Monday, August 2, 2010

Virginia Water Radio 27: Week of August 2, 2010

Welcome to Virginia Water Radio (Episode 27) for the week of August 2, 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 3/26/12; please contact Virginia Water Radio for access to the audio file.

  • In the June 21 Federal Register, the U.S. EPA published proposed regulations for disposal of coal-combustion residuals (also referred to as CCRs or coal ash). In a May 4 news release on the proposals, the EPA said that the regulations would for the first time require liners and monitoring at new landfills handling coal ash, in order to prevent leaching of contaminants to groundwater. The EPA is also proposing to establish dam-safety requirements for surface impoundments of coal ash, in order to prevent catastrophic dam breaks, such as the one near Kinston, Tennessee, in December 2008, that led to a massive spill. A 90-day public comment period is in process, and five public hearings will be held nationwide, including one on August 30 in Arlington at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City.  News sources: U.S. EPA Web site, “Coal Combustion Residuals—Proposed Rule,” Additional information from EPA Announces Plans to Regulate Coal Ash, U.S. EPA News Release, 5/4/10.
  • In July, the Shenandoah Resource Conservation and Development Council, headquartered in Augusta County, announced a three-year partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service that will provide $720,000 annually for agricultural conservation practices, such as cover crops, nutrient management, and watering systems for livestock. The funds come through the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative, which also will be providing $142,000 to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Trout Unlimited for various stream protection and restoration practices in the Shenandoah Valley. News source: Conservation efforts in Valley get big boost, Augusta Free Press, 7/12/10 

  • On July 14, Governor McDonnell announced that Virginia had a $220-million surplus for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010. As called for by state law, 10 percent of the surplus, or $22 million, will go to the Water Quality Improvement Fund, or WQIF. The WQIF was established by the General Assembly in 1997 to provide grants to prevent, reduce, or control water pollution. News source: Governor McDonnell Announces Virginia Revenue Surplus in FY 2010, Virginia Governor’s News Release, 7/14/10. Additional information: Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Web site on the Water Quality Improvement Fund: The Virginia Water Quality Improvement Act of 1997, which governs the WQIF, is in the Virginia Code starting at Section 10.1-2117. 
  • And the last news item this week is our monthly water status report.
    • First, in precipitation: According to the Southeast Regional Climate Center, from June 29 to July 28 precipitation compared to historical averages was 4-6 inches below normal on the Eastern Shore; 2 to 4 inches below normal in most of the state east of I-95; normal to 2 inches below normal in most of the state west of I-95; and normal to 2 inches above normal in a few southwestern, northern, and Shenandoah Valley counties.
    • Second, in stream flow: According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s WaterWatch, streamflow averages from July 1 to July 28 were normal at about 35 percent of stream gages in the state, and below normal or much below normal at about 65 percent of gages, with four gages in the Chowan basin having a record low average over this period.

    • And last, our drought watch: The weekly National Drought Monitor on July 27 showed abnormally dry conditions or worse occurring in over 97 percent of Virginia. Moderate drought conditions were reported for 75 percent of the state—essentially, all of the state east of the New River basin. And severe drought conditions were reported for 15 percent of the state, all in eastern and southeastern areas. Sources and additional information: Precipitation: Southeast Regional Climate Center precipitation map,; see below for the map used this week. Streamflow: U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch for Virginia,; see map and color-code chart below. Drought: The National Drought Monitor map is at; the Virginia archive table is at

      28-day average stream flows, as of July 28, 2010; see chart below for explanation of color code that rank the current average flows against historical records.



This week we feature a fiddle tune named for a Smith River tributary in Floyd, Franklin, and Patrick counties: “Shooting Creek,” performed by Henry Reed in 1966 in the Giles County community of Glen Lyn. Born in Monroe County, West Virginia in 1884, Henry Reed moved to Giles County in 1907, where he lived, worked, and played remarkable music until he died in 1969. “Shooting Creek” is one of 184 tunes collected by folk life historian Alan Jabbour in 1966 and 1967 and compiled on “Fiddle Tunes of the Old Frontier—The Henry Reed Collection,” now housed at the Library of Congress. The Henry Reed Collection—including the recordings along with information about the songs, Mr. Reed, and collector Alan Jabbour—is available at the Library of Congress’ American Memory Web site, at, as of 7/30/10. Click this link for information specifically about the tune “Shooting Creek.”


First, in government policy and regulatory meetings occurring between August 4 and August 10.
  • On August 4 in Montross, the Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, is holding a public meeting on the application by Recyc Systems to land-apply biosolids, or treated sewage sludge, in Westmoreland County. For more information, phone Anita Tuttle at (804) 527-5039.

  • On August 5 in Bealeton, the DEQ is holding a public hearing on the application by Agri-Services Corporation to land-apply biosolids in Fauquier County. For more information, phone Elizabeth Biller at (703) 583-3896.

  • And on August 6, the technical advisory committee for development of a general permit for pesticide discharges meets in Glen Allen. For more information, phone William Norris at (804) 698-4022. The committee is assisting the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in developing a permit under the Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES). The relevant Virginia regulation is 9 VAC 25-800. More information and relevant documents are at
Finally, in upcoming educational and recreational events:
  • On August 7 in Newport News, the Mariners Museum is holding Mermaids and Sea Monster Family Day. Visitors can hear tales of these creatures, participate in activities for all ages, and have their photo taken with a sea monster! For more information, phone (757) 591-7744.

  • On August 14, at Holiday Lake 4-H Center near Appomattox, Virginia Citizens for Water Quality is holding its annual summit. For more information, phone David Jennings at (804) 775-0951.
  • And on August 18 to 19 at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center, the Aquacultural Engineering Society is holding an Issues Forum, focusing on three topics: biofloc, advanced oxidation in recirculating aquaculture, and marine aquaculture systems. For more information, phone Greg Boardman at (540) 231-1376.

    For more information about government policy and regulatory meetings, click here for the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall, where these meetings are listed by date. E-mail addresses for contact people are available there. For TMDL meetings, click here for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality TMDL Web site. Please note that TMDL meetings are also listed at the Town Hall site, but are included among all other meetings. In the educational and recreation events section, organizations, events, or both are hyperlinked whenever possible. Click on those links for more information.

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