Clean water

We need to understand

Rapidan River, near Somerville’s Ford, Virginia.
Audio above, Bob Koroncai speaks at EPA public hearing in RIC, October 6, 2010 regarding detail the EPA hopes the Bay watershed states will provide.
Send a letter to Governor McDonnell, ask the Commonwealth of Virginia to provide adequate pollution diet detail to the EPA.


Thirty-six inch culvert one of three channeling runoff from 10 acre impervious area into Charlottesville impaired waterway, Moores Creek
Paradigm Shift
But, we've always done it this way.
Time to start the planning to do it another way.
J. Michael Flagg, Hanover County Public Works Director, spoke at the EPA's Chesapeake Bay TMDL meeting in Richmond, October 6, 2010

Send a letter to Governor McDonnell urging him to craft a watershed implementation plan with substance. If the EPA doesn’t receive an actionable and adequate plan written by our State, the EPA will craft the plan, an outcome no one wants.

I want to be able to see my feet

Comment Staley EPA

The MP3 above was recorded at the EPA’s public hearing on the Chesapeake Bay TMDL in Richmond, Wednesday October 6, 2010.
Public comments at these hearings are great, but they are not entered into the formal record as the EPA and the Commonwealth of Virginia work toward finalizing the Chesapeake Bay watershed “pollution diet”.

Public comment is being received, evaluated and recorded by the EPA. Please write them and tell them what you think. Hopefully we will live long enough to see our feet.
While you are at it, save a copy of your comments and email them to Virginia’s Governor Bob McDonnell.


The EPA is holding a series of public meetings this fall to discuss the Chesapeake Bay TMDL (total maximum daily load), the amount of pollution dumped into local waters. Its like calories, feed your child too much, they get fat. Dump too many pollutants in state waters, they get tainted.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is leading a major initiative to establish and oversee achievement of a strict “pollution diet” to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its network of local rivers, streams and creeks.
EPA is working with its state partners to set binding limits on nutrient and sediment pollution through a Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, a tool of the federal Clean Water Act that will be backed by accountability measures to ensure cleanup commitments are met.–EPA

The EPA asked the Bay watershed states (VA, NY, PA, DE, MD) and DC to submit plans to reduce pollutants, they asked “what are you going to do and when?”. The plans the states turned in weren’t adequate in the EPA’s estimation, they found the plans vague. The EPA has asked for revised plans from the states. Meanwhile, the EPA figures, if the states won’t plan to remove pollutants, they will put requirements in place to get the job done.

The meeting October 4, 2010, in JMU’s Grafton Stovall theater was well attended.

The home team: Russ Baxter (DEQ), Assistant Secretary of Natural Resources for Chesapeake Bay Restoration Anthony Moore, Russ Perkins, Al Pollock(DEQ)

The visitors, from the EPA, Bob Koroncai, Richard Batiuk and Jeff Corbin.

The discussion about the TMDL, the pollution diet, was very civilized. First there was careful exposition by the EPA regarding the TMDL. Then, a similar presentation by the Virginia officials outlining the State’s WIP (Watershed Implementation Plan) to address the clean(er) water goals.

The crowd listens attentively.

The final speaker before the question and answer period was Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Republican, 6th district. He upped the rhetorical ante.

Welcome everyone. I am very happy to see all of you here, not for this occasion but that you have come to show your concern about what is happening here in Virginia and elsewhere in the Chesapeake Bay Region, number one.
Number two, I want to congratulate you on the tremendous progress that farmers here in Virginia and elsewhere in the Chesapeake Bay watershed have made. You just saw very visual information about nitrogen and phosphorus usage in the region that has gone down substantially that has gone down substantially with a voluntary, incentivized program it has gone down substantially with state oversight of that rather than the United States Government stepping in with its heavy hand and I think we should keep it that way…

…You get a presentation like this tonight, and I appreciate the efforts of the State and I appreciate the concerns of the EPA as well, but no one has come forward with the cost benefit analysis to tell each and every one of you what it is going to cost you to get from that additional level that the State program provides for that you saw on the chart and the additional level below that.
Will they do that with sound sensible regulations or will they do it with arbitrary decisions made by people who know very little about your business or your operations? I think no one has a greater incentive to take care of the land and our waterways than the people who make their living off of it…

…You’ll be hearing from the Virginia Farm Bureau and you’ll be hearing from the Virginia Poultry Federation, the dairymen, the Virginia Cattleman’s Association. You’ll be hearing from the Virginia Homebuilders Association who are affected by this and you’ll probably hear from your local towns who are very worried about this as well. The proposal here, the towns will no longer just be filtering their sewage, coming through their community, but also the stormwater that runs off of peoples’ properties and down streets and so on, the cost of doing that is going to be astronomical.

I talked to a City Council member in Lynchburg yesterday in Lynchburg who told me that the estimate for the City of Lynchburg, a city of about 65,000 people, would be a hundred to three hundred million dollars in addition to all these changes they are having to make to their sewage treatment system right now.
This is an enormous burden on our state, it is going to hit farmers disproportionately hard, but its going to hit all of us and it is not well thought out…

There were no officials from Charlottesville or Albemarle in the crowd. Patrick Cooley, a real reporter, has the story in the News Virginian.

The League of Conservation Voters has given Congressman Goodlatte a score of Zero for his votes on environmental issues.

Comment on the State and EPA plans.

In the interest of equal time, we have heard Bob Goodlatte, lets hear from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Letter to editor that the Daily Progress wouldn’t publish.

dirty water

Federal and state governments have been trying to fix these problems since 1983. They have spent more than $5 billion, but the cleanup devolved into an odd kind of cordial failure. The EPA did not punish states that failed to deliver on promises. And states – which cracked down on sewage plants – shied away from requiring more expensive changes on farms and from urban storm-sewer systems.–WaPo

In recent years the EPA has been going after point source pollution, mess that comes out of a pipe. While our region is embroiled in discussion about the future of its water supply, the local water and sewer authority has budgeted 71% of its money (the rate payers’ money) over the next five years for sewer infrastructure, taking care of old business.

Next up, farmers who ignore fertilizer run-off, let their cows wallow in streams. Next up, municipalities that are cavalier about impervious surface and storm water run-off.
Oh! We can’t fix those things now, times are hard…

“Full implementation of this plan will likely cost billions of new dollars,” Virginia’s plan read. “In these austere times, we cannot guarantee such significant additional funding will be provided by our General Assembly.”

Public meetings are scheduled.
But, breathe easy. Maybe, instead of living up to this old promise, the tea-party/Republicans will resume control, dissolve that pesky EPA.

clean water

Town Creek, Corrotoman River
Wrote my Senators and Representative today about S.1816 and H.R. 3852, the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act.
Do I believe in politics? Does writing an elected representative accomplish more than doing a magical dance around a dead animal?
Read about the proposed legislation on the Choose Clean Water Coalition site.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has a machine that’ll write the letters for you.
Contact Your People in DC, encourage them to stand on their hind legs.
Do those things, then dance around the dead animal.
simpson stamps

BP & the Lorax

he speaks for the trees, as the trees have no tongues.
I didn’t know about this book by Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka, Dr. Seuss. An environmental book for young people. Buy from Amazon, send to your politicians.
“Our default mode in looking at the world is: ‘How can we make money from it?’ And so that was the lure of the farmers who helped create the conditions that led to the Dust Bowl. It’s true of BP,” said Adam Rome, a professor at Pennsylvania State University. “If you think that way, you’re going to be willfully blind to the costs that you don’t pay,” he said, until there’s a disaster. —WaPo

Gulf oil

John M. Greer discusses magical thinking and the BP spew. He answers a question that I, former repair plumber, have been asking. The pressure of the oil/gas, 13,000psi. One other pressure question, water pressure at 5,000 feet?

Meanwhile, pressure in the well continued to rise Monday, albeit slowly, reaching 6,811 pounds per square inch, Allen said in the late afternoon. He said the pressure was rising about one pound per hour.

This, too, has triggered debate among BP and U.S. officials, who had expected the pressure to hit 8,000 psi and who thought that lower pressure readings would be a sign that oil and gas was leaking into rock formations through damaged well equipment. But because of the steady increases in pressure, BP and government scientists are wondering whether so much oil and gas had been spilled already that the pressure in the partly depleted reservoir has been reduced.–WaPo 7/20/10