Monday, March 8, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 7: Week of 3-8-2010

Welcome to Virginia Water Radio (Episode 7) for the week of March 8, 2010. This week's show is hosted by Alan Raflo, research associate at the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, located at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Our show presents news and notices that relate to Virginia’s waters, from the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean.


  • Energy generation can involve water resources in many ways, from placement of facilities in coastal or ocean waters; to potential construction and operating impacts on water, air, climate, and wildlife; to the relative amounts of water supply needed by different energy sources. As a renewable and emissions-free energy source, wind energy is under development or consideration in many parts of the United States, including Virginia, both off-shore and on high ground. Here are some snapshots of recent wind-energy developments in the Commonwealth:
    1. In early March, the Roanoke Times reported that Chicago-based Invenergy intends to develop a 15-turbine wind-energy project on Poor Mountain in Roanoke County. The project would generate enough electricity for about 8000 households.
    2. On March 1, the Virginia State Corporation Commission gave final approval to the 19-turbine wind-energy project in Highland County, dismissing a complaint filed in August 2009 by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources that the project developers had not adequately consulted with the department over the potential impacts of the project on views from Camp Alleghany Battlefield.
    3. Throughout the state, local governments have also been considering, or have recently enacted, wind-energy facility ordinances. 4) And according to the February 26th Virginian-Pilot, Virginia’s first two applications for offshore wind-energy projects were filed in August and September 2009 by Apex Wind Energy Corporation of Charlottesville and by Seawind Renewable Energy Corporation of Richmond. The companies are seeking permits from the federal Minerals Management Service to lease space 12-25 miles off the Virginia Beach coast.
  • In late February, Lynchburg was seeking a state permit for placing rip-rap (large rocks used for stabilizing slopes) along about a mile of the James River where a sewer line-replacement project has been hampered by eroding river banks. The February 28th Lynchburg News & Advance reported that higher-than-normal rainfall since fall 2009 has resulted in more bank instability than was expected when the project was designed. The rip-rap placement would cost the city an estimated $3 million; the sewer-line replacement is estimated to cost $10 million.
  • According to the February 26th Newport News Daily Press, on February 23 the Virginia Marine Resources Commission approved a $3.5 million set of initiatives for Virginia’s oyster populations and industry. The initiatives include creating oyster sanctuaries and public reefs in the York River and on the Eastern Shore; replenishing sanctuaries in the Piankatank and Rappahannock rivers; and providing oyster larvae and equipment for crabbers to raise oysters.
  • And in our last news item this week: The February 25 Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star provided the following update on Virginia’s regulation of land-application of biosolids (or treated sewage sludge). Since January 2008, when the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (or DEQ) took over biosolids regulation from the Virginia Department of Health, the DEQ has issued 16 new permits, and reissued one permit, for biosolids land application. About 258,000 tons were applied statewide in 2008 (the most recent year for numbers were available). The state’s application is 15 tons per acre annually, and various buffer distances are required between application areas and wells, streams, homes, and property lines. Approximately 60 percent of land-applied biosolids in Virginia originate at the Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant in Washington, D.C. 


This week we feature a song by some of Virginia’s most well-known traditional musicians, about an important weather and water tragedy in southwestern Virginia: “The Story of the Flood” by the Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys, on the CD “Native Virginia Ballads and Songs,” originally from Ferrum College’s Blue Ridge Institute and reissued by Global Village Music. The song describes the devastating January-February 1957 flood in the Big Sandy watershed that affected Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Tennessee (1), influenced flood-control measures in the region (2), and even became a 1960 presidential campaign issue for John F. Kennedy in West Virginia (3).

Sources: 1) WSAZ, Huntington, W. Va.,, 3/4/10; and other sources; 2) Floyd County Times, Prestonburg, Ky., January 2007, at, 3/4/10); and 3) JFK remarks of April 26, 1960, in Mullens, West Virginia, at,3/4/10).


First, in government policy and regulatory meetings:
  • On March 15, the Chesapeake Bay Local Advisory Board meets in Richmond. For more information, phone David Dowling at (804) 786-2291.
  • On March 16, the Virginia Gas and Oil Board meets in Lebanon, in Russell County. For more information, phone David Asbury at (276) 415-9700.
  • On March 16, the Groundwater Protection Steering Committee meets in Richmond. For more information, phone Mary Ann Massie at (804) 698-4042.
  • And on March 17, the State Water Control Board meets in Richmond. For more information, phone Cindy Berndt at (804) 698-4378.
Upcoming public meeting about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters:
  • March 16, in Suffolk, on the TMDL for shellfishing areas in the Lower Nansemond River watershed. For more information phone Jennifer Howell at (757)518-2111.
Finally, in upcoming educational events:
  • On March 13, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in Axton in Henry County, the Dan River Basin Association presents the “Rivers and Bugs” summit on water and environmental issues in the Dan River watershed. Pre-registration is required. For more information, phone Regina Manns at (276) 631-2591.
  • And on March 16, at 6:30 p.m. in Gloucester Point in Gloucester County, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science presents “Discovery Lab: Shipwrecks to Living Reefs,” on the USS Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. For more information, phone Sarah McGuire at (804) 684-7878.

Virginia Water Radio is a product of the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, which is solely responsible for the show’s content. Hosting and bandwidth for this podcast are also provided by the Water Center. We invite you to visit the center online at
    Show notes and production assistance has been provided by Patrick Fay. Technical assistance provided by Innovation Space. Editorial assistance provided by Danielle Guerin.

    Opinions expressed on this show are not necessarily those of the Water Center, Virginia Tech, or this station.

    If you need more information about anything mentioned this week, call us at (540) 231-5463.