Virginia's Waters: Still at Risk - A Critique of the Commonwealth's Water Quality Assessment Reports

Citation data:

Vol: 2, Issue: 1, Page: 1-20

Publication Year:
1998
Usage 8
Downloads 6
Abstract Views 2
Repository URL:
https://scholarship.richmond.edu/pilr/vol2/iss1/2
Author(s):
Foundation, Chesapeake Bay
Tags:
Environmental Law; Water Law
artifact description
Federal law requires all states to periodically report to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the water quality of their rivers, lakes and streams and provide EPA with a listing of polluted waters. Virginia has recently prepared two reports for 1996 and boasts that only 5 percent of the Commonwealth's rivers are polluted. Under closer inspection, this information is found to be extremely misleading due to a number of serious gaps and flaws within Virginia's water quality monitoring program and its methods of data reporting and evaluation. When Virginia states that only 5 percent of the waters it monitors fail to meet water quality standards, it is misleading the public by concluding that Virginia's waters are in great shape. Such a conclusion ignores the fact that compliance with a water quality standard is but one of may indices of the health of a waterbody. The absence of underwater grasses; the level of polluting nutrients; the presence of toxics in fish tissue or sediments B each of these is also an indicator of water quality conditions.