DEQ receives grant funding to improve water quality in Virginia
DEQ will use the funds to begin work on a multifaceted project that will integrate water quality planning with disaster preparation to mitigate damage from future weather events. The main objectives are to address impaired waters, create a user-friendly digital database of water quality assessment, identify potential for saltwater contamination of wells, and more.
DEQ applied for the federal grant last September to address water quality issues that arose as a result of Hurricane Florence in 2018. As part of the EPA’s Disaster Relief Fund, the grant will be used in the most affected counties as designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
These areas are mainly located in the eastern and southern parts of the state, including Northumberland and Lancaster counties, among others. DEQ will work with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science on this project.
“The EPA grant offers extensive benefits for DEQ’s water quality programs and will allow us to better prepare for any future serious weather events,” said DEQ Director David Paylor. “Our goal remains to protect Virginia’s resources for the citizens of the commonwealth and this funding helps put us in an even better position to do so.”
Specifically, the funds will be used to improve three key areas of water quality in Virginia: waterbody cleanup, wells (private and public) and data management.
For waterbody cleanup, DEQ will identify locations for installing best management practices that will both mitigate flood risks and reduce pollution in impaired areas. The second part of the project focuses on public and private wells, which become inundated with sea level rise during recurrent flooding from storm events.
The funding will help DEQ develop a digital database and pilot a methodology to identify wells that are likely to experience flooding, providing a basis to assess saltwater contamination of groundwater. On the data management side, DEQ will work to make water quality assessment data more transparent and accessible to the general public.
All three parts of the project are set to launch this year, with the roll out to continue over the next five years.
For more information on DEQ’s water programs, click here.