On Wednesday, June 20, The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) held a public meeting at the Montross Volunteer Fire Department for the results of Total Maximum Daily Load (TDML) for several tributaries along the Rappahannock River.
The DEQ and its contractors, Virginia Tech Biological Systems Engineering, announced the development of a water quality study for TMDL for waterways in Essex, Westmoreland, Richmond, Caroline and King George counties.
Scientist Karen Kline from Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech explained that a prolonged study of Bacteria Concentrations for several tributaries revealed they are not meeting water quality standards concerning bacteria.
The purpose of Biological Systems Engineering is to monitor the streams and take water quality data from waterways to submit a list to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of all the waters and how they’re doing. The list is composed of waterways, streams or branches that feed into the Rappahannock by Water Quality Stations that detect any evidence of bacteria.
Samples are collected and analyzed for a TMDL and the results are then calculated and recorded.
The tributaries included in the study were Mill Creek, Jetts Creek, Portobago Creek, Stillwater Creek, Baylor Creek, Elmwood Creek, Peedee Creek and two tributaries that are not named.
The meeting was the last of a four part series that began last June and discussed the allocations and reductions that are needed by the contributing factors to improve the water quality in these waterways.
Kline stated that there was a technical advisory committee meeting that was held in August where initial population estimates were discussed for the watersheds. “When we develop a bacteria TMDL, we need to know the bacteria sources and those are the warm blooded animals in the watershed,” Kline said.
“We need to know an estimate of the number of humans, pets, livestock and wildlife in the watershed.
Kline and her team were able to come up with some initial estimates and presented them to the Technical Advisory Committee to determine if the estimates were realistic. “We needed to know if they were too high or too low and we went through all the initial sources and came up with the results.”
“The stakeholders who were at the meeting provided us with some very good input as to what those numbers looked liked and how to make them more fitted to the impaired streams,” Kline said.
After a November meeting with Technical Advisory Committee, Kline’s team returned with the revised estimates of the population and had discussions on what was going to proceed and what the calibration strategy was going to be.
Kline showed several maps detailing the creeks and waterways involved in the study and showed the impaired streams in the water study that did not meet the level required.
The drainage area of the Rappahannock covered an area from Port Royal to Fones Cliffs.
For the full article pick up a copy of this weeks Northern Neck Newspaper 6/27/18