On June 22, 2009, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will release the draft 2010 Water Quality Assessment Guidance Manual for public comment.
A copy of the draft 2010 Water Quality Assessment Guidance Manual (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.
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 these procedures. The DEQ Assessment Guidance contains the assessment procedures 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 2010 Integrated Report is due to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by April 1, 2010.
The DEQ Assessment Guidance seeks to address all key elements of previous EPA assessment guidance including the 2010 guidance updates released on May 5, 2009. EPA has reserved the right to amend their guidance at a later date. The DEQ guidance also reflects changes in Virginia’s Water Quality Standards that were sent to EPA in 2009 for review and approval. Most notably there are proposed 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. If EPA requires changes at a later date, the DEQ Assessment Guidance will be revised accordingly and noticed for additional public comment.
Written comments on the DEQ Assessment Guidance will be accepted through Friday, July 24, 2009, at 4:30pm. Comments can be submitted via e-mail (Microsoft Word attachment is preferred) or U.S. mail. Written 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 Harry Augustine. DEQ responses to all comments received will be made collectively, via a response document. The response document and final assessment guidance will be posted on the assessment webpage when completed, at the URL above.