DEQ To Hold Public Meetings On Water Quality In Regional Streams

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will hold community meetings on Thursday, June 21, 2018, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Craig-Botetourt Electric Cooperative and on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Eagle Rock Public Library to discuss and accept public comments on a water quality study on several streams in Craig and Botetourt Counties.

The public comment period runs June 21 through July 25, 2018. Public comments will help guide DEQ, the State Water Control Board, and the Environmental Protection Agency in considering approval or changes to the draft TMDL report.

DEQ and Virginia Tech’s Department of Biological Systems Engineering will discuss the results of a water quality study, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), for parts of Barbours Creek, Craig Creek, Catawba Creek, Little Patterson Creek, Sinking Creek, Lapsely Run and a section on the James River in Craig and Botetourt counties. A TMDL is the total amount of a pollutant a waterbody can contain and still meet water quality standards.

Portions of these streams are impaired for the “recreational use” water quality standard, meaning there is too much E. Coli bacteria present in these waterbodies. Excessive bacteria levels may pose a threat to human health; therefore, a bacteria standard was established to preserve recreational uses in Virginia’s waterbodies. This report describes the sources of bacteria and recommends pollutant reductions to restore water quality.

Two previous public meetings, held in November 2017, introduced the community to the water quality improvement process and invited participation in the TMDL process. Since that time, a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) was formed to provide watershed-specific insight and guide the TMDL development for these watersheds. Two TAC meetings were held in December 2017 and April 2018. During the two upcoming meetings, DEQ will present on the results of the draft TMDL report, and explain the next steps of the project. The agency expects to present the draft TMDL and response to comments to the State Water Control Board for approval this fall.

All are welcome to attend these public meetings. For more information, please contact: Lucy Baker, DEQ Blue Ridge Regional Office, 3019 Peters Creek Road, Roanoke, VA 24019; Telephone: (540) 562-6718 or email: [email protected].

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