RD10 - Toxics Reduction in State Waters State Fiscal Year 2007

Executive Summary:
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) submits the annual Toxics Reduction in State Waters (TRISWat) Report to the Governor and General Assembly of the Commonwealth on January 1st of each year, in accordance with Virginia Code § 62.1-44.17:3.

The primary objective of the TRISWat Report is to document the Commonwealth’s progress toward reducing toxics in state waters and improving water quality. This commitment includes three principal types of activities: (1) the prevention of contamination of the Commonwealth’s waters by toxics, (2) the continued monitoring of those waters for the presence of toxics and (3) the implementation of remedial measures to reduce and/or eliminate toxics found in the Commonwealth’s waters.


Permitting: During State Fiscal Year 2007 (SFY07), DEQ’s Toxics Management Program (TMP) included 301 reporting facilities with 747 outfalls that had active permit-defined toxics limits in their effluents, as recorded in DEQ’s Comprehensive Environmental Data System (CEDS) database.

Pollution Prevention: The 2007 Pollution Prevention Annual Report is now available on the DEQ WebPages at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/p2/pdf/report07.pdf. Among the highlights of Pollution Prevention successes affecting reduction of toxics in state waters in the past year are the following:

• At the end of 2007 there were approximately 360 facilities in the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program (VEEP); approximately 250 (70%) at the Environmental Enterprise (E2) level, approximately 100 (28%) at the Exemplary Environmental Enterprise (E3) level and approximately 12 (3%) at the Extraordinary Environmental Enterprise (E4) level. Twenty-seven of these facilities were honored with special recognition during 2007. Virginia is still the only state in the nation to provide performance-based permit fee discounts (from 2 to 20%) for going beyond compliance. In 2007 over $57,500 in fee discounts were distributed among almost 100 VEEP facilities that implemented and carried out their Environmental Management System (EMS) Plans.

• A review of VEEP annual performance for 2007 reported a reduction of 48.9 tons in the use of hazardous materials, a decrease of 150 tons in the disposal of hazardous wastes, and over 65 tons of hazardous wastes recycled. Over 3,900 tons of recycled materials were used and 9.4 million tons of non-hazardous materials were recycled. Greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by more than 8,700 tons, NOx emissions were reduced by 724 tons, and water use was reduced by almost 927 million gallons, while realizing total cost reductions of more than $1.5 million.

• DEQ’s Voluntary Mercury Reduction Initiatives also have been successful. The “Virginia Switch Out” Project for the recycling of automotive mercury switches pledged the removal of 1500 switches, equivalent to five pounds of mercury. Numerous facilities have also pledged to recycle energy efficient fluorescent light bulbs, which also contain small quantities of mercury. (Refer to DEQ’s Mercury Reduction WebPages - http://www.deq.virginia.gov/p2/mercury/homepage.html.)

• DEQ’s Pollution Prevention in Healthcare Program (Hospitals for a Healthy Environment – VH2E) continued to promote the reduction of regulated medical wastes, to reduce toxic materials by encouraging environmentally preferable purchasing practices, and to eliminate mercury from health care purchases. The Program and its participants received a number of awards and recognition from the national program. Participants reported the reduction of over 500 lbs of mercury as well as 185 tons of solid waste, and a cost savings of more than $335,000.

• Of the 960 members (735 participants and 125 mentors) of the Businesses for the Bay (B4B) Program, 398 (41%) are in Virginia. In 2007 they reported approximately 102 million pounds of waste reduction and recycling, at a cost savings of over $2.6 million due to pollution prevention efforts. Virginia’s participants earned eight B4B Excellence Awards in 2007, more than half of the total awarded.

• Virginia NEEP facilities have pledged to reduce priority chemical use by 592,682 pounds: 145 lbs of mercury, 225 lbs of methyl ethyl ketone, and 592,312 lbs of lead. An additional commitment is to reduce the use of lead by another 10,000 lbs by the end of 2008.


Toxics Release Inventory (TRI): The March 2007 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Report is available on the DEQ Website at: http://www.deq.virginia.gov/sara3/3132005.html. It summarizes data from calendar year 2005, during which 488 facilities filed 1859 individual reports. Statewide toxic releases to the water totaled approximately 9.7 million pounds or 17% of the total onsite releases to all media during 2005. This represented an approximate 6.5% increase from the 9.15 million pounds released in 2004. Nitrate compounds, of much more concern for their effect as nutrients rather than as toxics, represented 97.3% of the total released.

Water Quality Monitoring Programs: As a result of the continual planning process within DEQ’s Water Quality Monitoring (WQM) and Assessment Program, periodic updates and revisions of the agency’s WQM Strategy are necessary. Two major changes in the 2007 WQM Strategy that affect toxics monitoring and assessment are the adaptation of the monitoring program to the newly delineated sub-watersheds of the National Watershed Boundary Dataset (NWBD) and the realignment of the monitoring year to correspond with the calendar year rather than the state fiscal year.

Summer 2006 was the seventh year of DEQ’s estuarine probabilistic monitoring and the spring and summer of 2007 comprised the seventh year of its freshwater probabilistic monitoring (ProbMon). Because of resource limitations, the sampling and analysis for sediment organics was suspended at freshwater ProbMon sites in SFY07. The results of spring freshwater probabilistic sampling of sediment and dissolved metals for Monitoring Year 2007 are included in this report. Sediment chemistry (metals and organics) and toxicity sampling were continued at estuarine ProbMon sites during the summer of 2006 with resources provided by a grant from the federal National Coastal Assessment Program, complimented with Chesapeake Bay Program support. Resources provided by a federal §106 grant supplement and by DEQ’s Chesapeake Bay Program allowed the continuation of this sampling during the summer of 2007.

Beginning with the 2006 305(b)/303(d) Integrated Water Quality Assessment Report, sediment chemistry, sediment toxicity and benthic taxonomic results from DEQ’s Estuarine Probabilistic Monitoring Program were used for a toxics-related “Weight-of-Evidence” assessment of aquatic life use in estuarine waters. These results, primarily from minor tidal tributaries, complement those from the Chesapeake Bay Program’s benthic probabilistic monitoring program, which emphasizes the mainstems of major tidal tributaries and the Bay itself. The corresponding Estuarine ProbMon results from 2005 are being incorporated into the 2008 Integrated Report.

Thirty-five years of monitoring have revealed that the distribution and concentrations of toxics vary greatly among samples, whether they are nearby duplicates collected on the same day or sequential samples collected over various time spans. No definitive long-term trends have been detected to document consistent changes in toxics-related water quality. The probabilistic monitoring of toxics during the past six years has demonstrated that statewide concentrations of dissolved trace metals and organics in ambient waters are generally representative of global background levels, except near confirmed or suspected point sources. Reports on the probabilistic results are currently in preparation and will provide a baseline for future comparisons. Recent developments of more efficient sampling designs, sampling technologies and analytical methods offer promise of more effective documentation of short-term changes and mid-term trends in the near future.

Assessment and Remediation

Assessment: The 2006 Integrated Report identified 1,423 miles of rivers, 76,013 acres of lakes, and 2,145 square miles of estuaries impaired by specifically identified toxics. Of these, over 99% were listed for fish consumption advisories, primarily for PCBs (68% of toxics-impaired rivers, 95% of lakes, 98% of estuaries) or mercury (26% of rivers, 5% of lakes, <1% of estuaries). Because the number of segments united into each TMDL varies with the hydrography and the extent of the impairment, the exact number and schedule of toxics-related TMDLs to be developed and implemented is not yet certain. DEQ’s PCB Strategy (2005) establishes priorities for TMDL development and discusses various options for remediation. The 2008 Integrated Report is in preparation, and any new PCB-impaired segments will be integrated into the Strategy.

Remediation / Reduction: The agency’s TMDL history, current status and development plans are available on the DEQ WebPages at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/tmdl/. Twenty-three individual toxics-related TMDLs have been developed and approved since 2002 - 23 for PCBs, and two for benthic impairments with toxic stressors (copper + zinc, and lead + PAHs). Sixteen Potomac tributary PCB TMDLs have since been incorporated into the interstate Potomac River PCB TMDL developed under the auspices of the Interstate Commission for the Potomac River Basin. This TMDL was submitted in November 2007 and has also been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. Four additional TMDLs for PCBs in the Roanoke River are scheduled for completion in 2008. Another seven for VDH fish advisories (mercury) are scheduled for 2010, three in the Shenandoah and four in the North Fork Holston basins. Three additional TMDLs, for tributyltin in the Elizabeth River, are also scheduled for completion in 2010.

As these 24 completed and 21 scheduled TMDLs are implemented, and others are added, follow-up monitoring will be initiated to evaluate their effectiveness in reducing toxics contamination. The effective implementation of these TMDLs should result in measurable reductions of contaminants in a number of the state’s watersheds within a few years.

Continued Commitment

DEQ continues its commitment to toxics reduction by the prevention of contamination, continued water quality monitoring, and the implementation of remedial measures. The Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System and the Pollution Prevention Program join with other programs and stakeholders to control and reduce toxics release. The Toxics Release Inventory and various water programs constantly monitor and document the release to, and the presence and movement of toxics in aquatic environments. Close coordination between monitoring and assessment activities will identify new sources of contamination as they occur and document the effectiveness of load allocations and other remedial measures developed and implemented by the TMDL Program. The agency anticipates significant reductions of toxics in the state’s waters as a result of continued TMDL implementation.