Rappahannock Friends and Lovers of Our Watershed

Rappahannock County Water Quality Advisory Committee

Reports & Meeting Minutes

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March 9, 2006

Members Present: Reid Folsom, RLEP, Chair
Tom Tepper, Rappahannock County Planning Commission
Bev. Hunter, RappFLOW
Greg Wichelns, Culpeper Soil & Water Conservation District S.
Monira Rifaat, Rappahannock County Farmland Protection Committee
John W. McCarthy, County Administrator

Members Absent:
Josh Makela, Rappahannock County High School
Bryant Lee, Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors
Kenner Love, Virginia Cooperative Extension
Medge Carter, Virginia Department of Health

Mr. Folsom called the meeting to order at 5:06. By unanimous consent, the agenda was approved, with the addition of discussion of the need for a called meeting. With no amendment, and after a brief discussion, the minutes of the February 9, 2006 meeting were approved.

Bev Hunter gave a report on RappFLOW activities, focusing on the Upper Thornton Watershed survey that has recently been mailed out to 1500 recipients. She passed out a summary of responses to two of the questions, and a discussion followed about the insights that might be gleaned from them (see attached).

It was agreed that Ms. Hunter would be presenting monthly updates of the survey process and analysis.

A discussion of the Town’s draft Sewage Treatment Plant permit process followed. Mr. McCarthy noted that the DEQ had scheduled a hearing on the proposed draft permit for March 28 at 6:30 PM at the High School Auditorium. He also noted that the review by an outside consultant that the Board of Supervisors had authorized him to obtain concerning the draft permit should be ready on or about the 21st of this month. Dr, Rifaat felt that a review of that document by the WQAC would be useful in framing the response to the Town of Washington’s proposal. A discussion followed concerning the proper role of the WQAC vis-à-vis individual proposals or projects, there being no general agreement reached.

There were some questions about the roles and authorities of the county government in relation to the Town’s proposed sewage effluent discharge to the River. Greg Wichelns stated that the state water control board has the authority over discharges to waterways  -- not counties.  Also discussed was what the cost might be to the county government to hook up to the proposed system, and how that would affect the county budget, and some of the offsetting financial gains to the county, e.g. freeing up county property from use as drain fields to other purposes. Ultimately, it was agreed that Mr. McCarthy would, in consultation with the Chair, call a special meeting when the County consultant’s report was available, so that the WQAC could consider it and, as appropriate, make comment during the Public Comment period for DEQ, which extends to April 12.

Mr. McCarthy reported that TMDLs would be proceeding in the April-May timeframe. Mr. Wichelns and Ms. Hunter expressed their concerns in particular over the process. The Chair noted that Fauquier County’s experience was somewhat discouraging, in terms of citizen involvement. Ms. Hunter and Mr. McCarthy expressed some hope that the TMDL process might allow further opportunity to “tie together” water quality issues in the minds of citizens, Mr. Wichelns adding that, in essence, TMDLs, Sewage Treatment Plants, livestock impacts, septic tanks, etc., are all interrelated.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 6:10 PM.

Respectfully Submitted,


John W. McCarthy, Secretary