The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has released the Final 2018 Water Quality Assessment Guidance Manual. Virginia’s 2018 Water Quality Assessment Guidance Manual contains the assessment procedures and methods to be used for the development of Virginia’s 2018 §305(b)/§303(d) Integrated (i.e. combined Water Quality Assessment and Impaired Waters) Report. The assessment guidance seeks to address all key elements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2006 Assessment Guidance and subsequent updates current to December 2018, in addition to the assessment methodology for Chesapeake Bay Water Quality Standards established by EPA, most recently updated in the May 2010 addendum to Ambient Water Quality Criteria for Dissolved Oxygen, Water Clarity, and Chlorophyll a for the Chesapeake Bay and Its Tidal Tributaries. A copy of the Final 2018 Water Quality Assessment Guidance Manual will be available for download from the DEQ Water Quality Assessment webpage at:
https://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs/WaterQualityAssessments/2018WQAGuidanceManual.aspx. A hard copy can also be requested from Amanda Shaver, DEQ Water Quality Assessment Coordinator, using the contact information below.
Section 62.1-44.19:5 C of the Code of Virginia requires DEQ to develop and publish the procedures used for defining and determining impaired waters and provide for public comment on the procedures. A draft version of this guidance was released for 30-day public review and comment on March 5, 2018. Comments were received from five
organizations, including the Environmental Protection Agency. DEQ’s response to these
comments will be available for download at the URL above. Modifications have been made to the guidance document since 2016. A complete list of significant guidance modifications are described in Part II of the manual.