Tuesday 21 May 2019

"In June 2015, our partner Potomac Riverkeeper Network took aerial photographs revealing the unexpected draining of coal ash wastewater from “Pond E” at Virginia Dominion Power’s Possum Point Power Plant into Quantico Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River. After receiving the photographs in June, SELC asked David Paylor, director of DEQ, to explain the empty pond at the Dominion’s Possum Point Power Plant. Paylor responded in an email: “We know that water was moved between ponds but our best information is that no water was discharged to state waters.”

However, in January, SELC and the Potomac Riverkeeper Network uncovered a consultant report that indicated otherwise. The report referenced, in part: “… surface water stored in Pond E that was discharged into Quantico Creek in May 2015”

Since discovering that mention, both SELC and the Potomac Riverkeeper Network have been unable to determine how much coal-ash wastewater was discharged into Quantico Creek, despite direct inquiry to the involved parties. Today, InsideNoVa.com posted a story that revealed the discharge was nearly 34 million gallons, which is nearly two-thirds of the pond’s total volume. That information in the story was attributed to Virginia Dominion Power officials."

READ MORE SELC & PRKN statement, February 9, 2016

READ MORE: Conservation groups outraged that Dominion dumped over 30 million gallons of toxic coal ash wastewater into creek near Potomac River, SELC, February 9, 2016

Potomac Riverkeeper Dean Naujoks said his group has received conflicting information from Dominion and DEQ officials about the draining of untreated coal-ash water into Quantico Creek, and wants an EPA investigation into a possible violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

“We are demanding an EPA investigation,” Naujoks said Sunday. “The head of [DEQ] misled the public about dumping 30 million gallons of contaminated, untreated coal-ash water into Quantico Creek and the Potomac River. We feel the permit needs to be revoked based on this new information.”

In emails sent to the EPA Criminal Investigation Division in June and again in January, Naujoks said a June flyover of the ponds revealed “a pumping mechanism, lighting and piping,” leading from one pond to an adjacent tributary of Quantico Creek that suggested the pond water was drained at night.

Naujoks said the handling of the incident suggests Dominion cannot be trusted to follow the self-reporting stipulations outlined in the permit modification the utility received from DEQ’s State Water Control Board Jan. 14.

The Potomac Riverkeeper Network announced last week it will appeal the permit.

READ MORE InsideNOVA.com, February 9, 2016

School spokesman says 313 gallons of oil escaped. The South River Federation, an Edgewater-based nonprofit, regularly monitors the stream, a tributary that is three-quarters of a mile long and flows to Crab Creek and the South River. South Riverkeeper Jesse Iliff said the organization has collected water and soil samples that are being tested this week to gauge the geographical reach of the spill. The Coast Guard responded the day of the spill and the school system hired a private contractor, who installed booms to absorb the oil, Mosier said. But Iliff said he believes the ground absorbed some of the oil, and water from melting snow pushed groundwater into the creek, releasing oil past the point of booms. The smell, he said, is still present, but has dissipated.

READ MORE Capital Gazette, February 10, 2016