Category Archives: Groundwater

Virginia Well Inventory Maps Released in August 2017 by Virginia Tech

In August 2017, the Virginia Tech Department of Biological Systems Engineering (BSE) released two maps showing the range of the number of private wells and the percentage of the population served by private wells for each Virginia county.  As of 8/22/17, the maps are available online at the Virginia Department of Health Web site, at http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/environmental-health/onsite-sewage-water-services/private-well-program/ (scroll down to “How Many Private Wells Are There in Virginia?”); they will eventually be posted on the site of the Virginia Household Water Quality Program, online at http://www.wellwater.bse.vt.edu/.  The maps were created by Jessica Slagle, a student intern with BSE, based on data from the Virginia State Water Resources Plan and the U.S. Census.  For more information, contact Erin Ling, the coordinator of the Household Water Quality Program, at (540) 231-9058 or wellwater@vt.edu.

Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee Final Report Released in August 2017

On August 4, 2017, the final report of the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Advisory Committee was transmitted to the chair of the Virginia State Water Commission and the director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).  A link to the final report, along with other information about the work of the Advisory Committee, is available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/EasternVirginiaGroundwaterManagementAdvisoryCommittee.aspx.

The 2015 Virginia General Assembly passed HB 1924 and SB 1341, companion bills that established this Advisory Committee to assist the State Water Commission and the DEQ in developing, revising, and implementing a management strategy for groundwater in the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area.

The Advisory Committee’s report includes 12 main recommendations, summarized below from pages 9-10 of the report’s Executive Summary:
*Commonwealth to support storage, recovery, and recharge projects;
*Commonwealth to promote development of alternative water sources;
*General Assembly to lengthen the maximum groundwater permit time to 15 years;
*General Assembly to establish incentives for voluntary regional planning efforts;
*General Assembly to create incentives for local government and wellowners to connect to public water supply systems when reasonably available;
*General Assembly to require new non-agricultural irrigation wells only from unconfined aquifers in the Easter Virginia Groundwate Management Area (EVGMA);
*General assembly to encourage use of ponds, including stormwater ponds, for agricultural irrigation;
*DEQ to establish an annual “State of the Water Resources” forum;
*General Assembly to authorize a groundwater banking system;
*General Assembly to direct DEQ to create a framework for an EVGMA groundwater-trading program;
*General Assembly provide funding for a “robust” groundwater management program (directed particularly at seven listed priority activities);
*General Assembly to “fund the essential operation of DEQ to successfully manage the groundwater resources.”

Following are links to some news items on information contained in or related to the advisory committee’s report (listed from newest to oldest):
East of I-95, Virginia Begins to Limit Permitted Groundwater Users, WVTF FM-Roanoke, 8/9/17.
Virginia tightens spigot on big water users to stem Potomac Aquifer decline, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 8/5/17.

On Virginia Water Radio for 8-7-17: Proposed Gas Pipelines and Water Quality Issues

Virginia Water Radio’s episode for the week of August 7, 2017, is “Natural Gas Pipelines, Water Resources, and the Clean Water Act.”  The 5 min./10 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2017/08/episode-380-8-7-17-natural-gas.html, gives an overview of the water resources potential affected by the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley gas pipelines, plus an introduction to the Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification process, the subject of public comment/public hearings in Virginia from August 7-14, 2017.


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!

On Virginia Water Radio for 7-31-17: Exploring Springs, James River Headwaters, and History in Virginia’s Western Highlands

Virginia Water Radio’s episode for the week of July 31, 2017, is “Water at the Heart of Virginia’s Western Highlands.”  The 3 min./57 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2017/07/episode-379-7-31-17-water-at-heart-of.html, explores the four-county region where the James River starts and where thermal springs have attracted visitors since colonial days.

Photo Grouper Warm Springs Water Wheel USED Grouper 7-31-17

Historic water-powered mill wheel on the Waterwheel Restaurant in Warm Springs, Va., July 22, 2017.

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!

An Introduction to the Marshall Islands’ Sea-level Rise and Freshwater Issues, in 6/25/17 PBS NewsHour Video

The effects of sea-level rise on the Marshall Islands are the focus of “Fighting for Freshwater Amid Climate Change,” broadcast on June 25, 2017, on PBS NewsHour.  The 9 minute/57 second video, available online at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/fighting-freshwater-amid-climate-change/, examines how the islands freshwater supplies are being affected by drought and saltwater intrustion from rising sea levels.

The Marshalls are an island nation in the Pacific Ocean; after being under U.S. administration for about 40 years following World War II, the Marshall Islands gained independence in 1986.

Additional source: World Atlas, “Marshall Islands, online at http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/oceania/mh.htm, 6/27/17.

Happy 60th Anniversary in 2017 for the Great Stalacpipe Organ in Virginia’s Luray Caverns

The year 2017 marks the 60th anniversary of  the debut of the Great Stalacpipe Organ in Luray Caverns in Page County, Virginia.  The Great Stalacpipe Organ, created over three years in the 1950s by Leland Sprinkle of Springfield, Virginia, uses rubber-tipped mallets to strike stalactites, which produce sounds with various tones and pitches.

A June 21, 2017, PBS NewsHour segment (2 min./49 sec.) on the organ is available online at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/virginia-cavern-can-play-moonlight-sonata/.

More information on the creator of the organ is available in “Inside the Great Stalacpipe Organ: The World’s Largest Instrument,” by Blake Madden (April 15, 2015), online at http://www.trustmeimascientist.com/2015/04/15/inside-the-great-stalacpipe-organ-the-worlds-largest-instrument/.

For a Virginia Water Radio episode featuring the Great Stalacpipe Organ, please see “In the Cave” by Pepe Deluxé, for Virginia Cave Week (Episode 158, week of 4-22-13; 2 min./56 sec.).

On Virginia Water Radio for 3-27-17: The Virginia Household Water Quality Program Helps Citizens Know Their Water Better

Virginia Water Radio’s latest episode for the week of March 27, 2017, is “Water from Wells, Springs, and Cisterns Gets a Check-up through the Virginia Household Water Quality Program.”  The 4 min./22 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2017/03/episode-361-3-27-17-water-from-wells.html, introduces a Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension program that provides household well-, spring-, and cistern-testing; interpretation of results; and water-management information for Virginia citizens.

PHoto 1 Virginia Household Water Quality clinic ONE box of kits for pickup Mar20 2017 Seitz Hall USED Radio 361

A box of household water-sampling kits awaits pick-up by citizen participants at the March 20, 2017, kickoff for Virginia Household Water Quality’s clinic for the Montgomery County.

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!