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Media inquiries: Please contact Julie Buchanan,, 804-786-2292.

Date: March 13, 2013
Contact: Julie Buchanan, Public Relations Specialist, (804) 786-2292,

Draft water quality improvement plan for streams in Patrick, Henry counties to be presented March 28

RICHMOND - A public meeting to present a draft water quality improvement plan for six streams in Patrick and Henry counties on the state's "dirty waters" list will be March 28, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Spencer-Penn Centre, 475 Spencer Penn Road, Spencer, Va. 

This is the final public meeting to develop an improvement plan for the Smith River, North Mayo River, South Mayo River, Blackberry Creek, Leatherwood Creek and Marrowbone Creek watersheds. Levels of bacteria in segments of these streams violate the state's water quality standard and could lead to increased risk of illness for people who come in contact with the waters. Bacteria sources identified include failing septic systems, direct discharges of human waste, pet waste, agricultural practices in the area and urban runoff.
Working groups and a steering committee have been involved in developing a plan to reduce sources of pollution from agricultural, residential and urban lands. The group includes local residents, local government staff and officials, and representatives from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Patrick Soil and Water Conservation District, Blue Ridge Soil and Water Conservation District, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Virginia Department of Health, Virginia Department of Forestry, West Piedmont Planning District Commission and Dan River Basin Association. 

The draft plan outlines corrective actions, associated costs and benefits, measurable goals and an implementation timeline. Corrective actions include replacing failing septic systems, removing direct discharges of human waste to streams, stormwater best management practices to reduce bacteria loads in runoff, creating a pet-waste disposal and education program, fencing to exclude livestock from streams, streamside buffers on cropland and pasture management.

At this meeting, citizens will be able to ask questions about the plan and offer input.  The meeting will be followed by a 30-day public comment period, which ends April 28, 2013. 

For more information, contact Heather Vereb Longo with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation at 540-394-2586 or


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