Monday, July 25, 2011

Episode 72 (July 25, 2011): Wastewater Treatment Plants, Nutrient Removal, and the Virginia Water Quality Improvment Fund

Click to listen to episode (2:20) 

Please see below (after the transcript and show notes) for links to news and upcoming events.

TRANSCRIPT

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of July 25, 2011.

This week we feature another series of mystery sounds.  Have a listen for about 30 seconds, and see if you can guess where these sounds were recorded.  And here’s a hint:  It’s certainly no WASTE of time to learn about this community water facility.

If you guessed a wastewater-treatment plant, you’re right!  Conventional wastewater treatment removes solid materials, disinfects water, and removes materials that can reduce oxygen in streams receiving a plant’s discharge.  As noted in the recording, some plants now are taking extra steps to reduce levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, in order to help prevent an excess of those algae-stimulating nutrients in aquatic systems.  A major part of Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts, for example, is increased nutrient-removal by wastewater-treatment plants.  One part of such efforts in Virginia is the Water Quality Improvement Fund, which provides money for nutrient-removal projects.  By law, the fund receives 10 percent of annual general revenues in excess of appropriations, so the estimated $311-million surplus for Fiscal Year 2011 that Governor McDonnell’s office announced on July 19 will mean an estimated $32.2 million for the water-quality fund.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

SHOW NOTES

Acknowledgments: Quinn Hull recorded this week's sounds, and Bobby Epperly of the Blacksburg-VPI Sanitation Authority gave the plant tour during which the sounds and his comments were recorded.

Sounds heard in the recording: Incinerator room; chlorination chamber; high-pitched screech from a pump room; grit removers; algae-scrubbers on secondary clarifiers.

Sources: Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s Water Quality Improvement Fund Web site at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/bay/wqif.html (7/25/11), and Wastewater Treatment Web site at http://www.deq.state.va.us/tptp/homepage.html (7/25/11); Thomas V. Cech, Principles of Water Resources (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2003), pp. 359-361; Virginia Code, Sec. 10.1-2128; and  Governor McDonnell Announces Commonwealth Posts $311 Million Revenue Surplus for Fiscal Year 2011, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 7/19/11.  

Recent Virginia Water News
            For news relevant to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/.
                        
Water Meetings and Other Events
            For events related to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Quick Guide to Virginia Water–related Conferences, Workshops, and  Other Events, online at http://vwrrc.vt.edu/VAConfQuickGuide.html.  The site includes a list of Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings occurring in the coming week.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Episode 71 (July 11, 2011): "Rappahannock Running Free" by Bob Gramann

Click to listen to episode (2:25) 

Please see below (after the transcript and show notes) for links to news and upcoming events.

TRANSCRIPT:

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of July 11, 2011.

This week we feature a song about one of Virginia’s major rivers and about a major part of that river’s history.  Have a listen for about 35 seconds.

You’ve been listening to part of “Rappahannock Running Free,” by Bob Gramann on his 2008 CD, “Mostly Live.”  The complete song relates some of the history of human changes to the Rappahannock River, from a short-lived canal system in the 1800s, to construction of Embrey Dam in 1910 for power generation, and finally to the historic breaching of Embrey Dam in 2004.  Following Embrey’s removal, the Rappahannock now flows unobstructed for over 180 miles from its Blue Ridge headwaters to the Chesapeake Bay, making it the longest free-flowing river on the East Coast.  The years-long effort to open the Rappahannock parallels removals nationwide of over 800 dams—and counting—that are obsolete or unsafe and whose removal enhances aquatic systems or recreation.  According to the organization American Rivers, 60 dams in 14 states were removed in 2010, including Riverton Dam on the North Fork Shenandoah River in Warren County, Virginia.  Thanks to Mr. Gramann for permission to use this week’s music.

Show notes:
Bob Gramann’s Web site is http://www.bobgramann.com/.

Information on removal of Embrey Dam was taken from A Tale of Two Dams: From Salem Church Dam to the Embrey Dam, by Hal Wiggins (King George, Va.: Black Cat Press, 2006).

Information on the Rappahannock Rivers was taken from Mr. Wiggins’ A Tale of Two Dams, from “The Rappahannock River,” Virginia Explorer (Summer 1999), Virginia Museum of Natural History, Martinsville, and from the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network “Rappahannock River Water Trail” Web site at http://www.baygateways.net/general.cfm?id=138.

Video of the breaching of Embrey Dam on February 23, 2004, is available on You Tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvXgBet3nFY.

Information on dam removals is available from the American Rivers “2010 Dam Removals” Web site; the University of California at Irvine Clearinghouse for Dam Removal Projects; and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District has a Dam Removal Resources Web site.

For another musical tribute to the Rappahannock River, have a listen to an excerpt from “Rappahannock Rapids,” by Morey A. Stanton, in Virginia Water Radio Episode 24 (week of July 12, 2010).


Recent Virginia Water News
            For news relevant to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/.
                        
 
Water Meetings and Other Events
            For events related to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Quick Guide to Virginia Water–related Conferences, Workshops, and  Other Events, online at http://vwrrc.vt.edu/VAConfQuickGuide.html.  The site includes a list of Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings occurring in the coming week.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Episode 70 (July 4, 2011): Diamondback Terrapins and a Terrapin Rap

Click to listen to episode (2:20) 

Please see below (after the transcript) for links to news and upcoming events.

TRANSCRIPT: From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of June 20, 2011.

This week we feature a song by Connecticut kids who have a soft spot for a hard-shelled animal that’s well known around the Chesapeake Bay.  Have a listen for about 30 seconds.

You’ve been listening to Terrapin Rap #1, by two Stamford, Connecticut, middle-schoolers participating in a project on Diamondback Terrapins.  Since 2008, Stamford students have been learning about these turtles and documenting their work through photos, video, and music.  Here in Virginia, also, people are interested in Diamondback Terrapins, which range from Massachusetts to Texas and were once abundant in the Chesapeake Bay, but whose populations appear to have been significantly reduced by harvests for food and by accidental capture in  crab pots.  This summer the Virginia Herpetological Society and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science are using trained volunteers to conduct the Commonwealth’s first-ever statewide Diamondback Terrapin survey around the coastal marshes, bays, and lagoons where these animals live.  The survey will fill in gaps in our knowledge of terrapin populations and help focus actions to protect this popular reptile.

Thanks to Jim Forde of Scofield Magnet School in Stamford for permission to use this week's music.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

Show notes:  The Diamondback Terrapin activities by Stamford, Conn., students are documented at http://terrapinkids.blogspot.com/.  The source for this episode’s information on Diamondback Terrapins was the Virginia Institute of Marine Science’s Sea Turtles Web site and the Maryland Sea Grant Web site.  The 2011 Virginia survey dates and locations were June 11-12 in Northampton County, June 18-19 in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, June 24-25 in Newport News and York County, July 9-10 in Gloucester and Mathews counties, and July 16-17 in Lancaster and Northumberland counties.

Recent Virginia Water News
            For news relevant to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/.
                       
Water Meetings and Other Events
            For events related to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Quick Guide to Virginia Water–related Conferences, Workshops, and  Other Events, online at http://vwrrc.vt.edu/VAConfQuickGuide.html.  The site includes a list of Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings occurring in the coming week.