Category Archives: Stormwater

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

On Virginia Water Radio for the Week of 4-15-19: Stormwater in Markers and Murals

Virginia Water Radio’s latest episode, for the week of April 15, 2019, is “Adding a Splash of Color to Stormwater Management.   The 4 min./33 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2019/04/episode-468-4-15-19-adding-splash-of.html, focuses on storm-drain marking and the storm drain mural competition in Blacksburg, Va.  The episode was created and written by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center’s Spring 2019 intern, Lily Michaud, who is also the guest voice in the episode.  It features part of “Storm,” composed by Torrin Hallett.

468 Image 3 Storm Mural Clay Street near Police Station Blacksburg Apr15 2019
Storm drain mural on Clay Street in Blacksburg, Va., April 15, 2019.

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!

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.

On Virginia Water Radio for 4-24-17: Middle Schoolers Make the Call on the Water Cycle, Watersheds, and Stormwater

Virginia Water Radio’s latest episode, for the week of April 24, 2017, is “Where’s Stormwater Get Started?  Ask a Middle Schooler!”  The 3 min./53 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2017/04/episode-365-4-24-17-wheres-stormwater.html, gives Virginia citizens a water cycle and watershed vocabulary quiz, called out by Christiansburg Middle School students attending a local Stormwater Education Day on April 12, 2017.

Stormwater Education Day CMS at Izaak Walton Apr12 2017 USED Radio 365

Learning stations ready for Christiansburg (Va.) Middle School students at Stormwater Education Day, held by Montgomery County Schools and the Town of Christiansburg on April 12, 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!

Virginia’s and the Nation’s Infrastructure Gets Graded by the American Society of Civil Engineers – 2017 Edition

Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) publishes a “report card” on the state of engineered infrastructure in the United States.  The report covers infrastructure in aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, energy, hazardous waste, inland waterways, levees, ports, public parks and recreation, rail, roads, school facilities, solid waste, transit, and wastewater.  The latest national report (as of March 13, 2017) gave a grade of D+, the same as the grade in 2013.  The report estimated the cost of making necessary infrastructure improvements at $4.59 trillion, compared to the 2013 estimate of $3.6 trillion.  The full national report for 2017 is available online at http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/.  A chart of results from previous reports–back to 1998–is available online at http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/making-the-grade/report-card-history/.

According to the “What Makes a Grade” section  of the Report Card Web site, grades were assigned based on capacity to meet current and future demand, condition, funding, future needs, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation.  The grades are described as follows: A = exceptional; B = good; C = mediocre; D = poor; F = failing.

The 2017 national report also includes reports for each state.  As of 3/13/17, the Virginia assessment was a 2015 report compiled by the Virginia Section of the ASCE (ASCE-Va.).  The Virginia report is available at http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/state-item/virginia/.  The Virginia report give the Commonwealth an overall grade of C- (compared to a D+ in 2009), and the following category grades: bridges = C; dams = C; drinking water = C; parks = C+; rail and transit = C-; roads = D; school facilities = C-; solid waste = B-; stormwater = C-; and wastewater = D+.

News item related to Virginia report in 2015: Virginia infrastructure earns grade of C-, Capital News Service, 1/21/15.

Other sources of information on infrastructure needs in Virginia and elsewhere:

National Bridge Inventory Database, online at http://nationalbridges.com/.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, “CorpsMap—National Inventory of Dams, online at http://nid.usace.army.mil/cm_apex/f?p=838:12.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Clean Watesheds Needs Survey 2012 Report to Congress,” available online at https://www.epa.gov/cwns.  According to this Web site, this report is an “assessment of capital investment needed nationwide for publicly-owned wastewater collection and treatment facilities to meet the water quality goals of the Clean Water Act.”

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment (Fifth Report to Congress,” EPA 816-R-013-006, April 2013), available online at https://www.epa.gov/tribaldrinkingwater/drinking-water-infrastructure-needs-survey-and-assessment-fifth-report-congress.

Virginia Department of Transportation, “VTrans 2025: Virginia’s Statewide Multimodal Long-range Transportation Plan” (November 17, 2004): available online (as PDF) at http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/vtrans/resources/revisedPhase3Reportforctb.pdf.

Virginia General Assembly joint subcommittee reports on school construction:
1) “Report on the Level of Assistance to Localities Necessary for Developing Adequate K-12 Schools Infrastructure,” House Document 5 for 2005 (published February 2005): available online at http://leg2.state.va.us/DLS/h&sdocs.nsf/a762cd2685f84d7a85256f030053196e/8e7c1e3d13b4f07185256ec500553c48?OpenDocument.

2) “K-12 School Infrastructure,” House Document 2 for2006 (published November 2005); available online at http://leg2.state.va.us/DLS/h&sdocs.nsf/a762cd2685f84d7a85256f030053196e/fec93d6935f5541285257082005f7768?OpenDocument.

Infrastructure cartoon

Cartoon that accompanied a February 2010 Virginia Water Central newsletter article on the 2009 infrastructure report by the American Society of Civil Engineers-Virginia Section.  Illustration by George Wills, Blacksburg, Va. (http://www.etsy.com/people/BlacksburgArt).