June 5, 2013
Welcome to the Division of Land Protection & Revitalization
Transitioning into summer, it is hard to imagine that we are nearly half way through 2013. DEQ’s land programs continue to use a variety of risk management approaches and tools to proactively protect Virginia’s natural resources while ensuring the safe and efficient remediation of contaminated lands and ground water Two recent examples include our new guidance on landfill construction oversight and an evaluation of how the DEQ’s develops Alternate Concentration Limits (ACLs) for the protection of groundwater.
In collaboration with our solid waste regulated facilities and consulting engineer community, we worked to streamline the permitting review process, improving the quality of applications received, in order to free up staff time to focus more on the oversight of field construction activity. Our construction oversight guidance and the resulting implementation provides a mechanism for DEQ to verify necessary components of landfill construction on the ground with the goal being that construction is occurring in accordance with applicable requirements. I wish to personally thank our many stakeholders, including the Virginia chapter of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) for their valuable input during the development of the guidance. This program has been designed not to interfere or impede a landfill moving forward with timely construction.. A copy of the guidance can be found here: http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Portals/0/DEQ/Land/Guidance/lcoinspections.pdf
Each year, the Department revises the above referenced ACLs which, in part, are used to set Groundwater Protection Standards (GPS) at Virginia’s solid waste landfills. Our annual update incorporates the latest toxicological research published by the US EPA. DEQ translates this data into concentration values based on a number of criteria related to the hazards associated with both carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic chemicals. Very conservative assumptions are typically used in the calculations of these standards. One assumption is that groundwater is being used for human consumption on neighboring properties, which oftentimes, is not the case. We are pursuing the development of an option which provides for risk-based levels to be tied to the location of a landfill (urban v. rural). It is expected this option would be developed by the end of the calendar year. Such an option would recognize the fact that in many instances, the use of groundwater for human consumption in urban areas is restricted by local ordinances. This past spring, staff held a stakeholder meeting to discuss the current and future program options for ACL development. We received valuable feedback on the process of developing ACLs. For a summary of this feedback and the latest ACL changes, please visit: http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Portals/0/DEQ/Land/Guidance/2013_ACL_Update.pdf .
We appreciate your support as the Division continues the challenging work of balancing priorities against resource demands. Should you ever wish to discuss any of our programs or have any questions, feel free to contact me at 804-698-4079 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff Steers, Director
Division of Land Protection & Revitalization