From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio (Episode 51), for the week of January 31, 2011.
- In late January in Lynchburg, all that people wanted to talk about was stormwater, according to one city council member. Stormwater is a lively topic in the Hill City because on January 25 the city council began considering a possible stormwater-management utility fee, which would be based on the amount of impervious surface on properties. A majority of a citizen’s committee that met for several months in 2010 recommended the fee as a way to address the city’s stormwater management needs and costs. The city currently spends about $2.3 million per year from general revenues for stormwater. Supplementing these general revenues, the proposed fee—estimated to raise $1.75 million in the first year, increasing over time— would allow the City to begin planning for increased costs resulting from the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, and from possible changes to Virginia’s state stormwater regulations. The City’s most recent estimate of pending stormwater costs is about $120 million through 2025. News sources: Water quality regulations may cost city millions , Lynchburg News & Advance, 11/17/10 (posted 11/30; Lynchburg eyes fees for water standards, Lynchburg News & Advance, 11/22/10; Stormwater fee floated for city property owners, Lynchburg News & Advance, 1/4/11; and City Council to consider storm water fee proposal Tuesday, Lynchburg News & Advance, 1/25/11.
- With the beginning of February, the 2011 Virginia General Assembly approaches the half-way point. The Assembly has been considering about 2500 bills, including over 200 bills dealing directly or indirectly with water. Here are some of the water-related topics that have been under consideration: permits for wetland-affecting activities, management of the Menhaden fishery, fees on disposable plastic bags, aquaculture opportunity zones for raising oysters, land-preservation tax credits, regulation of lawn fertilizers, incentives for renewable energy, coastal shoreline management, bisphenol-A in baby bottles or other child-care products, and inter-basin water transfers. On some of these topics, action for 2011 has already been completed, but others are still being considered. If you’re interested in what’s happening with water in the General Assembly, the Virginia Water Center’s Web site—at www.vwrrc.vt.edu--has a link to an online inventory of water-related bills. And always feel free to contact your local delegate or senator. News source: Virginia Water Center Web site, “Water in the Virginia General Assembly,” http://www.vwrrc.vt.edu/legislation.html.
- With testing conducted in November 2010 and in January 2011, and with more scheduled to start February 7, the U.S. EPA continues to investigate groundwater contamination in the town of Louisa. In October 2010, town officials discovered the chemical tetracholoroethylene, also known as perchloroehtylene or PERC, in an unused well being considered as a potential public water supply. Perc is used for dry cleaning, metal de-greasing, and other purposes, and the material can travel relatively easily through soils. Three of five private wells tested by the EPA in November were also found to have been contaminated, including two occupied homes whose residents are being provided with bottled water. But perc was not found in current town or county public water supplies, which serve most residents in the area. News sources: Tainted wells due more tests, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 1/25/11; and “EPA investigating contaminated wells in Louisa,” Central Virginian, 12/15/10. More information about tetracholoroethylene (perc) is available online from the EPA at http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/hlthef/tet-ethy.html.
- And in our last news item this week: Have you heard of Recyclemania? The program, coordinated by the College and University Recycling Coalition, Keep America Beautiful, and the EPA's WasteWise program, conducts an annual friendly competition to see which college or university can achieve the greatest reduction in trash. Since the first competition in 2001, which included only two schools, the participation has grown this year to more than 600 schools, including at least 19 in Virginia. Following two weeks of practice that began January 23, the official competition runs from February 6 to April 2. News source: Recyclemania returns to Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech News, 1/26/11; and Recyclemania Web site, http://recyclemaniacs.org/index.htm, 1/27/11.
This week we feature another selection from the singer/songwriter known as the “Bard of the Chesapeake Bay,” “Native Land,” performed by Tom Wisner and Teresa Whitaker on the 1978 album, “Chesapeake Born-The Songs of Tom Wisner and Mark,” from Folkways Records. In the liner notes to the album, Mr. Wisner wrote that the song was for “Uncle Roy and the land around Scottsville on the James River.” Founded in 1744, the Albemarle County town of Scottsville sits beside a horseshoe curve of the James River, which has been the basis of the town’s 18th and 19th Century waterborne commerce, the threat and reality of flooding, and modern-day river-centered tourism and recreation. “The Songs of Tom Wisner and Mark” is available for sample listening and purchase on the Smithsonian Folkways Web site at http://www.folkways.si.edu/index.aspx; a PDF of the liner notes is also available. More information about Tom Wisner is available from A Bay's Life in Story and Song: A Celebration of Tom Wisner, Baynet.com, 1/16/10. Information on Scottsville was taken from the Town of Scottsville’s Web site, http://www.scottsville.org/, 1/28/11.
First, in Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings, occurring between February 3 and February 9.
- On February 3, the Advisory Board for the Coal Surface Mining Reclamation Fund meets in Big Stone Gap. For more information, phone Gavin Bledsoe at (276) 523-3212.
- Information about mined land reclamation in Virginia is available at this Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy Web site: http://www.dmme.virginia.gov/divisionmlr.shtml.
- On February 4, the State Water Control Board meets in Richmond. For more information, phone Cindy Berndt at (804) 698-4378.
- On February 7, the Master Plan Advisory Committee for Lake Anna State Park meets in Spotsylvania. For more information, phone Lynn Crump at (804) 786-5054.
- February 8, in Orange, on the TMDL implementation plan for bacteria impairments in six York River basin streams—Beaver Creek, Goldmine Creek, Mountain Run, Pamunkey Creek, Plentiful Creek, and Terry’s Run—in Louisa, Orange, and Spotsylvania counties. For more information, phone May Sligh at (804) 443-1494.
- On February 16 to 18, in Midlothian, the Virginia Water Well Association holds its Winter Conference and Trade Show. For more information, phone (540) 740-3329.
- And on February 19, at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia Cooperative Extension is holding the 8th Annual Landowners' Woods and Wildlife Conference. The conference will help owners of large or small woodland tracts learn about their natural resources and potential management tools. For more information, phone Adam Downing at (540) 948-6881.
For more information about government policy and regulatory meetings, click here for the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall. Click here for Virginia General Assembly legislative committee and commission meetings. 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). Organizations, events, or both are hyperlinked whenever possible. Click on those links for more information.
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 Virginia Water Resources Research Center, Virginia Tech, or our broadcasting stations.
If you need more information about anything mentioned this week, call us at (540) 231-5463, or visit our web site at www.virginiawaterradio.org.