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Report: Water quality better in Halifax County

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) released the Draft 2010 Water Quality Assessment Integrated Report (Integrated Report) on Monday with several area waterways that had previously been listed as impaired now being delisted. The 2010 Integrated Report, a summary of the water quality conditions in Virginia from Jan. 1, 2003 to Dec. 31, 2008 indicates impaired waters in the state continue to outnumber high quality water sources.

In December 1999, a health advisory for fish consumption was issued for a 42-mile stretch of the Dan River from Kerr Reservoir at Staunton River State Park to southwestern Halifax County where the river crosses into North Carolina, north of Virginia Route 62.

According to the report, this fish consumption advisory was modified in December 2004 to cover the river within Virginia from the Brantley Steam Plant Dam in Danville and to include the following tributaries: the Hyco River up to the Route 738 bridge and the Banister River up to the Banister Dam.

The advisory cautions people to not eat any flathead catfish greater than 32 inches and to eat no more than two eight-ounce meals a month of flathead catfish less than 32 inches, channel catfish, blue catfish, carp, redhorse sucker, striped bass, white bass, white perch or walleye taken from the advisory area.

In 2007 a mercury advisory was issued for striped bass and white bass for the segment.

Longnose gar, largemouth bass, flathead catfish or blue catfish were added to the list of species affected by elevated mercury in 2008.
In the 2010 report, 6.53 miles and another 3.27 miles of the Dan River have been identified for partial delisting since the 2008 report for fish consumption.

The Dan River from the Town of South Boston’s raw water intake to its confluence with Peter Creek in Halifax County was initially listed during the 2004 cycle as not supporting fish consumption use due to violations in fish tissue samples collected in flathead catfish 1999 and 2002.

Fish tissue samples in flathead catfish collected in 2007 show the segment is now meeting the screening values.

Also delisted for recreation are 7.78 miles of the Dan River, 0.9 mile in the Staunton River and 9.04 miles of Aarons Creek, the report further states.

Three waters in Halifax County were listed where modeling has determined that water quality-based discharge permit limits are necessary to maintain or attain Water Quality Standards in the receiving stream.

These three discharge facilities at Sydnor Jennings Elementary, HCSA Wastewater Treatment Plant on Cowford Road and the HCSA Leigh Street Water Treatment Plant, are under schedules of compliance to upgrade or expand their treatment processes.

In these cases, permit effluent limitations need to be more stringent than technology-based requirements, according to the DEQ report.

Each of the three county discharge facilities listed in the report are currently on schedule to meet standards, the report said.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality develops and submits this report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency every even-numbered year.

The report satisfies the requirements of the U.S. Clean Water Act sections 305(b) and 303(d) and the Virginia Water Quality Monitoring, Information and Restoration Act.

The goals of Virginia’s water quality assessment program are to determine whether waters meet water quality standards, and to establish a schedule to restore waters with impaired water quality, according to the DEQ website.

Water quality standards designate uses for waters. There are six designated uses for surface waters:

• aquatic life

• fish consumption

• public water supplies (where applicable)

• shellfish consumption

• swimming (recreation)

• wildlife

The standards define the water quality needed to support each of these uses. If a water body contains more contamination than allowed by water quality standards, it will not support one or more of its designated uses, according to the report.

Such waters have “impaired” water quality. In most cases, a cleanup plan (called a “total maximum daily load”) must be developed and implemented to restore impaired waters.

The findings in this report will be presented at a webinar on Thursday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Interested persons can pre-register at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/267343337.

This report is available for public comment through Sept. 24.

Comments or questions about the report can be submitted via first-class mail to:

Darryl M. Glover
DEQ Office of Water Monitoring and Assessment
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, Virginia 23218-1105
or via e-mail attachment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .