Catawba, Craig, Little Patterson, Sinking Creeks, Lapsleys Run, portion of James River affected
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced that Catawba Creek, Craig Creek, Barbours Creek, Sinking Creek, Lapsleys Run and Little Patterson Creek and portions of the James River in Botetourt and Craig Counties are impaired for the “recreational use” water quality standard, meaning there is too much E. coli bacteria present in these water bodies.
To address the challenge presented by that “impairment,” the DEQ is holding two community meetings to discuss the process and data used to develop a water quality study for those waterways.
The meetings are Thursday, Nov. 2 from 6-8 p.m. at the Eagle Rock Library and Thursday, Nov. 9 from 6-8 p.m. at the Catawba Community Center.
DEQ and its contractors, Virginia Tech’s Biological Systems Engineering Department, will handle the meetings.
A public comment period from November 2 through December 11 will follow the meetings.
According to the DEQ, a section of Catawba Creek does not have a healthy and diverse community of small aquatic creatures called macroinvertebrates and subsequently does not meet the “aquatic life” water quality standard.
The DEQ announcement said the excessive bacteria levels may pose a threat to human health; therefore, a bacteria standard was established to preserve recreational uses in Virginia’s waterbodies.
This water quality study will report on the sources of bacteria and recommend reductions to meet Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for the impaired waters.
A TMDL is the total amount of a pollutant a waterbody can contain and still meet water quality standards.
According to the DEQ, to restore water quality, bacteria levels need to be reduced to the TMDL amount. Virginia agencies will work to identify sources of bacteria and determine the pollutant cause for the benthic impairment through a “weight of evidence” approach.
The public information meetings are designed to introduce the local community to the water quality improvement process, to provide information on bacteria and biological monitoring efforts and sources, to invite participation and solicit public input, to review the next steps, and to accept volunteers to be part of a Technical Advisory Committee.
This is an opportunity for local residents to learn about the condition of these streams, share information about the area, and become involved in the process of local water quality improvement, the DEQ announcement said.
For more information, contact: Lucy Baker, DEQ Blue Ridge Regional Office, 3019 Peters Creek Road, Roanoke, 24019; telephone (540) 562-6718; fax (540) 562-6725; email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the case of inclement weather, the meetings will be rescheduled for November 6 at at Eagle Rock Library and November 13 at the Catawba Community Center, both at the original times.