DCR to Hold Meeting in Boyce on Water Quality Improvement Plan for Spout Run

A public meeting to discuss a water quality improvement plan for Spout Run will be Tuesday, April 3, at the Boyce Volunteer Fire Company, 1 South Greenway Ave., Boyce. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

Portions of Spout Run and one of its tributaries, Page Brook, are on Virginia’s list of impaired or “dirty” waters because they violate the state’s water quality standard for bacteria. Levels of bacteria in these stream segments could lead to increased risk of illness for people who come in contact with the streams’ waters. Bacteria sources identified include failing septic systems, direct discharges of human waste, pets and agricultural practices in the area.

In addition, a portion of Spout Run is on the dirty waters list because of its failure to support a healthy and diverse population of aquatic life. Studies have determined this is a result of excessive sediment in the stream. Sediment covers the stream bottom and destroys critical habitat for aquatic life. Sediment is transported to the stream in runoff from paved surfaces, construction sites, agricultural fields and lawns.

A Total Maximum Daily Load study approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in June 2010 identified the sources of bacteria and sediment in the Spout Run watershed.

During the public meeting, representatives from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District will outline efforts to develop a bacteria and sediment reduction plan for these stream segments. Comments and questions are sought from local residents and stakeholders.

The plan will outline corrective actions needed to reduce the sources of bacteria and sediment, their associated costs and benefits, and measurable goals. A timeline to attain bacteria and general water quality standards also will be developed.

Corrective actions may include replacing failing septic systems, removing direct discharges of human waste to streams, planting streamside vegetated buffers to filter runoff, planting cover crops and reducing tillage on cropland, excluding livestock from streams, and developing a pet waste disposal and education program.

Participation in developing the plan is an opportunity for local residents and stakeholders to improve and preserve water resources, increase farm production and increase property values in the community.

Strong local public participation ensures a final plan driven by local input. Community involvement in the creation of the plan and support of its implementation are critical factors in determining its success in improving local water quality.

For more information about the meeting or public comment process, contact Bob Slusser with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, at 540-351-1590 or bob.slusser@dcr.virginia.gov.