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What DEQ didn’t tell you

Posted on Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 11:52 am

“I think the title of this presentation should be, ‘The things DEQ didn’t tell you about.’” said Resource International’s Charlie Redlinger, as he updated the Westmoreland Supervisors on conditions required to obtain a groundwater withdrawal permit from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), for the Industrial Park Water System.

The DEQ has given Westmoreland County eight years to perform certain conditions in order to receive their groundwater withdrawal permit. If a locality extracts more than 300,000 gallons in a month, a withdrawal permit is required from the DEQ.

Through the State Water Control Board, the Virginia DEQ, regulates water resources and water pollution in Virginia. The DEQ designates areas for water control if it finds there is a risk of depletion, competition between wells, groundwater is being overused or for risk of contamination.

“We all knew that a groundwater withdrawal permit was required, Redlinger said. “The things we knew about was that they would take the 12 worst months. That is what the allocation will be. What they didn’t tell you about was there are going to be conditions attached to that permit, and conditions always cost money.”

The DEQ states that all permits may include any of the following restrictions or conditions; specific limits on withdrawal amounts; require geophysical investigations; require instillation of water meters; reporting of withdrawal and water quality data; development of a water conservation and management plan; development of a mitigation plan and require instillation of monitoring wells.

In order to obtain a groundwater withdrawal permit, Westmoreland County must close three wells and build a new one in eight years time.

Redlinger said, “Conditions include closing of the Scovill well, which you are not using anyway. Also closing of a well that nobody could find at the old A.T. Johnson school, and the fact that you would have to close your existing AT Johnson well.”

The reason the existing well has to be closed and a new well dug is current regulations state that there can be no seepage between aquifers in order to reduce contamination.
Redlinger said, “The fact is that the regulations for DEQ for drilling a well, there’s to be no interface between the different aquifers. Up until now, most wells have been gravel packed wells, which means you drill a well and you put gravel around it so from one aquifer to the other, water could seep through. That is no longer permissible.”

Read more of this story in the September 27 issue of the Westmoreland News.