Virginia awards $21.5 million in grants for stormwater pollution reduction efforts
“Clean water is essential to a healthy and thriving economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Our ongoing efforts to improve water quality in the Commonwealth will benefit significantly from these grants. The funds focus on the needs of local governments as they help ensure improved methods of reducing pollution to the state’s waters.”
The fund, administered by the Department of Environmental Quality, was established by the 2013 General Assembly. This year, $28 million was available to local governments as matching grants for best management practices that reduce pollution from stormwater runoff.
The local government projects cover a wide variety of stormwater management practices. For example:
Albro Creek stream restoration and constructed wetlands project. The city of Richmond’s Albro Creek stream restoration and constructed wetlands project aims to restore a portion of a previously disconnected natural flow path of Albro Creek, a tributary of Goode’s Creek. Restoring and returning the creek to its natural condition not only will reconnect the historic flood plain and alleviate flooding downstream, it also will slow the flow of polluted stormwater runoff. By restoring the natural flow patterns and in combination with constructed wetlands, additional nitrogen and phosphorus will be removed that otherwise would have been discharged to the james river and ultimately to the Chesapeake Bay.
Cavalier Trail Park bioretention facility. The city of Falls Church submitted an application for a bioretention facility that will be implemented in Cavalier Trail Park. Bioretention is a process that filters pollutants from stormwater. The project’s location will allow the facility to serve a dual purpose: providing pollutant reductions that will contribute to meeting local and Chesapeake Bay TMDL reduction requirements, and serving as a public education opportunity. Falls Church plans to place signs around the facility that will provide information on bioretention design, how it works, and the impact of stormwater runoff on water quality.
deq plans to award the remaining $6.5 million in the fund in late 2015. This will enable localities to identify other options for improving water quality, focusing on cost-effectiveness and enhanced stormwater management plans that address required water quality improvements.
The approved projects are designed to reduce levels of phosphorus, a key pollutant in stormwater. They have relatively high environmental benefits in terms of pounds of phosphorus removed per year, and they are the most cost-effective of the proposals that deq considered.