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State Water Control Board addresses Chesapeake Bay restoration, protection

Virginia DEQThe State Water Control Board addressed several issues at its most recent meeting, held last week including restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay.

The board took action to address sea-level rise and climate change by authorizing public comment and stakeholder engagement on proposed amendments to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Designation and Management Regulation.

The amendments were developed pursuant to Chapter 1207 of the 2020 Acts of Assembly, which required that “coastal resilience and adaptation to sea-level rise and climate change” be added to the criteria requirements implemented by localities under the program.

“We are pleased to be moving forward to update the criteria to address the critical issue of climate change and sea-level rise with the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act program,” said Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Director David Paylor.

The board also approved final authorizations for the 2021 Virginia Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund. DEQ recommended low-interest loans for 14 localities totaling more than $200 million for wastewater improvement applications, stormwater improvements and living shorelines.”

Two actions, driven by the 2019 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Improvement Plan, will help water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. The proposed Water Quality Management Planning Regulation (9VAC25-720) will look at three new provisions related to waste load allocations. The Virginia Pollution Abatement Regulation and General Permit for Poultry Waste Management (9VAC25-630) was finalized and includes more stringent requirements.

The board also approved for public comment a proposed General Permit for Use of Surficial Aquifer on the Eastern Shore (9VAC25-910) and proposed amendments to the Groundwater Withdrawal Regulations (9VAC25-610) to promote greater use of the surficial aquifer on the Eastern Shore, which will improve long-term sustainability for critical drinking water supplies.

Use of the surficial aquifer will help reserve limited groundwater supplies found in the confined aquifer system for high-priority uses, including drinking water.

Water Permitting Director Melanie Davenport provided a presentation which included an update on construction and compliance on the Mountain Valley Pipeline project and Water Planning Director Jutta Schneider presented on the status of the numeric turbidity criteria currently under development.

In addition to the above-mentioned items, the Board approved the following regulation amendments and proposals:

  • Policy for the Potomac River Embankments: 9VAC25-415 – Final
  • Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit for Sewage Discharges Less Than or Equal to 1,000 Gallons Per Day: 9VAC25-110 – Final
  • Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit Regulation for Seafood Processing Facilities – 9VAC25-115 – Final
  • Water Quality Standards – 9VAC25-260 – Fast-Track Amendments to Designate Four Public Water Supplies

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board will be in April.

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