The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will release the draft 2014 Water Quality Assessment Guidance Manual on January 27, 2014.
Virginia’s 2014 Water Quality Assessment Guidance Manual contains the assessment procedures and methods to be used for the development of Virginia’s 2014 §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 January 2014, 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 draft 2014 Water Quality Assessment Guidance Manual is available for download from the DEQ Water Quality Assessment webpage at: http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs/WaterQualityAssessments.aspx. A hard copy can also be requested from Tish Robertson, DEQ Water Quality Assessment Coordinator, using the contact information below.
Modifications have been made to the assessment guidance since 2012. The most notable addition is a new subcategory “4D”, which applies to impaired tidal waters under the Chesapeake Bay TMDL that now meet assessed dissolved oxygen criteria. Additionally, the Coastal Plain Macroinvertebrate Index has been replaced with the more refined Virginia Coastal Plain Macroinvertebrate Index. All guidance modifications are described in Part II of the manual.
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. The public is invited to submit written comments through February 26, 2014. Comments should include the name, address, telephone number, and, if applicable, the e-mail address of each person and/or organization submitting comments. Comments and related correspondence should be addressed to Tish Robertson. Responses to comments received will be made collectively, via a response document. The response document will be posted on the assessment webpage along with the final guidance manual.
Contact: Tish Robertson, PhD., Department of Environmental Quality, P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, Virginia 23218. Telephone (804) 698-4309, FAX (804) 698-4032, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.