Report shows some progress in cleaning Virginia waters

Report shows some progress in cleaning Virginia waters

Credit: AFP/Getty Images

A crane prepares to fly out over the Chesapeake Bay.

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Associated Press

Posted on March 27, 2012 at 8:23 AM

RICHMOND (AP) -- A report says nearly nine in 10 rivers, streams and lakes inspected in Virginia have some levels of pollution.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality issued the report Monday. The assessments were conducted between 2005 and 2010.

Media outlets report the state found pollution in more than 13,000 miles of streams and rivers, 94,000 acres of lakes and 2,130 square miles of estuaries.

The agency's report is issued every two years.

About 260 miles of rivers and streams and 2,700 lake acres were removed from this year's list.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation issued a statement saying the report shows a clear trend of decreasing bacteria levels in Virginia's waterways over the past 20 years thanks to cleanup plans.

Public comments on the study are being accepted until April 27.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation statement:
“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% of rivers studied and 94% 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.”
AP-WF-03-27-12 0704GMT

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