August 23, 2010
CBF Statement on Virginia's Latest "Dirty Waters" Report
The following statement from Mike Gerel, CBF Virginia Senior Scientist, is in response to the release of Virginia's latest 303d Water Quality Report:
"Today's report is clear evidence Virginia's streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay are still under siege. That Virginia continues to find more polluted streams, creeks, and rivers, year after year, from the mountains to the Bay, should alarm all who value clean water, public health, and a vibrant economy.
"This report documents that, of the approximately 15,500 stream miles Virginia regularly checks, more than three quarters of them are polluted. Virginia simply must take more aggressive steps to reduce pollution, especially pollution running off farms, streets, and parking lots. Science shows that runoff pollution is getting worse, not better, and it threatens to overwhelm what progress has been made to clean up local streams and the Chesapeake Bay.
"Further, the DEQ data are not merely numbers in a report. They represent lost seafood jobs, higher costs to provide safe drinking water, decreased property values, and lost tourism dollars.
"Fortunately, clear solutions are available. A combination of funding, strict regulation, and private market innovation has the state's largest wastewater treatment plants poised to meet their part of Virginia's 2010 pollution reduction goals. Where the Commonwealth has implemented stream cleanup plans (Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL, plans), such as in the Lynnhaven River in Virginia Beach and Muddy Creek in Rockingham County, improved water quality for fishing and swimming has resulted. The state and its partner stakeholders are to be commended for this progress and the delisted waterways in this report.
"Virginia is now crafting a cleanup plan for the Chesapeake Bay, which will require pollution cuts from everyone—farmers, developers, cities, and citizens alike. Further, legislation now in Congress, the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act, would provide critical federal funding for these efforts.
"The Chesapeake Bay Foundation urges state leaders to act boldly, comprehensively, and responsibly to ensure clean water for all Virginians."