Monday, April 5, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 11: Week of 4-5-2010

Welcome to Virginia Water Radio (Episode 11) for the week of April 5, 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.

Audio archived 2-13-12; for access, please contact Virginia Water Radio.

  • On March 22, U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced a new agency approach to regulating drinking-water contaminants. The approach will follow four principles: 1) addressing contaminants as groups rather than one at a time; 2) fostering development of new drinking water technologies that address multiple contaminants; 3) using the authority of various federal statutes for drinking water protection; and 4) seeking partnerships with states on collecting and sharing data from public water systems. Ms. Jackson also announced that the agency’s plans to seek stricter regulations for the following four carcinogenic chemicals: tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, acrylamide, and epichlorohydrin. EPA currently is considering regulatory revisions for 14 other chemicals, as well, including arsenic, atrazine, chromium, copper, flouride, lead, and perchlorate. News source: EPA Administrator Jackson Outlines New Vision for Clean, Safe Drinking Water, U.S. EPA News Release, 3/22/10. Additional information: According to the EPA’s press release, “tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethylene are used in industrial and/or textile processing and can be introduced into drinking water from contaminated ground or surface water sources, [while] crylamide and epichlorohydrin are impurities that can be introduced into drinking water during the water treatment process.”
  • Severe weather can strike Virginia year-round, so its wise for communities to get ready. On March 29, the National Weather Service recognized Virginia Tech as having completed the hazardous-weather preparations required to receive the “Storm Ready” designation. Virginia Tech is the first Virginia college or university, and the 50th in the United States, to receive the designation. Storm Ready preparations include establishing a 24-hour warning location and emergency operations center; having more than one way to receive hazardous weather forecasts and warnings and to alert the community; monitoring local weather conditions; promoting weather readiness through community seminars; training weather spotters; and having emergency-response exercises. Overall as of April 1, there were 1584 Storm Ready sites in the United States. News source: Virginia Tech declared StormReady by National Weather Service, Virginia Tech News,, 3/29/10. More information about the National Weather Service’s Storm Ready program is available online at
  • In a widely reported water and energy development: On March 31, President Obama announced a new federal energy policy that, among other things, will allow exploration for oil and natural gas off the Atlantic coast from Delaware to Florida. The president’s policy also opens new areas in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the northern coast of Alaska, but prohibits exploration in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. The first sale of leases for exploration in the Atlantic Ocean in the past 20 years is expected to be for parcels in a 2.9-million-acre area off the Virginia coast, known as the Lease Sale 220 area. That sale is expected to occur in 2011 or 2012, although various approvals and agreements are still needed before the sale and exploratory drilling can occur in the area.  News sources: Obama seeks compromise in offshore drilling plan, Christian Science Monitor, 3/31/10; and Offshore drilling concerns NASA, Navy, and environmentalists, Newport News Daily Press, 4/1/10. More information about Virginia Lease Sale 220 is available at the federal Minerals Management Services’ Web site, More information about the overall offshore energy policy is available in the March 31, 2010, U.S. Department of Interior news release, “Secretary Salazar Announces Comprehensive Strategy for Offshore Oil and Gas Development and Exploration.”
  • And in our last news item this week: On April 10, the Alice Ferguson Foundation will hold its 22nd Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup on hundreds of stream and river sites in the Potomac basin in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. In the 2009 clean up, over 13,000 volunteers and over 275 groups participated, collecting over 580,000 pounds of trash. If you want to find a site to help with this year’s event, phone (301) 292-5665. News source: Potomac River Watershed Clean up Web site,, accessed 3/31/10.


This week we feature one of the most famous songs ever about water in Virginia (at least, that’s what it might be about): “Shenandoah,” a powerful version by the incomparable Paul Robeson, on the album “Paul Robeson Sings ‘Ol Man River and Other Favorites: 1929-1939,” from EMI/Angel Records. But is the song really about Virginia’s beloved Shenandoah River? The origin of the tune is not definitely known, and various versions of the lyrics create confusion about the subject. But there’s no doubt about the beauty of the song and the strong connection to it that many Virginians feel. More information about the origin of “Shenandoah” is available from the Library of Congress’ Performing Arts Encyclopedia, online at More information about Paul Robeson is available from the Web site for the Paul Robeson episode on PBS’ American Master’s series.


First, in government policy and regulatory meetings, from the Virginia Regulatory Townhall Web site:
  • On April 8, the Board for Waterworks and Wastewater Works Operators and Onsite Sewage System Professionals meets in Richmond. For more information, phone David Dick at (804) 367-8595.
  • On April 14, the Finance, Audit, and Compliance Committee of the Game and Inland Fisheries Board meets in Richmond. For more information, phone Beth Drewery at (804) 367-9149. 
  • Also on April 14, the State Water Control Board’s Advisory Committee on the general discharge permit for seafood processing facilities meets in Richmond. For more information, phone George Cosby at (804) 698-4067. 
  • And again on April 14, the Conservation and Recreation Board holds a public comment meeting in Randolph on revisions to the master plan for Staunton River State Park in Halifax County. For more information, phone Robert Munson at (804) 786-6140.
And in upcoming educational events:
  • On Apr. 11 to 14 in Williamsburg, the Virginia Rural Water Association holds its Annual Conference. For more information, phone (540) 261-7178.
  • Starting on April 14, and repeated on several days from May to August, Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Suffolk offers visitors a chance to watch as birds are banded for a migratory bird survey. For more information, phone (757) 986-3705. 
  • And finally, here’s a chance for you to educate others: the James River Association is sponsoring “The James and Me,” a video contest for short public-service announcements on the theme, “Don’t Trash the River.” Participation categories are for high school students, college students, and professionals. Entries will be accepted until June 7. For more information, phone Sherrie Tribble at (804) 788-8811, ext. 202.

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 were provided by Patrick Fay. Recording assistance was provided by Innovation Space at Virginia Tech.

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, or visit our web site at