Monday, May 17, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 17: Week of May 17, 2010

Welcome to Virginia Water Radio (Episode 17) for the week of May 17, 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 3/16/12; please contact Virginia Water Radio for access to the audio file.

  • On May 4, the U.S. EPA announced proposed regulations for disposal of coal-combustion residuals, or coal ash. According to the EPA Web site on the proposed rule, the regulations would require liners and groundwater monitoring at new landfills that store coal ash. The proposed regulations would also address the structure of dams used to create coal ash storage impoundments, or lagoons, such as the one that broke near Kinston, Tennessee, in December 2008, leading to a large spill. EPA states that the proposed measures are intended to result in a transition from lagoons that store wet ash to landfills that store ash in dry form. The proposed regulations also call for public comment on two enforcement options: one would set up a system of required federal and state permits; the second would rely on lawsuits by citizens and states. News source: EPA Announces Plans to Regulate Coal Ash, U.S. EPA News Release, 5/4/10. More information: The EPA Web site on the proposed rule is

  • Disposal and use of coal ash are significant issues in Virginia, tying together energy production, waste management, and water resources. Here are two examples from recent news. First, in April Chesterfield County approved Dominion Virginia Power’s request for a $50-million, 70-acre landfill for coal ash from Dominion’s Chesterfield County Power Station, Virginia’s largest fossil fuel plant, producing about 12 percent of the electricity used in the state. Dominion’s current ash landfill at the power station is predicted to reach its capacity by 2019. Dominion now must seek permits from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for the landfill and an access road, which will include a bridge over a James River tributary creek; that permitting process could take three or more years. Second, also in April, the U.S. EPA reported that it had found no public-health threat from contaminants in the soil beneath the Battlefield Golf Club’s course in Chesapeake. News sources: Coal ash landfill project moves on to DEQ, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 4/25/10; No current risk from golf course fly ash, EPA says, Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 4/23/10; Chesapeake to extend public water to fly ash site, Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 8/26/09; and Dominion asks judge to throw out $1 billion fly-ash suit, Norfolk Virginian-Pilot; 7/25/09. More information about Dominion’s Chesterfield Power Station is available at More information about the Chesapeake Energy Center is available at
  • Next, in a stormwater item: On May 3 in Richmond Circuit Court, the Virginia Attorney General’s office filed a complaint and announced a proposed consent decree over alleged storwmater violations by Flour Lane LLC during construction of 14 miles of new high-occupancy lanes on the Capital Beltway in Virginia. Under the proposed decree, the company would pay a $66,540 fine and implement an improved stormwater maintenance and inspection program, including weekly reviews by an independent auditor. The Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board will publish the proposed consent decree and provide a 30-day public-comment period. News source: Attorney General Cuccinelli announces filing of suit against alleged polluter and a settlement to keep Capital Beltway HOT lanes construction on schedule, Virginia Attorney General’s Office News Release, 5/5/10. Information on the filing of the complaint and upcoming process by the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board came from a 5/10/10 e-mail communication from Brian Gottstein, director of communication for the Office of the Attorney General.
  • And in our last news item this week: On May 5, ground was broken in the Accomack County town of Melfa for the Robert S. Bloxom Eastern Shore Agricultural Complex. The complex will house a new seafood storage-facility, a regional office for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the offices of the Eastern Shore Soil and Water Conservation District. The seafood-storage facility is intended to allow fish harvesters more opportunity to match deliveries of their catch with market demand. News source: Groundbreaking for New Robert S. Bloxom Eastern Shore Agricultural Complex in Melfa, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 5/5/10.


This week we feature a widely recorded fiddle tune named for a river with several southwestern Virginia tributaries: "Sandy River Belle,” performed in 1958 for a Galax radio show by Carroll County musicians Norman Edmonds and the Old Timers, and reproduced on a 2004 CD by Field Recorders’ Collective.

The title is thought to refer to the Big Sandy River, an Ohio River tributary that forms part of the border between West Virginia and Kentucky. The Levisa Fork, Russell Fork, and Tug Fork are all Big Sandy tributaries that flow through far southwestern Virginia.

As of 5/13/10, the Web site “Folk Music Index—An Index to Recorded Resources” lists 50 recordings of “Sandy River Belle” from the 1960s to the 2000s. More information about the Field Recorders’ Collective is available at


First, in government policy and regulatory meetings:
  • On May 19 in Glen Allen is a meeting of the State Water Control Board’s Advisory Committee on the general permit for nitrogen and phosphorus discharges and for nutrient trading in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. For more information, phone George Cosby at (804) 698-4067.
  • On May 25, the Marine Resources Commission meets in Newport News. For more information, phone Jane McCroskey at (757) 247-2215. 
  • On May 26 in Richmond, the State Water Control Board holds a public hearing on the general discharge permit regulation for coin-operated laundries. For more information, phone George Cosby at (804) 698-4067.
Next, here’s one upcoming meeting about Total Maximum Daily Loads, or TMDLs, for impaired waters:
  • May 26, in Emporia, on the TMDL study for portions of Fontaine Creek in Brunswick and Greensville counties. For more information, phone Margaret Smigo at (804) 527-5124.

Finally, in upcoming educational events:
  • On May 22 in Gloucester Point, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science holds its annual Marine Science Day. For more information, phone 804) 684-7000.
  • On May 29 at Chickahominy Riverfront Park in James City County, the James River Association is holding the Chickahominy Water Trail Festival. The featured activity is a paddling race up the river to highlight the newest segment of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Water Trail. For more information, phone (804) 788-8811.
  • And last—but perhaps most importantly—May 22 to 28 is National Safe Boating Week, organized by the National Safe Boating Council, which is headquartered in Prince William County, Virginia. For more information, you may phone the Council at (703) 361-4294, or visit, but here’s the Council’s key message for Safe Boating Week: “Remember, nobody’s waterproof, so always wear your life jacket!”
For more information about government policy and regulatory meetings, click here for the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall, where these meetings are listed by date. TMDL meetings are also listed at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality TMDL Web site.

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 the Office of University Relations 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