Clean Water Rule/Waters of the United States Rule of 2015 – Public Comment Period through Sept. 27, 2017, on Proposed Rescinding

On June 27, 2017, the Trump Administration announced a proposed repeal of the  Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the United States rule, with a potential revised rule to follow at a future date.  On February 28, the Administration had issued a On February 28, the EPA issued a Notice of Intention to Review and Rescind or Revise the Clean Water Rule,  the Notice is available online at https://www.epa.gov/cleanwaterrule/notice-intention-review-and-rescind-or-revise-clean-water-rule).

The repeal would reinstate the jurisdictional rule in place in 1986 and a guidance issued in 2008, following the Supreme Court’s Rapanos decision in 2006.  Information on the proposed repeal is available online at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0203-0001.  Following official posting on July 27, 2017, of the proposal to rescind, the proposal initially had a 30-day public comment period through August 27, but the comment period was extended until September 27.

The rule, regarding what waters fall under the jurisdiction of the federal Clean Water Act, was issued by the Obama administration in May 2015, but in October 2015 the Appeals Court issued a stay on implementation of the rule, pending the outcome of several federal lawsuits challenging the U.S. EPA over the rule.  For more on the latest developments on this rule, see the U.S. EPA Web site, “Clean Water Rule,” online at https://www.epa.gov/cleanwaterrule.

Click here for more detailed News Grouper post on the Clean Water Rule.

On Virginia Water Radio for 9-18-17: Water Past and Present in the Craig County, Va., Community of Paint Bank

Virginia Water Radio’s episode for the week of September 11, 2017, is “Water and History in Paint Bank, Va.”  The 3 min./45 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2017/09/episode-386-9-18-17-water-and-history.html, takes listeners on a visit to a western Virginia community whose name and development were stream-driven.

386 photo - Tinglers Mill info sign Sep4 2017
Information sign at Tingler’s Mill in Paint Bank, Va., photographed Sep. 4, 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!

Hurricane Irma Information Sources as of Sep. 13, 2017

Hurricane Irma observed rain totals and wind reports, through 11 p.m. EDT on September 11, 2017, are available from the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center at College Park, Md., online at http://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/winter_storm_summaries/storm20/stormsum_7.html.

National Hurricane Center (NHC) information on Irma is available online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2017/IRMA.shtml?.

The NHC Web site for current advisories, tracks, etc., of tropical storms is http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/index.shtml.

Following are links to some southeastern U.S. news media sources that covered Irma:
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, online at http://www.ajc.com/;
Key West Citizen, online at https://keysnews.com/;
[Jacksonville] Florida Times-Union, online at http://jacksonville.com/;
Miami Herald, online at http://www.miamiherald.com/;
Puerto Rico Monitor (English), online at http://puertoricomonitor.blogspot.com.au/;
Tampa Tribune, online at http://www.tbo.com/;
Virgin Islands Daily News, online at http://www.virginislandsdailynews.com/.

Following are links to other sources of information on Irma:
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): https://www.fema.gov/hurricane-irma.
Governor of Alabama: http://governor.alabama.gov/irma;
Governor of Florida news releases: http://www.flgov.com/?s=Irma;
Governor of Georgia news releases: https://gov.georgia.gov/press-releases/2017.

Below is a graph of Irma’s wind history, taken from the NHC Web site at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/2017/IRMA_graphics.php; followed by a satellite photo of Irma on September 7, as the storm was moving across the northern Caribbean Sea islands and heading towards Florida (landfall there on September 12).

Irma windsIrma

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Sep. 14-Sep. 27, 2017

For more information, click on underlined meeting dates. Click here for the Commonwealth Calendar listing of all government meetings open to the public, and here for the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall listing of all government meetings of a regulatory nature.

For other, non-governmental, events, please see the Water Central News Grouper post, Quick Guide to Virginia Water-related Events.

REGULAR MEETINGS OF STATEWIDE BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

9/14/17, 9:30 a.m.: Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects.  At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

9/19/17, 10:30 a.m.: Land Conservation Foundation Board of Trustees.  At the Patrick Henry Building, East Reading Room, 1111 East Broad Street in Richmond.

9/21/17, 9:30 a.m.: Air Pollution Control Board.  At the Department of Environmental Quality Main Office, 629 East Main Street in Richmond.

9/21/17, 10 a.m.: Board of Conservation and Recreation.  In the Water’s Edge Meeting Facility at Claytor Lake State Park in Dublin (Pulaski County).

9/21/17, 10 a.m.: Department of Health’s Waterworks Advisory Committee.  At Sydnor Hydro, Inc., 2111 Magnolia Street in Richmond.

9/22/17, 10 a.m.: Virginia Nuclear Energy Consortium Authority.  In House Room 1 of the Capitol Building, 1000 Bank Street in Richmond.

9/26/17, 9:30 a.m.: Marine Resources Commission.  At 2600 Washington Avenue in Newport News.

9/26/17, 11 a.m.: Soil and Water Conservation Board.  At Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, 4201 Dominion Boulevard in Glen Allen (Henrico County).

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VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY WATER-RELATED MEETINGS

For meetings of legislative committees and commissions, see http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?171+oth+MTG.  Links to information about General Assembly commissions, councils, and special interim committees coordinated by the Division of Legislative Services are available online at http://dls.virginia.gov/commissions.html.

9/19/17, 10 a.m.: Joint Commission on Technology and Science.  At Denbigh Aviation Academy Work Group, E300-A Conference Room, Pocahontas Building, 900 East Main Street in Richmond.

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MEETINGS ABOUT TOTAL MAXIMUM DAILY LOADS (or TMDLs) for IMPAIRED WATERS

For more information about TMDLs in Virginia, click here for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality TMDL Web site; click on “Public Notices” in the menu to the left to access upcoming meetings and public-comment periods.  A search tool to find approved TMDL reports is available at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs/TMDL/TMDLDevelopment/ApprovedTMDLReports.aspx.

9/19/17, 1:30 p.m., on the watershed plan related to aquatic life (benthic) impairment in Cunningham Creek and its tributaries plus bacterial impairment in Middle Ford Cunningham Creek, all located in the James River basin in Fluvanna County.  At the Fluvanna County Public Library, 214 Commons Boulevard in Palmyra.  These waterways were the subject of a TMDL study that began in February 2016, but in May 2017 the TMDL study was suspended and a watershed plan will be developed instead.

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MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Agriculture/Forestry
9/27/17, 10 a.m.: Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Pollinator Protection Advisory Committee.  In House Room 1 of the Capitol Building, 1000 Bank Street in Richmond.

Air-Water Connections
9/20/17, 2 p.m.: Air Pollution Control Board/Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public hearing on a draft new source review permit for Fareva Richmond, Inc.  At the DEQ Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen (Henrico County).  This permit would replace an existing state operating permit for two aerosol can filling lines.  The public comment period runs 8/9/17 to 9/20/17.

Biosolids (Treated Sewage Sludge) Land-application Permit Requests
9/21/17, 6 p.m.: On the permit application by Houff’s Feed & Fertilizer Co., Inc., of Weyers Cave, Va., to land-apply biosolids to about 858 additional acres in Rockbridge County.  At the Rockbridge County Administration Building-Cooperative Extension Office, 150 South Main Street in Lexington.

Coastal Flooding
9/25/17, 1 p.m.: Joint Subcommittee to Formulate Recommendations to Address Recurrent Flooding.  In Room W011 of the Pocahontas Building, 900 East Main Street in Richmond.  The subcommittee was created by the 2014 Virginia General Assembly (HJR 16 and SJR 3) to make recommendations for a comprehensive planning effort to address recurrent flooding in Virginia’s Tidewater and Eastern Shore, particularly as climate change is expected to increase extreme weather events.  Information on the work of this subcommittee is available from the Division of Legislative Services, online at http://dls.virginia.gov/interim_studies_flooding.html; and in a July 23, 2014, news release from the chair of the subcommittee, Del. Chris Stolle (R-83rd) of Virginia Beach, online at http://chrisstolle.com/chris-stolle-elected-as-chair-of-general-assembly-joint-subcommittee-on-recurrent-flooding.

Fort Monroe
9/14/17, 1 p.m.: Fort Monroe Authority Board of Trustees’ Finance Committee.  At Building 83, 20 Ingalls Road in Fort Monroe (adjacent to the City of Hampton).  In 2011, the Virginia General Assembly (Senate Bill 1400) established the Fort Monroe Authority to manage the historic areas of Fort Monroe and Old Point Comfort—at the confluence of Hampton Roads with the Chesapeake Bay—after the federal government closed its military facilities there.  Fort Monroe had been a U.S. military base since 1836.  In 2011, the area was designated as Fort Monroe National Monument (http://www.nps.gov/fomr/index.htm).  More information about Fort Monroe and the Authority is available online at http://www.fmauthority.com/.

Land and Watershed Management
9/14/17, 10 a.m.: Department of Taxation’s Land Evaluation Advisory Council.  At the Department of Forestry, 900 Natural Resources in Charlottesville.  According to the Virginia Code, Sec. 58.1-3829, the “Advisory Council shall determine and publish a range of suggested values for each of the several soil conservation service land capability classifications for agricultural, horticultural, forest and open space uses in the various areas of the Commonwealth….”  Those values are used in assessing properties that qualify for use-value taxation in those land classifications.

Ports
9/25/17 and 9/26/17 – Virginia Port Authority meetings.  9/25/17, 1 p.m.: Investment Committee;  9/25/17, 2 p.m.: Growth and Operations Committee; 9/25/17, 4 p.m.: Finance and Audit Committee; 9/25/17, 5 p.m.: Executive Committee; 9/26/17, 9 a.m.: Board of Commissioners.  All at 600 World Trade Center, 101 West Main Street in Norfolk.

Resource Management Mapping and Planning
9/15/17, 1 p.m.: Soil and Water Conservation Board’s Resource Management Plan Implementation Stakeholder Advisory Group.  At the Patrick Henry Building, East Reading Room, 1111 East Broad Street in Richmond.  According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice for this meeting, “Item 364 Q of the 2017 Appropriations Act requires the Department of Conservation and Recreation [DCR] to establish a stakeholder group to examine the funding, training, and resource needs, as well as explore new incentives, for additional implementation of Resource Management Plans.”  DCR information on resource management planning is available online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/soil-and-water/rmp.  For more information about the advisory group, contact Christine Watlington, DCR Senior Policy and Planning Analyst, 600 East Main Street, 24th Floor, Richmond, 23219; phone (804)786-3319; e-mail: christine.watlington@dcr.virginia.gov.

River Basin Advisory Committees and Commissions
9/27/17, 1 p.m.:: Rappahannock River Basin Commission.  At Lake of the Woods Clubhouse, 205 Lakeview Parkway in Locust Grove (Orange County).  The Commission was established by the Virginia General Assembly (see Va. Code section 62.1-69.27) to “provide guidance for the stewardship and enhancement of the water quality and natural resources of the Rappahannock River Basin.”  More information on the work of the Commission is available online at https://rrbcnews.wordpress.com/.

Scenic Rivers
9/21/17, 12 p.m.: Historic Falls of the James Scenic River Advisory Board.  At City Hall in Richmond.

Water Quality Regulations and Standards
9/15/17, 10 a.m.: Soil and Water Conservation Board’s Water Quality Improvement Fund Stabilization Stakeholder Advisory Group.  At the Patrick Henry Building, East Reading Room, 1111 East Broad Street in Richmond.  According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice for this meeting, “Item 364 of the 2017 Appropriations Act requires the Department of Conservation and Recreation [DCR] to establish a stakeholder group to make recommendations on [the following]: (i) increasing the portion of any deposit to the WQIF reserve; (ii) limiting the portion of WQIF reserve that may be utilized; (iii) evaluating combined revenues available from the WQIF and the Natural Resources Commitment Fund in a given fiscal year; (iv) distributing funds to be deposited across a biennial period; and (v) considering the impacts on the staffing and technical assistance needs of the Soil and Water Conservation Districts.”  Virginia Code information on the Water Quality Improvement Act (which created the WQIF) is available online at http://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title10.1/chapter21.1/.  For more information about the advisory group, contact Christine Watlington, DCR Senior Policy and Planning Analyst, 600 East Main Street, 24th Floor, Richmond, 23219; phone (804)786-3319; e-mail: christine.watlington@dcr.virginia.gov.

9/20/17, 9 a.m.: Department of Health’s Sewage Handling and Disposal Advisory Committee/Periodic Review Subcommittee.  At the James Monroe Building, 15th Floor Training Room, 101 North 14th Street in Richmond.  As part of a periodic review, the subcommittee is considering proposed amendments and revisions to the Alternative Onsite Sewage System Regulations, Section 12 VAC 5-613 in the Virginia Administrative Code.

National Hurricane Center’s Graphical Atlantic Tropical Weather Outlook for 2 Days and 5 Days, as of September 12, 2017

Here’s a look at the National Hurricane Center’s (NHC) Atlantic tropical weather outlook for the next few days.  The Virginia Water Central News Grouper posts these outlooks approximately weekly (depending on the level of weather activity) during the Atlantic tropical storm season (June 1-November 30).

As of September 12, 2017, the center of Hurricane Jose was located northeast of the Bahama Islands and was predicted to stay in that region of the Atlantic through at least Saturday, Sept. 16.  At the same time, a pre-tropical disturbance Atlantic Ocean about midway between Africa and South America was being given by the NHC a 10-percent chance of tropical cyclone formation within 48 hours as well as a 10-percent chance within five days.  Shown below are a satellite image of Hurricane Jose as of 3:15 p.m. EDT on September 12, accessed at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Web site at http://www.goes.noaa.gov/browsh.html; and the NHC’s two-day and five-day graphical tropical weather outlooks as of 2 p.m. EDT on September 12, accessed at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.

Hurricane Jose Sep12

tropical storms 2 day Sep12
tropical storms 5 day Sep12

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending September 11, 2017, Plus an Overview of Flooding Nationwide

Below are several items summarizing recent precipitation and stream flow:

  1. Images showing precipitation in Virginia and other areas of the United States, and stream flow in Virginia, over the seven-day period ending September 11, 2017 (information available as of September 12).
  2. Flooding overview maps for Virginia and nationwide, as of September 12.

The Virginia Water Resources Research Center thanks the agencies mentioned below for providing precipitation and stream-flow information and images. For the current month’s other weekly reports on stream flow and precipitation, please see the News Grouper posts available at this link: https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=Virginia+Precipitation.

For monthly reviews of precipitation, stream flow, and drought, please see the 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/.

GAGE Sep 2017 Wolf Creek near Narrows Sep4 2017 TWO

September 2017 Gaging Station of the Month: Wolf Creek near Narrows (Giles County), September 4, 2017. For the Virginia map of gaging sites, see https://waterdata.usgs.gov/va/nwis/rt.

Precipitation

The following two color-coded maps show southeastern U.S. precipitation amounts (top map) and the percent of normal precipitation compared to normal for this period of the year (bottom map) over the seven-day period ending September 12, 2017.  As of that date, these data were provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).  The maps were accessed 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.

precipSep11precippercSep11

Another source of precipitation data is the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, online at http://water.weather.gov/precip/.  The site provides maps showing precipitation nationwide or by state for specific days, months, or years.  The site also has the capability to show county boundaries, and other map layers available include river flood forecasts and current flood/severe weather warnings.  Shown below is the continental U.S. 7-day precipitation map as of 8 a.m. EDT on 9/12/17.  The impact of Hurricane Irma on the southeastern United States is clear from this graph.  Please note that UTC, the time shown on the maps at the site, is four hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time and five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Precip US 7-day Sep12

Stream Flow

Seven-day-average Virginia stream flows at gaging stations as of September 11, 2017 are indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) WaterWatch for Virginia, accessed online at http://waterwatch.usgs.gov/index.php?m=pa07d&r=va&w=map.  The map’s color-coded dots compare the previous week’s average stream flows to the normal flow levels for that week over the historical record for each gaging station.  The color codes/percentile classes used by USGS are as shown in the chart following the map.  Note: Additional gaging stations (such as for reservoirs or for inactive sites) are shown on maps available at the USGS’ National Water Information System Mapper, online at https://maps.waterdata.usgs.gov/mapper/index.html.

Streams Sep11

stream codes

Flooding Overview

As of about 2:15 p.m. EDT on September 12, 2017, 9 stream-gaging stations in or near Virginia were either experiencing flooding or near flood stage, according to the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service’s (AHPS) map of stream and river levels relative to flood stage (color-coded) for Virginia and nearby areas.  The AHPS map for Virginia is shown below, along with the nationwide map as of the same time.  The maps are available online at http://water.weather.gov/ahps/forecasts.php; at that site, one can select Virginia or any other state of interest.

Flooding 01 VAFlood 02 US

On Virginia Water Radio for 9-11-17: Storm Surge

Virginia Water Radio’s episode for the week of September 11, 2017, is “Storm Surge in Irma and Other Tropical Cyclones.”  The 4 min./42 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2017/09/episode-385-9-11-17-storm-surge-in-irma.html, revisits the tropical cyclone threat of storm surge (also the subject of episodes in 2012 and 2016, following the arrivals of Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Matthew, respectively).

385 image 2

These maps, from the Miami/South Florida National Weather Service Forecast Office, online at http://www.weather.gov/mfl/, 9/8/17, 10:30 a.m. EDT, show how storm surge was predicted to be one of Irma’s major threats.

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!