On Virginia Water Radio for 2-13-17: Shenandoah Valley Roots of the Famous Railsplitter

Virginia Water Radio’s latest episode, for the week of February 13, 2017, is “Abraham Lincoln’s Roots along Waters of the Shenandoah Valley.”   The 3 min./58 sec. episode, available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2017/02/episode-355-2-13-17-abraham-lincolns.html, commemorates the 16th president’s birthday (February 12, 1809) by exploring the Lincoln family history on Linville Creek, a tributary of the North Fork Shenandoah River in Rockingham County, Va.  The episode features “Valley” by the Harrisonburg, Va.-based band The Steel Wheels.

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!

Water in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly: Renewable Energy Bills

This is one of a series of posts on particular water-related bills in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly.  For an inventory of about 160 water-related bills in the 2017 General Assembly, please visit the Virginia Water Resources Research Center’s “Virginia Water Legislation” page, online at http://www.vwrrc.vt.edu/virginia-water-legislation/.  Each post includes a summary of the bill(s), their legislative status (in committee, passed, failed, etc.), and a list of hyperlinked headlines for news media items on the bill(s).  Information on the bills’ provisions and status is taken from the Virginia Legislative Information System (LIS), online at http://leg1.state.va.us/lis.htm.  Each bill number is hyperlinked to the LIS entry for that bill.

Please note that the Virginia Electric Utility Regulation Act (Chapter 23, Sec. 56-576 of the Virginia Code), defines “renewable energy” as “energy derived from sunlight, wind, falling water, biomass, sustainable or otherwise, (the definitions of which shall be liberally construed), energy from waste, landfill gas, municipal solid waste, wave motion, tides, and geothermal power, and does not include energy derived from coal, oil, natural gas, or nuclear power.  Renewable energy shall also include the proportion of the thermal or electric energy from a facility that results from the co-firing of biomass.”

HB 1891 – Geothermal heat pump property expenditure; tax credit for taxable years 2017-2021.  This bill, sponsored by Del. Timothy Hugo (R-40th District), of Centreville, failed in the House Finance Committee.  The bill would have established a tax credit, for taxable years 2017 through 2021, for geothermal heat pump property expenditures at a residence in Virginia, equal to 25 percent of purchase or installation expenditures, up to a statewide maximum of $10 million in credits per year.  The bill defined “geothermal heat pump property expenditure” as any expenditure for equipment that uses the ground or groundwater as a thermal energy source to heat a residence or as a thermal energy sink to cool a residence.  The Senate companion bill, SB 1392, sponsored by Sen. Frank Wagner (R-7th District), of Virginia Beach, failed in the Senate Finance Committee.

HB 2112, Community renewable projects: SCC to adopt rules authorizing.  This bill, sponsored by Del. Mark Keam (D-35th District), of Vienna, failed in the House Commerce and Labor Committee.  The bill would have required the State Corporation Commission to adopt rules under which community renewable projects are authorized to operate.  A community renewable project would be defined as solar or wind-powered electric generation facility with a capacity of not more than 20 megawatts that is operated subject to requirements that the electricity generated by the facility belongs to the project’s subscribers.

HB 2303 – Small agricultural generators; establishes parameters of a program for selling electricity to a utility.  This bill, sponsored by Del. J. Randall Minchew (R-10th District), of Leesburg, passed the House and was in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee as of Feb. 9.  The bill would establish the parameters of a program under which small agricultural generators may sell the electricity generated from a small agricultural generating facility to its utility.  Effective July 1, 2019, enrollment by eligible agricultural customer-generators in an existing net-energy-metering program conducted by an electric cooperative would cease, although a cooperative’s customers who were participating as eligible agricultural customer-generators before that date would be allowed to remain in the ne-metering program for not more than 25 years.  A small agricultural generator is defined in this measure as a customer who operates an electrical generating facility as part of an agricultural business, which generating facility, among other conditions, has a capacity of not more than 1.5 megawatts, uses renewable energy as its total source of fuel, has a capacity that does not exceed 150 percent of the customer’s expected annual energy consumption based on the previous 12 months of billing history, uses not more than 25 percent of contiguous land owned or controlled by the agricultural business for purposes of the renewable energy generating facility, and is a qualifying small power production facility under the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA).  The program would require the generator to enter into a power purchase agreement with its supplier to sell all of the electricity generated at a rate not less than the supplier’s State Corporation Commission-approved avoided cost tariff for energy and capacity.  The program would also allow utilities to recover distribution service costs and costs incurred to purchase electricity, capacity, and renewable energy certificates from the small agricultural generator through its Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) rate adjustment clause (if the utility has a Commission-approved RPS plan and rate adjustment clause) or through the supplier’s fuel adjustment clause or through the utility’s cost of purchased power (if the utility does not have a Commission-approved RPS rate adjustment clause).  The Senate companion bill, SB 1394, sponsored by Sen. Frank Wagner (R-7th District), of Virginia Beach, passed the Senate and was in the House Commerce and Labor Committee as of Feb. 9.

HB 2390, Renewable energy power purchase agreements; expands pilot program to Appalachian Power.  This bill, sponsored by Del. Terry Kilgore (R-1st District), of Gate City, passed the House and was in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee as of Feb. 9.  The bill would expand the pilot program for renewable energy power purchase agreements authorized under legislation enacted in 2013 by directing that a pilot program be conducted by Appalachian Power; currently a pilot program is authorized only within Dominion Virginia Power’s service territory.

SB 813, Solar generation facilities: cost-recovery provisions.  This bill, sponsored by Sen. David Marsden (D-37th District), of Burke, failed in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.  The bill would have exempted investor-owned electric utilities from the requirement that in a proceeding for approval to construct a generating facility they demonstrate that they have considered and weighed alternative options, including third-party market alternatives, in their selection process, if the proposed generating facility is located in the Commonwealth, uses energy derived from sunlight, and has been declared by statute to be in the public interest.

SB 918, Renewable energy: third-party power purchase agreements to be authorized for each electric utility.  This bill, sponsored by Sen. John Edwards (D-21st District), of Roanoke, failed in the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee.  The bill would have replaced the pilot program enacted in 2013 that authorized certain third-party power purchase agreements providing financing of certain renewable generation facilities, would have required the State Corporation Commission to establish third-party power purchase agreement programs for each electric utility.  The existing pilot program applies only to Dominion Virginia Power and sets the maximum size of a renewable generation facility at one megawatt; the programs authorized by this measure would have applied to all electric utilities and without a limit on the size of facilities.

SB 1197, Small renewable energy projects; State Corporation Commission jurisdiction.  This bill, sponsored by Sen. Creigh Deeds (D- 25th District), of Charlottesville, failed in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.  The bill would have restored the requirement for State Corporation Commission (SCC) to review construction and operation of small renewable energy projects that either disturb an area of 100 acres or more, or are located within five miles of a political subdivision boundary.  In 2009 the General Assembly removed the requirement that the owner or operator of a small renewable energy project obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity approval for the project from the SCC.  Small renewable energy projects are defined an electrical generation facility with a rated capacity not exceeding 100 megawatts that generates electricity only from sunlight, wind, falling water, wave motion, tides, or geothermal power; or an electrical generation facility with a rated capacity not exceeding 20 megawatts that generates electricity only from biomass or certain waste.

SB 1226, Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA); proprietary records and trade secrets related to solar energy.  This bill, sponsored by Sen. John Edwards (D-21st District), of Roanoke, passed the Senate and was in the House General Laws Committee as of Feb. 9.  The bill would exclude from the mandatory disclosure provisions of FOIA proprietary information, voluntarily provided by a private business under a promise of confidentiality from a public body, used by the public body for a solar photovoltaic services agreement, a solar power purchase agreement, or a solar self-generation agreement.

SB 1258, Virginia Solar Energy Development and Energy Storage Authority; name change and increase in membership.  This bill, sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30th District), of Alexandria, passed the Senate and was in the House Commerce and Labor Committee as of Feb. 9.  The bill would continue the Virginia Solar Energy Development Authority and rename it the Virginia Solar Energy Development and Energy Storage Authority.  The measure would expand the authority’s purposes to include positioning the Commonwealth as a leader in research, development, commercialization, manufacturing, and deployment of energy storage technology; and would expand the Authority’s powers to include 1) promoting collaborative efforts among Virginia’s public and private institutions of higher education in research, development, and commercialization efforts related to energy storage; 2) monitoring relevant developments nationally and globally; and 3) identifying and working with the Commonwealth’s industries and nonprofit partners.

SB 1388, Electric utilities’ margin on solar energy power purchase agreements.  This bill, sponsored by Sen. Frank Wagner (R-7th District), of Virginia Beach, failed (was stricken at the sponsors request) in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.  The bill would have authorized any investor-owned incumbent electric utility to enter into, recover the costs of, and earn a margin on power purchase agreements executed between July 1, 2017, and July 1, 2018, and for power generated by solar energy systems located in the Commonwealth with a capacity equal to or greater than two megawatts which systems in the aggregate have a capacity not more than one percent of the utility’s adjusted Virginia peak-load forecast for the previous year.  The bill would have provided that the costs and margin are recoverable, that such agreements are in the public interest, and that in reviewing the costs and the level of costs to be recovered the State Corporation Commission shall liberally construe the provisions of this measure and shall presume that the costs associated with such agreements are reasonably and prudently incurred.

SB 1395, Small renewable energy projects; eligibility for permits by rule.  This bill, sponsored by Sen. Frank Wagner (R-7th District), of Virginia Beach, passed the Senate and was in the House Commerce and Labor Committee as of Feb. 9.  The bill would provide that certain small renewable energy projects proposed, developed, constructed, or purchased by either by a public utility (if the project’s costs are not recovered from Virginia jurisdictional customers under base rates, a fuel factor charge, or a rate adjustment clause) or by a utility aggregation cooperative are eligible for a permit by rule and are exempt from environmental review and permitting by the State Corporation Commission.  The measure specifies that a small renewable energy project shall be eligible for permit by rule if it is proposed, developed, constructed, or purchased by a person that is not a regulated utility.  The measure would exempt any small renewable energy project for which the Department of Environmental Quality has issued a permit by rule from the requirement that it obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity.  Finally, the measure would increase from 100 megawatts to 150 megawatts the maximum rated capacity of solar and wind facilities that qualify as small renewable energy projects.

Related News Media Item

More solar options could emerge from General Assembly session, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/7/17.

Water in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly: Land Preservation Tax Credit Bills

This is one of a series of posts on particular water-related bills in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly.  For an inventory of about 165 water-related bills in the 2017 General Assembly, please visit the Virginia Water Resources Research Center’s “Virginia Water Legislation” page, online at http://www.vwrrc.vt.edu/virginia-water-legislation/.  Each post includes a summary of the bill(s), their legislative status (in committee, passed, failed, etc.), and a list of hyperlinked headlines for news media items on the bill(s).  Information on the bills’ provisions and status is taken from the Virginia Legislative Information System (LIS), online at http://leg1.state.va.us/lis.htm.  Each bill number is hyperlinked to the LIS entry for that bill.

HB 1470, Land preservation tax credit limitations.  Sponsored by Del. R. Lee Ware (R-65th District), of Powhatan, this bill failed in the House Finance Committee.  The bill would have imposed a $2 million limit on the amount of credits that may be claimed for each land conveyance; a $20,000 limit on the annual amount of credits that may be claimed by each taxpayer; a $50,000 cap on the annual amount of credits that may be claimed for a fee simple donation of land to the Commonwealth; and a $50 million cap on the maximum annual amount of credits that may be issued to all taxpayers.

HB 2150, Land preservation tax credit limitations per taxpayer.  Sponsored by Del. Lashrecse Aird (D-63rd District), of Petersburg, this bill failed in the House Finance Committee.  The bill would have extended to taxable year 2017 the $20,000 limit on the amount that a taxpayer may claim per year under the land preservation tax credit, retaining the $50,000 limit for each subsequent taxable year.

SB 963, Land preservation tax credit limitations per taxpayer.  Sponsored by Sen. Emmett Hanger, Jr. (R-24th District), of Mount Solon, passed the Senate on February 3, and as of February 8, was in the House Finance Committee.  A companion bill to HB 2150 (above), the bill would extend to taxable year 2017 the $20,000 limit on the amount that a taxpayer may claim per year under the land preservation tax credit, retaining the $50,000 limit for each subsequent taxable year.

SB 1540, Certain tax credits aggregate caps.  Sponsored by Sen. Glen Sturtevant (R-10th District), of Midlothian, this bill failed in the Senate Finance Committee.  The bill would have reduced the total aggregate caps of the historic rehabilitation tax credit, the research and development expenses tax credit, the major research and development expenses tax credit, and the land preservation tax credit over a period of 10 years, so that no credits were available for any of the credits beginning in 2027.

Related News Media Item

Va. Senate panel kills Sen. Glen Sturtevant’s bill to cap and phase out historic rehab tax credits, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/31/17.

Water in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly: Coal Ash Management Bills

This is one of a series of posts on particular water-related bills in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly.  For an inventory of about 160 water-related bills in the 2017 General Assembly, please visit the Virginia Water Resources Research Center’s “Virginia Water Legislation” page, online at http://www.vwrrc.vt.edu/virginia-water-legislation/.  Each post includes a summary of the bill(s), their legislative status (in committee, passed, failed, etc.), and a list of hyperlinked headlines for news media items on the bill(s).  Information on the bills’ provisions and status is taken from the Virginia Legislative Information System (LIS), online at http://leg1.state.va.us/lis.htm.  Each bill number is hyperlinked to the LIS entry for that bill.

SB1383, sponsored by Sen. Scott Surovell (D-36th District) of Mt. Vernon, would have required electric utilities to recycle as much of their stored coal combustion by-products (o (also called coal combustion residuals, or coal ash) as is imported into the Commonwealth each year, on a pro rata basis.  The bill was stricken from the docket of the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources (ACNR) Committee at the request of Sen. Surovell.

SB 1398, also sponsored by Sen. Surovell, passed the Senate on Feb. 7 and was reported from the House ACNR Committee on February 15.  As passed by the Senate, the bill would prohibit the DEQ director from issuing a draft permit for the closure of a coal combustion residuals unit (CCR unit) located in the Chesapeake Bay watershed (that is, at facilities of Dominion Virginia Power) until the director has reviewed an assessment of closure options prepared by the owner or operator of the CCR unit.  Prior to receiving a permit, the permit-seeker would have to identify water pollution and address corrective measures to resolve it, evaluate the clean closure of the CCR unit by recycling the ash for use in cement or moving it to a landfill, and demonstrate the long-term safety of the CCR unit and its ability to keep ash out of wetlands and other sensitive areas.  The version reported from the House ACNR Committee removed the requirement that the information be provided and reviewed by the director before the director may issue a draft permit for closure of a CCR unit.

SB 1399, also sponsored by Sen. Surovell, would have directed the DEQ to require the closure of surface impoundments of coal combustion by-products, commonly called coal ash ponds, by July 1, 2021.  The bill would have applied to impoundments that managed such by-products from the generation of electricity by an electric utility or independent power producer prior to December 22, 2016, including those impoundments that, prior to December 22, 2016, have been closed by capping in place or have received DEQ approval for closure by capping in place.  The bill would also have required that the coal combustion by-products be removed for disposal in a permitted landfill meeting federal criteria and that the impoundment site be reclaimed in a manner consistent with federal mine reclamation standards for the closure to be deemed complete.  The bill would have allowed the electric utility to recover the costs of closure from customers.  The bill was stricken from the docket of the Senate ACNR Committee at the request of Sen. Surovell.

Some News Media Items on these Bills

Virginia House of Delegates committee defangs coal ash bill, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2/15/17.

Coal ash bill clears House subcommittee, though not unscathed, Richmond Times-Dispatch, as published by Roanoke Times, 2/14/17.

Coal ash bill clears Senate, but faces challenges in the state House, Fauquier Times, 2/13/17.


Surovell bill to delay Dominion’s coal-ash plans moves to the state Senate, Prince William Times, 2/3/17.

Bill that would require more information on coal-ash closure plans clears Va. Senate committee, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2/2/17.

Is Recycling a Practical Solution for Coal Ash?, Bacon’s Rebellion, 2/2/17.

Coal ash revaluation, recycling bill that could affect Chesapeake energy site passes Senate panel, Virginian-Pilot, 2/3/17.

Virginia Water-related Government Meetings for Feb. 9-22, 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

2/9/17, 11 a.m.: Virginia Outdoors Foundation.  At the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, 7870 Villa Park Drive, Suite 400 (Villa Park 3) in Henrico.

2/9/17, 9:30 a.m.: Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects/Regulatory Review Committee-Land Surveyors Section.  At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

2/15/17, 9:30 a.m.: Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects/Professional Engineers & Land Surveyors Section.  At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

2/15/17, 11:30 a.m.; and 2/16/17, 8 a.m.: Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects/Land Surveyors Exam Workshops.  At the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, 9960 Mayland Drive in Richmond.

2/17/17, 10:30 a.m.: Litter Control and Recycling Fund Advisory Board.  At the Department of Environmental Quality Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen (Henrico County).

2/21/17, 4 p.m.: Marine Resource Commission’s Crab Management Advisory Committee.  At 2600 Washington Avenue in Newport News.

2/22/17, 11:30 a.m.: Land Conservation Foundation Board of Trustees Working Group (discussing the Foundation’s grant manual and scoring).  At the Department of Conservation and Recreation Main Office, 600 East Main Street in Richmond.

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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.

1/11/17—2/25/17, Richmond: Virginia General Assembly.  The 2017 General Assembly convenes on January 11 and is scheduled for 46 days; this is a so-called “short session,” which is held in all odd-numbered years.  (Sixty-day “long sessions” are scheduled for each even-numbered year.)  The reconvened (“veto”) session is scheduled for April 5.  During long sessions, the Commonwealth’s budget for the upcoming two years is set; amendments to the current biennial budget may be considered both in long and short sessions.  In some years, sessions are extended beyond the scheduled length, particularly for budget discussions (any session may be extended for up to 30 days).  The General Assembly’s main Web page is http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/index.php; at that site, click on the “Members and Sessions” for session calendars.  The House of Delegates meeting schedule is available at http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/schedule/meetingSchedule.php.  Live video streams of floor sessions from the House are available at http://virginia-house.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3; as of 2017, archived files of the House floor sessions are also available at that site, along with a search function for specific bills or members.  The Senate meeting schedule and the floor sessions’ live video stream are available at http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3.

Committees are key parts of the General Assembly process.  Legislation about water or about activities that can affect water may be assigned to any of several standing committees, most of which meet weekly during the General Assembly session.  Information about all standing committees—including membership, meeting times, and legislation being considered—is available online at http://lis.virginia.gov/151/com/COM.HTM.  Two committees that receive many water-related bills are the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee, which meets weekly on Wednesdays, 8:30 a.m. (sometimes 9 a.m), in House Room C of the General Assembly Building; and the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee, which meets weekly on Thursdays, one-half hour after adjournment of the day’s floor session, in Senate Room B of the General Assembly Building.  The General Assembly Building is located at 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.  In 2017, live-streaming of committee meetings is being made available by Progress Virginia through its “Eyes on Richmond” Web site, online at http://104.236.84.169/.

The main committees involved in the budget process are the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.  The House Appropriations Committee meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 1/2 hour after adjournment, in the 9th Floor Appropriations Room of the General Assembly Building.  The Senate Finance Committee meets Tuesday and Wednesday, 9:00 a.m., in Senate Room B of the General Assembly Building.

Relevant subcommittee meetings for this period:

2/9/17, 4 p.m., and 2/16/17, 4 p.m: House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee/Chesapeake Subcommittee.  5th Floor East Conference Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

2/15/17, 4 p.m.: House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources/Natural Resources Subcommittee.  8th Floor West Conference Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

Natural resource-related caucus meetings for this period:

2/9/17, 7 a.m., and 2/16/17, 7 a.m.: Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus.  6th Floor Speaker’s Conference Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

2/13/17, 4:30 p.m.: Virginia Environment and Renewable Energy Caucus.  4th Floor West Conference Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th Street in Richmond.

2/16/17, 8 a.m.: Outdoor Recreation Caucus.  3rd Floor East Conference Room, General Assembly Building, 201 North 9th 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.

None during this period.

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MEETINGS ON OTHER SPECIFIC TOPICS
(topics listed alphabetically)

Agriculture/Forestry
2/13/17, 9:30 a.m.: Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Agricultural Best Management Practices Cost-share Program Technical Advisory Committee.  At the Virginia Department of Forestry, 900 Natural Resources Drive in Charlottesville.

Energy – Coal Ash Management
2/15/17, 7 p.m., : Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public hearing concerning the solid-waste permitting processes associated with the closure of the AEP/Appalachian Power Company—Clinch River Power Station coal ash ponds.  At the Russell County Conference Center, 139 Highland Drive in Lebanon.  According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice for this meeting, “the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will convene a public hearing on a draft permit from DEQ to address closure of a coal combustion residual (CCR) surface impoundment, Ash Pond 1, at the Appalachian Power Company Clinch River Facility in Carbo, Russell County, Virginia.  The proposed permit addresses requirements from the EPA Final Rule on the Disposal of CCR and Virginia Solid Waste Management Regulations.  This proposed permit also includes post-closure care, groundwater monitoring, and surface water monitoring requirements.  Additional information on the draft permit is available at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/LandProtectionRevitalization/PermittingCompliance/SolidWastePermitActions.aspx.”

2/16/17, 7 p.m.:  Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public hearing concerning the solid-waste permitting processes associated with the closure of the Dominion Virginia Power—Possum Point Power Station coal ash ponds.  At Potomac Senior High School, 3401 Panther Pride Drive in Dumfries (Prince William County).  According to the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice for this meeting, “the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will convene a public hearing on a draft permit from DEQ to address closure of the of the coal combustion residual (CCR) surface impoundments, at the Possum Point Power Station in Dumfries, Prince William County, Virginia.  This proposed permit was prepared in accordance with and includes requirements of the EPA Final Rule on the Disposal of CCR (EPA CCR Rule) and the Virginia Solid Waste Management Regulations, which incorporate the EPA CCR Rule.  The proposed closure includes closure in place of Surface Impoundment Pond D with installation of a final cover system and closure by removal of Surface Impoundment Ponds A, B, C and E.  This proposed permit also includes EPA CCR Rule requirements, post-closure care requirements for Surface Impoundment Pond D as well as groundwater monitoring and surface water monitoring at the facility.”   Additional information on the draft permit is available at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/LandProtectionRevitalization/PermittingCompliance/SolidWastePermitActions.aspx.”

More information on coal ash management in Virginia is available from the DEQ online at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/ConnectWithDEQ/EnvironmentalInformation/CoalAshPermits.aspx.  For more information coal ash closure in Virginia, please see this News Grouper post: Closure of Coal Ash Ponds at Dominion and APCO Power Stations in Virginia.

Wastewater Regulation
2/9/17, 2 p.m.: Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) public hearing on reissuance and possible amendments to the general Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) permit for Vehicle Wash Facilities and Laundry Facilities.  At the DEQ Piedmont Regional Office, 4949-A Cox Road in Glen Allen (Henrico County).  The relevant section of the Virginia Administrative Code is 9 VAC 25-194.  The proposed amendments are published in the January 9, 2017, issue of the Virginia Register of Regulations.  The public comment period runs 1/9/17 to 3/10/17.  More information on the process of this regulatory action is available online at http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=1897.

Virginia Precipitation and Stream Flow for the 7-day Period Ending February 7, 2017

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 7, 2017 (information available as of February 8).  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-feb2017-scottsville-old-one-feb11-09 February 2017 Gaging Station of the Month:  Old (replaced) station on the James River at Scottsville (Albemarle County), February 11, 2009.

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 January 23, 2017.  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.  As of that date, these data were provisional (needing to be verified for accuracy and subject to possible revision).

precip-feb7precip-perc-feb-7
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 7 a.m. EST on 2/8/17.  Please note that UTC, the time shown on the maps at the site, is five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and four hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time.

precip-us-feb-8

Stream Flow

Seven-day-average Virginia stream flows at different gaging stations as of February 7 are indicated in the map below, from the U.S. Geological Survey 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.

streams-feb-7stream codes

Virginia’s Annual Statewide Tornado Drill will be March 21, 2017

Virginia’s annual statewide tornado drill will be held Tuesday, March 21, 2017, at 9:45 a.m.  If widespread severe weather threatens the Commonwealth on that date, the drill will be on  Wednesday, March 22, at 9:45 a.m.

According to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s notice about the 2017 drill (online at http://www.vaemergency.gov/news-local/statewide-drills/), “the Statewide Tornado Drill is a yearly opportunity to prepare Virginians for tornado emergencies and to test public warning systems.  At approximately 9:45 a.m., the National Weather Service will send a test tornado warning over NOAA Weather Radios.  This test signal will sound a tone alert, show a test message or flash to indicate a message, simulating what people would hear or see during an actual tornado warning.  Local radio stations, TV stations and cable outlets will also broadcast the test message via the Emergency Alert System.”

To participate, see “How to Conduct a Tornado Drill,” online at http://www.vaemergency.gov/emergency-management-community/emergency-management-resources/tornado-drill/.

More Information from the VDEM on tornado safety is available online at http://www.vaemergency.gov/prepare-recover/threat/tornadoes/.  Please see also the Water Central News Grouper Post, Tornado Preparedness in Virginia.