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Media inquiries: Please contact Julie Buchanan, julie.buchanan@dcr.virginia.gov, 804-786-2292.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: July 12, 2012
Contact: Julie Buchanan, Public Relations Specialist, (804) 786-2292, julie.buchanan@dcr.virginia.gov

Water quality improvement plan for Middle Fork Holston and Wolf Creek watersheds to be discussed July 24

RICHMOND - A public meeting to discuss a water quality improvement plan for the Middle Fork Holston River and Wolf Creek watersheds will be July 24, 7-9 p.m., at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, 355 Deadmore St., Abingdon.

Streams in these watersheds are on Virginia's list of impaired or "dirty" waters because they violate the state's water quality standard for bacteria and aquatic life. Levels of bacteria in these streams could lead to increased risk of illness for people who come in contact with water in the streams. Bacteria sources identified include failing septic systems, discharges of untreated human waste, pet waste and agricultural practices in the area. Sediment has been identified as a pollutant impacting aquatic life.

Representatives from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and the Holston River Soil and Water Conservation District will outline efforts to develop a bacteria and sediment reduction plan for the impaired streams. Comments and questions are sought from local residents and stakeholders.

The plan follows Total Maximum Daily Load studies completed in 2009 and 2010 by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. The TMDL studies identified the sources of bacteria and sediment in these impaired watersheds.

The plan will outline corrective actions to reduce sources of bacteria and sediment, associated costs and benefits, measurable goals and an implementation timeline. Corrective actions may include replacing failing septic systems, removing discharges of untreated human waste to streams, reducing pollutant loads from agricultural, urban and residential areas, and a pet-waste disposal and education program.

Corrective actions for agricultural sources may include fencing to exclude livestock from streams, pasture management, establishment of streamside buffers on cropland, cover crops, and reforestation of erodible pasture and cropland.

The meeting provides an opportunity for residents and interested parties to take part in improving and preserving water resources, while increasing farm production and property values in the community.

For more information about the meeting or public comment process contact Charlie Lunsford, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, at 804-786-3199 or charles.lunsford@dcr.virginia.gov.

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