Rappahannock Friends and Lovers of Our Watershed

Rappahannock County Water Quality Advisory Committee

Reports & Meeting Minutes

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February 9, 2006

Members Present: Reid Folsom, RLEP, Chair
Kenner Love, Virginia Cooperative Extension
Medge Carter, Virginia Department of Health
Tom Tepper, Rappahannock County Planning Commission
Bev. Hunter, RappFLOW
Greg Wichelns, Culpeper Soil & Water Conservation District S.
John W. McCarthy, County Administrator

Members Absent: Monira Rifaat, Rappahannock County Farmland Protection Committee
Josh Makela, Rappahannock County High School
Bryant Lee, Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors

Mr. Folsom called the meeting to order at 5:10. By unanimous consent, the agenda was approved. With no amendment, and after a brief discussion, the minutes of the January 12, 2006 meeting were approved.

Mr. McCarthy reported that the Board of Supervisors of Culpeper County had voted to recommend approval of the Tier III designation of the Hazel River to the State Water Control Board, and that they would act to either vote to advertise for the designation at the State level, or to deny, later this month. At this point, the State Water Control Board may elect to propose for public comment all, a portion or none of the River for Tier III designation. The Chair asked for continued updates on the process at subsequent meetings.

Mr. Wichelns noted that the proposed nutrient-trading process would be implemented in Culpeper as a demonstration program through DEQ and indicated that a Tier III designation would considerably complicate what promises already to be a very complicated matter.

Bev Hunter gave an extensive report on RappFLOW activities, focusing on the Upper Thornton Watershed survey that has recently been mailed out to 1500 recipients. She noted that preliminary review of responses to one question, concerning threats to water quality, indicated that respondents were somewhat unaware of the impact of riparian buffers. Somewhat to her surprise, the most commonly noted threat was indicated as being sewage treatment plants.

It was agreed that Ms. Hunter would be presenting monthly updates of the survey process and analysis. Mr. Tepper suggested that updates periodically to the planning Commission would be welcome.

A discussion of the Town’s draft Sewage Treatment Plant permit process followed. Mr. McCarthy noted that the DEQ would be scheduling a hearing on the proposed draft permit in late March or early April. He also noted that the Board of Supervisors had authorized him to obtain outside engineering consulting to review the proposed draft permit and to make recommendations on standards, etc.

A discussion followed concerning the lack of data on water quality in the river and the largely anecdotal nature of septic system failure info on the Town. Ms. Carter noted that the Town also had a number of properties that were at their limit in terms of space for repairs, Mr. McCarthy added that some systems, including the jail’s required frequent pumping, etc. The Chair presented a point paper on the Town’s proposal. After discussion, it was agreed to table the matter until next months’ meeting.

Mr. McCarthy reported that TMDLs would be proceeding in the April-May timeframe. Mr. Wichelns urged RappFLOW, after Ms. Hunter expressed her concern over the information and data resources being used, to contact Mr. Walker at the Regional Commission, as they would be the lead agency, and would be putting together the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) soon.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 6:14 PM.

Respectfully Submitted,


John W. McCarthy, Secretary