VA Waterways Still Not So Clean Despite Many Efforts

Jun 30, 2014


While some groups and businesses have touted their environmental accomplishments and criticized new EPA regulations, one watchdog organization says "not so fast."

The group Environment Virginia says although significant strides have been made in watershed cleanup, the state's waterways are still endangered and lots more work needs to be done.

Some popular waterways where recreational activities are enjoyed still must post advisories asking people to limit which fish they consume, or warn against water consumption. Environment Virginia’s Sarah Bucci says that means no one has the right to brag—and the group’s latest "Wasting our Waterways" report offers some specifics, saying Virginia is the 5th worst in the nation for direct toxic discharges to waterways.

Bucci also says the lower James River, the source of drinking water for many Central Virginia residents, ranks ninth in the nation. She says more than half of the state's waterways are deemed unsafe. Bucci adds that while once-diluted Clean Water Act protections have been restored, polluting industries are again fighting them.

Opponents of the stricter Clean Water Act regulations argue that the rules are often overreaching, kill jobs by increasing expenses, and put hard-working farmers out of business.