Thursday 20 September 2018

Dominion Power’s controversial plan to treat and flush millions of gallons of coal ash water from the Possum Point power plant into Quantico Creek is heading to court. The center and its client, the Potomac Riverkeeper Network, say the permit sets too lax limits and fails to require Dominion to use water-treatment technologies to more thoroughly remove toxins from the water.

Potomac Riverkeeper Dean Naujoks has been a vocal critic of the Dominion permit modification, which was approved by the Virginia State Water Control Board last month.

He said his organization has no choice but to appeal “this very bad decision” on behalf of those who live near or rely on the Quantico Creek and Potomac River for boating, fishing and recreation. “The Commonwealth of Virginia has given Dominion a free pass to dump hundreds of millions of contaminated wastewater from its coal ash ponds and threaten the health of our nation’s river and those who rely upon it,” Naujoks said.

READ MORE: InsideNOVA.com, February 1, 2016

READ PRKN & SELC Press Statement, February 1, 2016

When it’s not colored by mud after a major storm, the James River is a rock star to this southern city, voted by Outside magazine as the nation’s best river town. “On a warm day like this, there are usually thousands of people out on the river,” says Pat Calvert, the Upper James Riverkeeper, whose job it is to monitor the health of Richmond’s river.  

Calvert is a member of the nation’s Waterkeeper Alliance, and he and other waterkeepers—there are about 250 across the country—call on the help of groups such as SouthWings, an environmental nonprofit organization that supplies aircraft and volunteer pilots to monitor the Southeast’s waterways from the air. 

Calvert is looking for signs of coal ash runoff and livestock access along the river, which contribute pollutants “you don’t want in your drinking water,” he says. The volunteer pilot is Hap Endler, who has been flying his Cessna Skylane on SouthWings missions for the past 10 years. Endler is based in North Carolina, where riverkeepers look for similar pollutants, including offal from chicken farm as well as runoff from lumber companies and coal mining, that strip mountains and produce dangerous sediments in the rivers and other waterways.

READ MORE: AOPA, Janaury 6, 2016

The Potomac Riverkeeper and environmental law center also argued that the limits set for some 15 different toxic chemicals in the permit are not stringent enough. They said they do not make use of the best available technology or match requirements set by states such as North Carolina that have set higher standards following coal ash spills.

Read more: Bay Journal, January 21, 2016