Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dan River Region waters added to polluted list

Comment:  If the state of VA lifts the ban on uranium mining, this region will not be able to drink the water and no fishing at all!

By Tara Bozick
Published: August 24, 2010

Virginia’s 2010 water quality report released Monday shows nine new water pollution listings affecting Pittsylvania County that need further study and cleanup plans.

That makes 14 bodies of water in the county that need total maximum daily load development, or a “pollution budget.” Every two years, Virginia monitors one-third of the state’s watersheds on a rotating basis.

“We continue to find watersheds where pollution is a problem but we also are seeing more areas where water quality has improved,” David K. Paylor, director of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality said in a news release. “This is good news that we expect to continue as our cleanup efforts progress throughout the state.”

Virginia lists 1,400 miles of impaired streams and rivers, 2,500 acres of impaired lakes and 25 square miles of impaired estuaries. Yet, more than 430 waters have been removed for meeting water quality standards and more than 600 are proposed for de-listing in the latest report.

The additional listings aren’t a result of state waters becoming more polluted so much as the state looking in more places, said Bill Hayden, DEQ spokesman.

“We believe it’s important for people to understand water quality in their community and this is one reason to do that,” Hayden said.

“That’s the goal of all of this,” Hayden said. “It’s going to be slow but we are seeing water quality improving in certain areas.”

Katherine Mull, executive director of the Dan River Basin Association, said the list shows opportunities where the region can develop ways to keep the rivers clean, especially as the Dan River Region is still relatively undeveloped.

The association monitored the Dan River in North Carolina for bacteria and sediment over a nine-month period and while hot spots were identified, the results weren’t alarming, she said.

“I think it’s a good thing to get a heads up. We have the potential to make much more headway here,” Mull said. “It takes public action to clean up the rivers.”

It’s not only in the interest of public health, like with drinking water, but it means providing safe recreation and places to take kids fishing, she added.

“In our area, recreational canoeing and kayaking offers tremendous potential for tourism and economic development,” Mull said. “A river can be a gold mine in terms of its contribution to a local economy

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