How Much Have We Lost?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

UPDATED: No Progress - Creeks in the 44th District Still Polluted

I've been writing a lot about trash in our community waterways, but there are other problems as well that are much harder to see.  Virginia's Department of Environmental just came out with its most recent water quality reports and the results are still ugly for our area.

Overall, 71% of Virginia's rivers and streams do not meet Virginia water quality standards.  Additionally, 94% of all estuaries (e.g. the tidal part of Little Hunting Creek & Dogue Creek) are out of compliance.

Saturday, April 14, 2012
12:00 P.M. TO 4:00 P.M.
I've been writing about this occassionally when these come out. 

I also posted our 2010 water quality reports here (hint: we've made no progress):


In terms of our area today in 2012 here's what it says or you can click on the links below:

Paul Spring Branch
  • Impaired Uses: Recreation
  • E. coli bacteria criterion excursions (5 of 12 samples - 41.7%) at station 1aPAU001.17, at Route 626.  Two biological monitoring events in 2007 at station 1aPAU001.17 (Route 626) resulted in a VSCI score which indicates an impaired macroinvertebrate community.
  • Source: Unknown
Little Hunting Creek
  • Impaired Uses: Fish Consumption, Aquatic Life
  • Date First Listed: 2002
  • Excursions above the human health criteria of 0.64 parts per billion (ppb) polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were recorded in 2 water quality grab samples (2006, 2006), collected at monitoring station 1aLIF002.48.
  • Sources: Atmospheric Deposition - Toxics, Combined Sewer Overflows, Contaminated Sediments, Upstream Source
Dogue Creek
  • Impaired Uses: Fish Consumption
  • Date First Listed: 2002
  • Segment includes all tidal waters of Dogue Creek, extending from approximately rivermile 2.1 until the confluence with the Potomac River. Portion of CBP segment POTTF.
             **Note: Some of the Dogue Creek info is missing.  I'm following up with DEQ to find it.

Hunting Creek/Cameron Run
Quander Brook is too small to be considered, but it empties into Hunting Creek and the monitoring state is below Quander Brook.  Here's what they found there.
  • Impaired Uses: Recreation
  • Date First Listed: 2004
  • E. coli bacteria criterion excursions; 17 of 39 samples (43.6%) from station 1aHUT000.01, at George Washington Parkway, 3 of 11 samples (27.3%) from station 1aHUT001.72, at Route 611/241 (Telegraph Road), and 4 of 29 samples (13.8%) from station 1aCAM002.92, at Eisenhower Avenue.
  • Sources: Combined Sewer Overflows, Sanitary Sewer Overflows (Collection System Failures), Sewage Discharges in Unsewered Areas, Urban Runoff/Storm Sewers, Wastes from Pets, Waterfowl, Wildlife Other than Waterfowl
Potomac River Embayments (Tidal Portion of Hunting, Little Hunting & Dogue Creeks)
  • Impaired uses: Fish Consumption
  • PCB in Fish Tissue / 4A, PCB in Water Column / 4A - The fish consumption use is categorized as impaired due to a Virginia Department of Health, Division of Health Hazards Control, PCB fish consumption advisory. The advisory, dated 4/19/99 and modified 12/13/04, limits consumption of American eel, bullhead catfish, channel catfish less than eighteen inches long, largemouth bass, anadromous (coastal) striped bass, sunfish species, smallmouth bass, white catfish, white perch, gizzard shad, and yellow perch consumption to no more than two meals per month. The advisory also bans the consumption of carp and channel catfish greater than eighteen inches long.
  • Sources: Atmospheric Deposition - Toxics, Clean Sediments, Combined Sewer Overflows, Contaminated Sediments, Upstream Source
These results are horrible and it will be hard to address them until we start investing serious money in stormwater infrastructure and enforcement.  The State is effectively defunding enforcement. 

Hats off to Supervisor Gerry Hyland who has proposed a small increase in our local stormwater tax to begin addressing these problems in Fairfax County. 

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