Category Archives: Stormwater

Includes items about surface runoff, stormwater pollution, and floods.

Virginia Small MS4s General Permit Under Review in Early 2018; Dept. Env. Quality Public Hearings in February

In early 2018, the Virginia State Water Control Board and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) are considering amendments to the general permit for stormwater discharges from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s).

Public hearings on the proposed amendments will be held Feb. 9, 2018, 9:30 a.m., at the DEQ Northern Regional Office, 13901 Crown Court in Woodbridge (Prince William County); Feb. 12, 2018, 2 p.m., at the DEQ Central Office, 1111 East Main Street in Richmond; and Feb. 14, 2018, 1 p.m., at the DEQ Blue Ridge Regional Office, 3019 Peters Creek Road Roanoke (the dates are hyperlinked to Virginia Regulatory Town Hall information about the meetings).  The public comment period runs 1/8/18 to 3/9/18.

The pertinent part of the Virginia Administrative Code is Section 9 VAC 25-890 (formerly Part XV, Sect. 4 VAC 50-60).  The proposed amendments were published in the Virginia Register of Regulations on January 8, 2018.  More information about this regulatory action is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewaction.cfm?actionid=4583&display=stages.  According to the DEQ’s Action Summary at that site, ‘the general permit governs local governments and state and federal agencies that discharge stormwater from municipally owned separate storm sewer systems located within the Census Urbanized Area as determined by the Bureau of Census.  In addition, a periodic/small business impact review of this regulation will be conducted as part of this regulatory action.”

The DEQ’s Web site for the Virginia Stormwater Management Program is http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/StormwaterManagement.aspx.

James River Association Issues 2017 “State of the James” Report in October 2017

On October 26, 2017, the James River Association (JRA) released its latest “State of the James” biennial report on the James River.  The report gave the river a cumulative score of 62 out of 100, rating a “B-.”  The cumulative score includes several factors that receive individual scores; the scores represent the percentage achieved toward numeric goals for each factor.  The 2017 score was an increase of 10 points since the first report in 2007 and of 3 points since the 2015 report.

The reports for 2017 and those for previous years are online at https://jrava.org/about-the-james-river/state-of-the-james/, as of 10/27/17; or contact the JRA at 4833 Old Main Street, 4th Floor, Richmond, VA 23231; (804) 788-8811; info@jamesriverassociation.org.

Below is the list of all the factors rated in 2017, with the 2017 scores and whether the rating indicated improvement or deterioration since 2015.

WILDLIFE
Bald Eagle Breeding Pairs = 100% (no change)
Striped Bass (Rockfish) Spawning Index = 59% (no change)
Oyster Abundance = 47% (no change)
Smallmouth Bass Abundance = 93 (improvement)
American Shad Abundance = 11% (improvement)
Brook Trout Ragne = 74% (improvement)

HABITAT
Underwater Grasses Abundance = 26% (deterioration)
Riverine Forest Cover = 94% (improvement)
Stream Condition Index = 59% (improvement)
Tidal Water Quality (algae, dissolved oxygen, and water clarity) = 62% (improvement)
Vegetated Stream Buffer Restoration = 32% (improvement)

POLLUTION
Agricultural Pollution Controls = 48% (improvement)
Bacteria Reduction = 49% (not in 2015 report)
Sediment Pollution Reduction = 46% (improvement)
Nitrogen Pollution Reduction = 52% (deterioration)
Phosphorus Pollution Reduction = 77% (deterioriation)
Stormwater Pollution Controls = 41% (improvement)
Wastewater Pollution Reduction = 118% (improvement)

LAND CONSERVATION
Land  Protection = 88% (improvement)

Additional Source:
James River Health Improves 10 Points in 10 Years, James River Association News Release, 10/26/17.

News media accounts on the 2017 State of the James report:
James River health improving overall, but more work needed, report says, Daily Press, 10/26/17.
James River health grade improves but more work to do, WVTF FM-Blacksburg, 10/26/17.
From a C to a B-minus in a decade, James River water quality remains a work in progress, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10/27/17.
After decades of progress, James River earns a B- in latest report, Bay Journal, 11/1/17.

For a previous News Grouper items a State of the James report (2011), please see this link.

James River at Eagle Rock Botetourt County Jul22 2017 looking downstream
James River at Eagle Rock, Va. (Botetourt County), July 22, 2017.

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.

VIMS Approved for $835,000 Coastal Resilience Grant from NOAA in July 2017

On July 14, 2017, Va. Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) will receive an $834,991 Coastal Resilience Grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  According to the governor’s office news release on the award, the funded project aims “to reduce the impacts of storm flooding through natural and nature-based infrastructure in the Commonwealth. …The VIMS project will address flooding issues across coastal Virginia by developing informative tools that allow local planners in 37 coastal counties to determine suitable areas to implement natural infrastructure solutions.  These funds will help support a $1.2 million project to improve flooding conditions in the region.”

The VIMS project was one of 19 proposals selected nationwide and the only one in the Middle Atlantic region.  Collaborators on the project will be the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at the College of William and Mary Law School; the non-profit organization Wetlands Watch, headquartered in Norfolk; the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership, hosted by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality; and several state agencies.

Source: Virginia to Receive $834,991 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to Reduce Impacts of Storm Flooding, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 7/14/17.

Virginia Stormwater Local Assistance Fund Grants for 2017

In May 2017, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Director David Paylor approved the recipients for Fiscal Year 2017 grants from Virginia’s Stormwater Local Assistance Fund.  Forty-one projects in 26 localities were authorized for a total of $19,855,948.  Activites funded included stream restoration and stabilization, wetlands construction, detention/retention pond construction or modification, swale modification, woodland restoration, and replacement of impervious surface with permeable pavers.

Localities authorized for FY 2017 grants were the following.
Counties
Albemarle, Chesterfield, Fairfax, Hanover, Henrico, James City, Loudoun, Prince William, Roanoke, Stafford.

Cities
Alexandria, Chesapeake, Hampton, Lynchburg, Manassas Park, Newport News, Portsmouth, Roanoke, Virginia Beach.

Towns (with county location)
Ashland (Hanover County), Broadway (Rockingham County), Christiansburg (Montgomery County), Dumfries (Prince William County), Elkton (Rockingham County), Vienna (Fairfax County), Warsaw (Richmond County).

More information on the fund and the funded projects is available from the DEQ online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/CleanWaterFinancingAssistance/StormwaterFundingPrograms.aspx.

Stormwater Rain Garden planters UNDER CONSTRUCTION College Ave Blacksburg Jun13 2013

Stormwater rain-garden planters under construction in downtown Blacksburg, Va., June 13, 2013.

EPA Stormwater Management Model was Focus of Two-day Workshop August 14-15, 2017, in Richmond, Va.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Storm Water Management Model (EPA-SWMM) was the focus of “Modeling Green Infrastructure with EPA-SWMM,”  a two-day workshop, Aug. 14-15, 2017, at the Virginia Tech Richmond Center, 2810 North Parham Road in Richmond.  The workshop was organized by Virginia Cooperative Extension.  According to the workshop Web site, the aim was “provide professionals in the stormwater management field with a detailed understanding of a public domain hydrologic/hydraulic modeling tool, EPA-SWMM, …and its use in design of practices intended to control and mitigate the negative effects of urban runoff.”  Day 1 provided an introduction to EPA-SWMM for design of best management practices (BMPs), particularly green infrastructure-based BMPs.  Day 2 focused on using SWMM in land design, calibration, water quality, and other areas.

For more information, visit http://register.ext.vt.edu/search/publicCourseSearchDetails.do?method=load&courseId=35826&selectedProgramAreaId=25575&selectedProgramStreamId.

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 Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund – Applications for Fiscal Year 2018 Due by July 14, 2017

July 14, 2017, is the deadline to apply to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for financial assistance in Fiscal Year 2018 through the Virginia Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund (VCWRLF).  The DEQ’s Web site for the FY 2018 program is online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/CleanWaterFinancingAssistance/FY2017AnnualSolicitation.aspx.

Here is an excerpt from that Web site:

“VCWRLF applications are being solicited for projects that involve improvements to publicly-owned wastewater collection and treatment facilities, installation of publicly-owned stormwater best management practices, projects for the remediation of contaminated brownfield properties and land conservation projects.  Eligible Brownfield loan recipients are units of local government, public service authorities, partnerships or corporations, and eligible land conservation recipients are state and local governments, public service authorities, and registered nonprofit organizations.

“Special consideration may be give to projects that meet the Green Project Reserve guidelines (online as a PDF at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Portals/0/DEQ/Water/ConstructionAssistanceProgram/Green_Project_Reserve_Info.pdf?ver=2014-03-07-182359-110).

“Finally, we are also accepting applications for Living Shoreline projects.  Local governments (which are the only eligible applicants for this program) can either apply for financial assistance in order to directly establish living shorelines themselves or establish a local government funding program for individual citizens to establish living shorelines on their properties to protect or improve water quality.  We anticipate that the [State Water Control Board] should have over $100 million in funds available for distribution during FY 2018.  Should demand for good water quality or public health related projects exceed availability, these funds may be leveraged in the municipal bond market to increase the amount of assistance available.”

The DEQ expects to present a proposed funding list to the Virginia State Water Control Board in September or October 2017.

Application details are available online at the Web site listed above.  For more information, contact Walter Gills, Va. DEQ, P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA 23218; phone: (804) 698-4133; e-mail: walter.gills@deq.virginia.gov.