virginia sludge application regulations
Virginia's legislature has removed any local control over the use of sludge/biosolids as a farm fertilizer. While Virginia law prohibits the application of sludge/biosolids in a manner that threatens health or the environment, the regulations approved by the state don't meet that high standard.
The fundamental problems with the state's permit is the fact that it allows use of sludge on farmland on karst, a porous geologic formation that underlies much of the Shenandoah Valley. In addition, the state permit gives too much flexibility in how much sludge can be applied to one field, resulting in documented “over-application” that leads to phosphorus saturated soils and nutrient runoff into the Shenandoah and ultimately Chesapeake Bay.
Status Update: We have legally challenged the regulations in Richmond's 13th Circuit Court. We won the right to continue with our case by beating a motion to dismiss due to administrative technicalities. We finally had our day in court -- 6 years after we started fighting this issue -- on September 16, 2016. Read our blog & court brief for more info.
virginia de-delegation petition: cafo issues
Virginia has various deficiencies in its Combined Animal Feeding Opertation (CAFO) permitting program under the federal Clean Water Act. However, the state of Virginia has refused to improve their regulations in order to sufficiently protect our waters from CAFO manure runoff. In response, our counsel the Environmental Integrity Project has filed to remove Virginia's authority to issue and enforce these CAFO permits.
Status Update: We have filed our petition and are waiting for EPA's response.
shenandoah algae impairment listing
Although the Shenandoah River and it's wildlife and recreational users are suffering terribly from excess nutrient runoff, which fuel massive algae blooms, Virginia has no water quality standard for nutrients. We have been working for many years to push to get the Shenandoah officially listed by the state of Virginia because of this problem. Virginia continues to reject the Shenandoah River from their 303(d) list of impaired rivers.
Status Update: We just submitted legal arguments in support of listing the river as impaired due to the algae, including an intense expert factual record of the problems, and over 1000 pieces of supporting evidence, not to mention more than 120 personal affadavits by river users.