Water Quality

Marc Edwards

The drinking water expert from Virginia Tech, who first uncovered the lead contamination in Flint Michigan’s water supply, will lead ongoing testing of the water there. 

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver has commissioned Marc Edwards, a professor of environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, to pick up where he left off and continue monitoring the water after he first detected the problem last year.

Virginia Tech

The water emergency in Flint, Michigan might not have come to light without the work of a team of Virginia Tech researchers.

Toxic levels of lead in the city’s tap water were ignored by officials, until it proved there was a problem. And according to the leader of that team, Flint is just the tip of the iceberg.

Virginia Tech Environmental Engineering Professor Marc Edwards got a call from a distraught mother in Flint Michigan last year.  An EPA employee named Miguel Del Toral had gone out of his way to help her when no one else would listen.

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Environmental projects in Virginia are getting a big boon. The state is receiving nearly $8 million in funding to help clean the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

In addition to matching support from private companies, the funds come largely from the federal government.

“Restoring the bay is imminently doable, we just need to ramp up our efforts and we need to think creatively and we need to think innovatively," says Jeff Corbin with the EPA.

For the first time in years the health of Virginia’s largest river is considered above average. That’s the word from the The James River Association. The non profit advocacy group released its annual State of the James Report.

On a grading scale that takes into account wildlife, pollution, and habitat... the James earned a B-minus, better than the C-plus of 2013.

Bill Street is CEO of the James River Association.

“The biggest reason for that improvement is addressing pollution from wastewater from our sewage treatment plants and industry.”

Matt Wasson, Appalachian Voices/Creative Commons

Burning coal to make electricity isn’t its only impact on the environment. The mining process has also been shown to pollute nearby waterways.

New rules proposed by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement to protect that water, will be debated over the next several months. Some see them as a potential threat to dwindling coal jobs and others, as not strong enough to protect the environment.