The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will release the final 2010 Water Quality Assessment Guidance Manual on April 26, 2010.
The DEQ Assessment Guidance contains the assessment procedures and methods to be used for the development of Virginia’s 2010 §305(b)/ §303(d) Integrated (i.e. combined Water Quality Assessment and Impaired Waters) Report. The DEQ Assessment Guidance seeks to address all key elements of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2006 Assessment Guidance, and both their 2008 and 2010 Assessment Guidance updates, including those released on May 5, 2009, as well as the methods of assessing Chesapeake Bay Water Quality Standards, consistent with “Ambient Water Quality Criteria for Dissolved Oxygen, Water Clarity, and Chlorophyll a for the Chesapeake Bay and Its Tidal Tributaries (July 2007) Addendum” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The DEQ guidance also reflects changes in Virginia’s Water Quality Standards, adopted by the Virginia Water Control Board on October 17, 2008, which became effective on February 1, 2010, after EPA approval on December 29, 2009. Most notably these included changes in many of the criteria for toxics in fish tissue and public water supply as well as revised procedures for assessing water quality in lakes.
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 public review and comment on June 29, 2009. The comment period closed on July 24, 2009. Only one comment was received from either the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the public.
A copy of the final revised DEQ Assessment Guidance is available to download from the DEQ Water Quality Assessment webpage at http://www.deq.virginia.gov/wqa/. A hard copy can also be requested from Harry Augustine, DEQ Water Quality Assessment Coordinator, using his contact information below.
Collective responses to comments received during the earlier public comment period are also available for download at the URL above. This document has also been mailed to the organization that submitted comment.