Notice of action: The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) may ask for State Water Control Board consideration of an amendment of a regulation on water quality. A regulation is a general rule governing people’s rights or conduct that is upheld by a state agency.
Regulation name: WATER QUALITY MANAGEMENT PLANNING REGULATION (9VAC25-720)
Purpose of notice: DEQ is seeking comments on what, if any, regulatory action should be taken, including but not limited to, (1) the pros and cons of the amendment and (2) public support or opposition.
Public comment period: MAY 22, 2008 to JUNE 20, 2008
Subject matter and intent of amendment: DEQ has received information on the possible consolidation of the Town of Culpeper and Culpeper County. Under the provisions of Virginia Code Article 2, Chapter 35 of Title 15.2, the consolidation process has been set in motion due to a petition that 15% of the registered voters in the Town signed. The process includes drafting an approvable consolidation plan and holding a referendum for the voters of both localities. If the referendum passes, it is possible that the nutrient waste load allocation for the County’s Mountain Run wastewater plant could be reduced, resulting in less annual nitrogen and phosphorus discharge in the Rappahannock River basin, a tributary of Chesapeake Bay. The Town has nutrient waste load allocations based on a design flow of 6 million gallons per day (MGD) and is now constructing that capacity. The County’s Mountain Run plant (not yet constructed) has allocations based on a design flow of 2.5 MGD and must secure a Certificate to Operate (CTO) for this capacity by 12/31/10, or the allocations are reduced based on a design flow of 1.5 MGD. Consolidating the Town’s and County’s wastewater treatment plants under one authority may result in economical and effective use of treatment capacity, which could ultimately benefit water quality due to reduced nutrient discharges. If the referendum passes, the County intends to build the Mountain Run STP with a design flow not to exceed 1.5 MGD; a 1 MGD reduction from the size of the plant currently planned. However, the time needed to complete the consolidation process necessitates an extension of the deadline for the County to secure the CTO. The County estimates it would take, at the maximum, an additional 34 months after the date of the referendum to design and construct the 1.5 MGD facility.
It is this time extension and the possible reduction in nutrient waste load allocations for the Culpeper County-Mountain Run STP that would be the subject of the potential amendment to 9VAC25-720.
It is also important to note that the deadline to comply with nutrient waste load allocations (1/1/2011) under the Chesapeake Bay Watershed General Permit for Nutrient Discharges is unaffected by this potential amendment.
How to comment: DEQ accepts written comments by e-mail, fax and postal mail. All written comments must include the full name, address and telephone number of the person commenting and be received by DEQ by 5 p.m. on the last day of the comment period. Written comments should also include a copy of any supporting documents or exhibits. All comments, exhibits and documents received are part of the public record.
How a decision is made: Final approval or denial of any regulatory action will be made by the State Water Control Board.
To receive additional information: The information about potential consolidation and its affect on plans for the Mountain Run STP was provided by Culpeper County in a letter, which is available by contacting the DEQ representative named below.