Press Statement
March 26, 2012

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Issues Statement on Virginia Water Quality Report

(RICHMOND, VA) – Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) Virginia Senior Scientist Mike Gerel issued the statement below following today's release of Virginia's latest water quality report by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ):

"The latest Virginia report provides real evidence that pollution can be reduced and streams restored if local cleanup plans are aggressively funded and implemented. Most of Virginia's cleanup plans to date have focused on bacteria, and consequently this report shows a clear trend of decreasing bacteria levels over the past 20 years. Waterways from the Shenandoah Valley to the Chesapeake Bay where detailed local cleanup plans were implemented are now safe for swimming and shellfishing. This shows that science-based cleanup plans do work and that Virginians do not have to tolerate polluted water.

"Unfortunately, the 2012 report also documents a total increase in the number of polluted streams, rivers, bays, and lakes in Virginia from previous years. DEQ's report found that 71 percent of rivers studied and 94 percent of estuaries tested failed to meet state standards, including much of the Chesapeake Bay. The cost to Virginians of this dirty water is billions of dollars in lost revenues, jobs, property values, and quality of life.

"That's why it is imperative that Virginia employ the same localized approach that has helped reduce bacteria pollution and apply it to the nutrient and sediment pollution that continues to plague the Bay and its rivers. The state's Bay cleanup plan (Phase 2 Watershed Implementation Plan, or WIP), set for release later this month, must be sufficiently detailed and comprehensive to assure citizens that the Commonwealth is now on a path to finish the job of restoring the Chesapeake Bay by 2025."

 

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