Water Quality

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.

epa.gov

The level of environmental pollution rose in Virginia for the first time in seven years. And once again, Montgomery County in the southwestern part of the state, tops the list for the largest amount of toxic emissions. But some say the numbers are misleading.

If You Smell Something, Say Something

Jan 19, 2015
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Scientists say 50-year old water regulations are out of step with modern challenges to the country’s drinking water. Urban and agricultural runoff, fracking, and water shortages, have changed what gets into the water. Scientists are calling for a fresh look at the smell and taste of the country’s drinking water.

   

Municipal drinking water safety is carefully regulated by cities and towns; on up to the federal government, but when it comes to the taste of that water, not so much.

VA's Waterways At Risk

Dec 22, 2014
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Virginians tired of the cold weather may already be dreaming of summer plans—days on the beach, swimming, fishing, kayaking, jet skiing, or canoeing on favorite waterways.  But in some cases, those plans could get canceled because rising pollution and bacterial levels force temporary closures of those locations. The Department of Environmental Quality’s latest “Impaired Waters” report makes that scenario more likely for a larger number of waterways.

DEQ's Bill Hayden says the impairment is not necessarily due to more pollutants.

Environmentalists are glad to see Dominion Power shutting down coal burning power plants, but they want the utility to do something about the waste left behind when coal is burned.  

At the Chesapeake Energy Center, Dominion has stored tons of coal ash for decades.  Deborah Murray is an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center.

“They have just simply been storing the coal ash for about 60 years now in unlined pits, and the evidence is very clear, and Dominion’s own records show that it’s contaminating the ground water.”

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