2017, running from March 15 to November 1, will be cover over 50 localities.  A list of upcoming clinics in 2017 is available at this Web site:

Meanwhile, as of February 2017, the Virginia Master Well Owner network has over 180 members—volunteers as well as staff from Virginia Cooperative Extension and other state agencies—in several dozen Virginia localities who can assist Virginians with drinking-water well questions and problems.

Both programs are coordinated by the Virginia Tech Department of Biological Systems Engineering.  More information is available online at, or contact the coordinator of the programs, Erin James Ling, at (540) 231-9058 or

For a news account of the well-testing program, please see Virginia Tech researchers: Flint-like problems also present in Virginia wells, Roanoke Times, 4/10/16.

A Brief History of Lead in Plumbing and Its Health Effects, in 9/28/16 PBS NewsHour Video

Lead in plumbing and consequently in drinking water—going as far back as the Roman Empire—is the focus “How and Why We Need to Get the Lead Out of Our Lives,” broadcast on September 28, 2016, on the PBS NewsHour.  The 6 min./50 second video, available online at, also reviews the history of research into the effects of lead on health, particularly in children.  Other NewsHour videos on lead are collected at  For more information on lead in drinking water, see the U.S. EPA, “Basic Information about Lead in Drinking Water,” online at

For a Water Central News Grouper item on the Flint, Michigan, drinking water/lead issue, please see Flint, Michigan, Drinking-water Crisis Information Sources, Including Virginia Tech Research Team.

Bottled-water Facility Planned by Niagara Bottling in Chesterfield County, Va. – August 2016 Announcement; Concerns Expressed by Some Citizens over Permitted Wetlands Impacts

On August 16, 2016, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s office announced that Niagara Bottling LLC (headquartered in Ontario, California; online at plans to invest $95 million to establish a bottled-water facility at Meadowville Technology Park in Chesterfield County.

Following is an excerpt from the governor’s office’s news release on the announcement: “The company will utilize state-of-the-art filtration to produce its Niagara brand and private label bottled water.  Virginia successfully competed against Maryland for the project, which will create 76 new jobs.  …Niagara Bottling is the largest private label bottled water supplier in the U.S., supplying major retailers across the nation.  …The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Chesterfield County and the Greater Richmond Partnership to secure this project for Virginia.  Governor McAuliffe approved a $500,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist Chesterfield County with the project.  Niagara will also be eligible to receive sales and use tax exemptions on manufacturing equipment.  Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will also be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.”

Some county citizens, including Glen Besa, the former head of the Sierra Club of Virginia, raised objections over the project’s intention to destroy 10 acres of wetlands during construction (for which the company would be responsible for compensation, under federal and state law).  The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and Chesterfield County Economic Development Authority approved a permit calling for creation of replacement wetland acres north of Chesterfield, but concerns have been raised that the amount of wetland acres impacted will be unusually large (compared to other permits), that created wetlands often do not functionally replace natural wetlands, and that the company could have located in the county’s existing industrial park.

Governor McAuliffe Announces $95 Million Investment in Chesterfield County; Niagara Bottling LLC to establish Mid-Atlantic operation, creating 76 new jobs, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 8/16/16.
County lauds bottling firm, others worry about impact, Chesterfield Observer, 8/24/16.
Environmental concerns surrounding new Niagara Bottling facility in Chesterfield, WRIC TV-Richmond, 8/30/16.

Drinking Water Funding in Va. – July 21, 2016, Public Comment Session on FY 2017 Intended Use Program

On July 21, 2016, 9 a.m., the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) will hold a public-comment session on the Fiscal Year 2017 Intended Use Plan for the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund Program.  The meeting will be at the Department of Environmental Equality Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen (Henrico County).  Click this link for more information about the meeting.

According to the VDH’s Web site on the Intended Use Plan for 2017, online at “Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, Congress authorizes capitalization grants to the states through the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund Program (DWSRF).  As part of the annual DWSRF grant application process Virginia seeks meaningful public involvement through input, review, and comments.  The VDH’s Office of Drinking Water (ODW) has prepared a draft Intended Use Plan (IUP) that explains the goals of the program, funding priorities, how VDH intends to use the grant funds, and other important information submitted from the funding requests and set-aside suggestions.”

On Virginia Water Radio for 5-2-16: Sounds and Music to Call Attention to Drinking Water Week, May 1-7, 2016

Virginia Water Radio’s latest episode, for the week of May 2, 2016, is “Drinking Water Week.”  The 3 min./58 sec. episode, available online at, focuses the American Water Works Association’s initiative to draw attention every May to drinking water and public water supplies.

AWWA logo

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