The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will hold a community meeting on Thursday, November 2, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Eagle Rock Library and on Thursday, November 9, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Catawba Community Center. In the case of inclement weather, the meetings will be rescheduled for November 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Eagle Rock Library and November 13, during the same time frame at the Catawba Community Center.
DEQ and its contractors, Virginia Tech’s Biological Systems Engineering Department, will discuss the process and data used to develop a water quality study for Barbours Creek, Craigs Creek, Catawba Creek, Little Patterson Creek, Sinking Creek, Lapsely Run and a section on the James River in Craig and Botetourt counties. A public comment period will follow the meetings, from November 2 through December 11, 2017.
In Botetourt and Craig counties, portions of the James River, Catawba Creek, Craigs Creek, Barbours Creek, Sinking Creek, Lapsley Run and Little Patterson Creek are impaired for the “recreational use” water quality standard, meaning there is too much E. Coli bacteria present in these waterbodies. A section of Catawba Creek does not have a healthy and diverse community of small aquatic creatures called macroinvertebrates and subsequently does not meet the “aquatic life” water quality standard. Excessive bacteria levels may pose a threat to human health; therefore, a bacteria standard was established to preserve recreational uses in Virginia’s waterbodies.
This water quality study will report on the sources of bacteria and recommend reductions to meet Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for the impaired waters. A TMDL is the total amount of a pollutant a waterbody can contain and still meet water quality standards. To restore water quality, bacteria levels need to be reduced to the TMDL amount. Virginia agencies will work to identify sources of bacteria and determine the pollutant cause for the benthic impairment through a “weight of evidence” approach.
A public information meeting will be held to introduce the local community to the water quality improvement process in Virginia, provide information on bacteria and biological monitoring efforts and sources, invite participation and solicit input, review the next steps, and accept volunteers to be part of a Technical Advisory Committee. This is an opportunity for local residents to learn about the condition of these streams, share information about the area and become involved in the process of local water quality improvement.
For more information, please contact: Lucy Baker, DEQ Blue Ridge Regional Office, 3019 Peters Creek Road, Roanoke, VA 24019;Telephone: (540) 562-6718, Fax: (540) 562-6725, Email: [email protected]
-Submitted by Lucy Baker