Category Archives: Water Supply

Water Conservation at Commercial Car Washes is Focus of Certification Program by International Carwash Association

Following a snowy February 2015, many Virginians may be thinking it’s time to wash the dirt and road salt off of their vehicles.

The WaterSavers® Program of the International Carwash Association promotes reduced use of fresh water, proper handling of the used water, backflow prevention, and cleaning quality at commercial car-wash facilities.  The program Web site, at http://www.carwash.org/watersavers, provides information for businesses to seek certification in the program, and a location tool for consumers to find certified facilities.  More information about the International Carwash Association is available at their main Web site, http://www.carwash.org/, or contact the group at in Chicago at (888) 422-8422; e-mail: info@carwash.org.

U.S. EPA information on water use and management in vehicle washing is available in the EPA’s “WaterSense” program document online (as PDF) at http://www.epa.gov/watersense/commercial/docs/watersense_at_work/#/179/zoomed.

Water and Land Use in Virginia State Government News Releases for Feb. 20—Feb. 26, 2015: Chesapeake Bay Ag BMPs Grant; Ag and Forestry Planning Grants; Block Grants for Water/Sewer Projects in SW Va.; Agricultural Mediation Service; Conservation Corps Snow-emergency Assistance to Town of Appalachia; Invasive Plant List, Consent Order for April 2014 James River Oil Tanker Spill in Lynchburg; Big Game 2014 Harvest Data; Conservation Officer Recruitment through Mar. 15; and Winter Oyster Season Extension

Following are titles and excerpts from Virginia state government news releases for February 20 to February 26, 2015 (as of 4 p.m. on Feb. 26), which relate to water resources or to other natural resource uses with significant potential to affect water.  To access the full text of any release, click on the release title, or (if that link doesn’t work) click on the Web address beside each agency name to go to that agency’s archive of releases.

GOVERNOR’S OFFICE – https://governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/news-releases/

Virginia Receives Federal Grant to Advance Chesapeake Bay Cleanup; Funds will go toward agricultural best practices, 2/26/15. Excerpt: “…Virginia has been selected to receive a federal grant to accelerate the implementation of practices related to Chesapeake Bay cleanup goals. Virginia will receive $1.75 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service….   Specifically, the funds will be used over the next four years to expand the use of fencing and other techniques designed to prevent livestock from wading into streams and fouling water quality. The funds will be concentrated in the areas of Virginia where tributary streams drain to the Chesapeake Bay. The majority of Virginia’s grant—$1.45 million—will be paid out to farmers directly. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will receive the remaining $300,000, which will be distributed to the Virginia Department of Forestry and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to provide technical assistance in establishing forested buffers on agricultural land.”

Governor McAuliffe Announces Agriculture, Forestry Planning Grants for Orange County, City of Richmond, 2/25/15. Excerpt: “Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today the award of two planning grants from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID).  Projects in Orange County and the City of Richmond have been awarded $40,000 to support the growth of agricultural and forestry projects in the Commonwealth. … The AFID planning grant program, funded annually at $250,000, was developed to encourage localities to plan strategically how they can better support and integrate agriculture- and forestry-based businesses into their overall economic development and job creation efforts. Since its creation in 2012, AFID planning grants have been awarded to 25 projects in 50 localities across the Commonwealth, leveraging more than $505,000 in funding.”

Governor McAuliffe Announces More Than $3 Million in Community Development Block Grant Funding, 2/25/15. Excerpt: “…$3 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) [will go to] the counties of Dickenson, Scott, York, Lee and Fauquier, as well as the town of Clarksville and the city of Franklin. Projects include water and sewer, downtown revitalization, and microenterprise. … Since 1982, the federally-funded CDBG program has been administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), and Virginia receives approximately $17 million annually for this grant program. CDBG grants are awarded through a competitive process.  Most projects benefit low- and moderate-income persons….” The awards for water and sewer projects are as follows: Dickenson County, Centennial Heights/Clinchco Sewer Line Project, $300,000; Lee County, Baileytown Water Project, $100,000; and Scott County, Big Stoney Creek Water Project, $412,500.

DEPT. OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES – http://vdacs.virginia.gov/news/press.shtml

Agriculture Mediation Services Available for Farm-related Disputes, 2/23/15. Excerpt: “…[A]gricultural mediation services are now available to Virginia’s agriculture community through a partnership with the North Carolina Agriculture Mediation Program (NCAMP), which operates out of Western Carolina University. Known as FARM-VA, the program is certified through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency. Although the Virginia agricultural mediation program is based in North Carolina, mediations are held in the county where the parties work or reside. … FARM-VA helps settle disputes between USDA agencies and their customers and clients.”

DEPT. OF CONSERVATION AND RECREATION – http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/pr_relz.shtml#prarch

Virginia State Parks crew providing emergency assistance to the Town of Appalachia, 2/26/15. Excerpt: A Virginia Service and Conservation Corps (VSCC) crew from Virginia State Parks has deployed to the Town of Appalachia in Wise County, to assist snowbound residents. This is the first time a Virginia State Parks VSCC crew is providing assistance to a local community. The Virginia State Parks VSCC was created in November 2014 to assist with large projects in parks—trail creation and maintenance, for example—but also to serve as a quick-response team for communities in general. … Assistance for the town of Appalachia was requested and efforts were coordinated by Virginia’s Office of Volunteer and Community Service, Virginia State Parks, and Glen “Skip” Skinner, Executive Director of LENOWISCO Planning District Commission.”

Kudzu and bamboo and privet! Oh my! New list identifies invasive plants in Virginia, 2/25/15. Excerpt: “…English ivy, golden bamboo or Japanese barberry—and 87 other [plants]—are on the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s new list of non-native invasive plants of the state. … The list is for educational purposes only and has no regulatory authority. … Invasive plants can displace native plant species, reduce wildlife habitat and alter ecosystems. They threaten natural areas, parks and forests. In the United States, they cost an estimated $34 billion annually in economic loss.

DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY – http://www.deq.virginia.gov/ConnectWithDEQ/NewsReleases.aspx

Proposed consent order imposes $361,000 penalty on CSX in response to James River tanker fire, 2/13/15. Excerpt: The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has proposed a consent order in response to the derailment of a railcar that caught fire in the James River in Lynchburg on April 30, 2014. The order imposes a $361,000 civil charge against tanker car owner CSX Transportation Inc. An investigation by DEQ and CSX determined that of the more than 29,000 gallons of crude oil in the breached tanker, approximately 98 percent was consumed in the fire. DEQ checked water quality for several days along the river from Lynchburg to Richmond and observed no other environmental concerns at the time. … The consent order, to which CSX has agreed, also calls for CSX to pay more than $18,500 for DEQ’s investigative costs following the oil spill. In addition, CSX will complete restoration of the James River bank in the area of the derailment and conduct monitoring of the river to determine if there are any long-term environmental impacts from the incident. The public has until March 25, 2015, to submit comments on the order before it goes to the State Water Control Board for final approval.”

DEPT. OF GAME AND INLAND FISHERIEShttp://www.dgif.virginia.gov/news/

Deer, Bear, Turkey Harvest Data Announced, 2/23/15. Excerpt: “While Virginia deer and turkey harvests reflected a decline from last year, the black bear harvest reached record numbers. … A bumper crop of acorns across the state coupled with management actions to meet population objectives and some higher than normal disease mortality all factored into fluctuations in populations and harvest trends.”

Virginia Conservation Police Recruitment Effort Underway, 2/23/15. Excerpt: The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is currently conducting a recruitment effort to hire up to 36 conservation police officers to be assigned to various duty stations across the Commonwealth. Virginia Conservation Police officers (CPOs) have full police authority with statewide jurisdiction. CPOs primarily enforce the fish, wildlife and boating laws…. Applications will be accepted until 5:00pm, March 13th 2015.”

MARINE RESOURCES COMMISSION – http://www.mrc.virginia.gov/whatsnew.shtm

Winter Oyster Season Extension: [At its monthly meeting on 2/24/15], the Marine Resources Commission “agreed to extend the winter oyster season by almost two weeks because of snow and ice that have kept harvesters off the water for most of February. In other action the Commission suspended the sale of oyster hand scrape and dredge licenses until further notice in order to keep harvest levels from expanding from increased fishing effort.” A summary of the 2/24/15 meeting is available online at http://www.mrc.virginia.gov/Commission_Summaries/cs0215.shtm.


NO RELEASES DURING THIS PERIOD

Dept. of Forestry – http://www.dof.virginia.gov/press/index.htm

Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries – http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/news/

Dept. of Mines, Minerals and Energy – http://www.dmme.virginia.gov/DMME/Newsroom.shtml

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending February 24, 2015

Below are images showing precipitation in Virginia and other areas of the southeastern United States, and stream flow in Virginia, over the seven-day period ending February 24, 2015.  (For monthly reviews of precipitation, stream flow, and drought, please see the News Grouper 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/.

Precipitation

The following maps show southeastern U.S. precipitation amounts (top map) and the percent of normal precipitation for the given location at this time of year (bottom map) over the past seven days.   The maps were accessed on 2/25/15 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Southeast Regional Climate Center, located at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill; online at http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/precip_maps.  As of 2/25/15, these data are provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).

Precip Feb 24Precip perc Feb 24
 

For another precipitation-information source: The National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, 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.  As an example, shown below is the map of one-day precipitation ending at 7 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on February 25, 2015.  (Please note that UTC, the time shown on the map below, is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and four hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.)

Precip National Feb25

 

Stream Flow

Average Virginia stream flow over week ending February 24, 2015, is indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia (online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/classic.php?m=pa07d&r=va&w=mv01d%2Cmap, accessed 2/25/15).  The map compares the previous week’s average stream flows at 81 stream-gaging stations in Virginia and just beyond the state border to the normal flow levels for that week over the historical record for each gaging station.  (Please note: the USGS map for the average 7-day flow in Virginia usually has readings from about 140 stations.  But according to the USGS, about 60 stations during the 7-day period ending 2/24/15  were affected by ice, so a seven-day average could not be calculated. The empty circles on the map below indicate those stations.)   The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS to compare flows to historical records are as shown in the following chart (the higher the percentile and the “bluer” the color, the higher the flow relative to normal for the site and time of year).

KEEP ON DESK _ Stream Flow Chart

streams Feb 25

 

 

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending February 16-17, 2015, Plus a Mid-Month Drought Assessment

Below are images showing precipitation in Virginia and other areas of the southeastern United States over the seven-day period ending February 17, 2015, and stream flow in Virginia over the seven-day period ending February 16.  Also below is a map showing the status of drought indicators in Virginia as of February 18.  The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned below for providing precipitation and stream-flow information and images.   For monthly reviews of precipitation, stream flow, and drought, please see the News Grouper 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/.

Precipitation

The following maps show southeastern U.S. precipitation amounts (top map) and the percent of normal precipitation for the given location at this time of year (bottom map) over the seven-day period ending February 17, 2015.   The maps were accessed on 2/18/15 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Southeast Regional Climate Center, located at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill; online at http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/precip_maps.  As of 2/18/15, these data are provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).

Precip Feb17

Precip perc FEb 17

 

For another precipitation-information source: The National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, 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. As an example, shown below is the map of one-day precipitation ending at 7 a.m. EST on February 18, 2015. (Please note that UTC, the time shown on the map below, is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and four hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.)

Precip national Feb 18

 

Stream Flow

Average Virginia stream flow over week ending February 16, 2015, is indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia (online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/classic.php?m=pa07d&r=va&w=mv01d%2Cmap, accessed 2/18/15).   The map compares the previous week’s average stream flows at 139 stream-gaging stations in Virginia and just beyond the state border to the normal flow levels for that week over the historical record for each gaging station.  The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS to compare flows to historical records are as follows (the higher the percentile and the “bluer” the color, the higher the flow relative to normal for the site and time of year).
KEEP ON DESK _ Stream Flow Chart

 

 

 

Streams Feb 16

 

Drought Update

The Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force, a collaboration of state and federal agencies, issued its most recent Drought Status Report on January 9, 2015 (as of 2-18-15).  The report typically includes information from some or all of the following agencies: University of Virginia Climatology Office, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the Virginia departments of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Health, and Environmental Quality.  Task Force reports and other current drought-status information are available online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterSupplyWaterQuantity/Drought.aspx.

The Drought Monitoring Task Force also produces a daily map rating groundwater levels (GW), precipitation deficits (Prcp), reservoir storage (Res), and stream flow (Flow) conditions across the Commonwealth. In each area, a color code indicates “normal,” “watch,” “warning,” or “emergency conditions.”  Shown below is the February 18, 2015.  Any given day’s current map and more information on the ratings are available the Task Force Web site listed above.
Drought VA Feb 18

 

 

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending February 10, 2015

Below are images showing precipitation in Virginia and other areas of the southeastern United States, and stream flow in Virginia, over the seven-day period ending February 10, 2015.  The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned below for providing precipitation and stream-flow information and images.  For monthly reviews of precipitation, stream flow, and drought, please see the News Grouper 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/.

Precipitation

The following maps show southeastern U.S. precipitation amounts (top map) and the percent of normal precipitation for the given location at this time of year (bottom map) over the seven-day period ending February 10, 2015.   The maps were accessed on 2/11/15 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Southeast Regional Climate Center, located at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill; online at http://www.sercc.com/climateinfo/precip_maps.  As of 2/11/15, these data are provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).
Precip Feb10Precip perc Feb 10


For another precipitation-information source:
The National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, 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. As an example, shown below is the map of one-day precipitation ending at 7 a.m. EST on February 11, 2015. (Please note that UTC, the time shown on the map below, is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and four hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.)
Precip national map Feb 11

 

Stream Flow

Average Virginia stream flow over week ending February 10, 2015, is indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia (online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/classic.php?m=pa07d&r=va&w=mv01d%2Cmap, accessed 2/11/15).  The map compares the previous week’s average stream flows at 140 stream-gaging stations in Virginia and just beyond the state border to the normal flow levels for that week over the historical record for each gaging station.  The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS to compare flows to historical records are as follows (the higher the percentile and the “bluer” the color, the higher the flow relative to normal for the site and time of year).

KEEP ON DESK _ Stream Flow ChartStreams FEb 10

 

 

Dan River Coal Ash Spill of February 2, 2014, One Year Later

February 2, 2015, marked the one-year anniversary of the Dan River coal-ash spill that resulted from the collapse of a stormwater pipe under a coal-ash storage basin at the Duke Energy’s Dan River Station in Eden, North Carolina.  The break spilled an estimated 39,000 tons of coal ash from the ash-storage basin into the Dan River.

After the initial emergency phase, the impacts of the spill continued to be closely watched and reported, particularly in Danville, Va., and Greensboro, N.C.  A year later, the environmental impacts seemed to have been limited to certain areas, and signs of recovery had been observed by scientists, but longer-term impacts were still possible and continued to be monitored.  The spill also had financial, political, legal/regulatory consequences, particularly in North Carolina, and as of February 2015, a grand jury was still investigating possible civil or criminal charges.

A comprehensive account of the incident, its background, and its consequences over the past year is available in The Day the River Turned Gray—The Dan River Coal Ash Disaster, Greensboro News-Record, 2/1/15.

An  extensive Water Central News Grouper post on the incident, including a compilation of news articles between February 2014 and February 2015, is available at this link.

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

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 is $49.  In 2015, the program is offering about 40 clinics for citizens in about 60 Virginia localities.  A list of upcoming clinics in 2015 is available at this Web site: http://www.wellwater.bse.vt.edu/events.php.

Meanwhile, as of February 2015, the Virginia Master Well Owner network has nearly 200 members—volunteers and 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 http://www.wellwater.bse.vt.edu, or contact the coordinator of the programs, Erin James Ling, at (540) 231-9058 or wellwater@vt.edu.