Thu07312014

Last updateWed, 19 Nov 2014 8pm

   2014 39.95 HSD w VIDor PH-Banner2-500-x-125

Commissioners discuss safety of drinking water

During last month’s Planning Commission meeting some commissioners voiced opposition concerning implementing a Well-Head Protection Overlay District in Colonial Beach. To answer questions about the program, the commission requested Barry Matthews from the Virginia Department of Health, Office of Drinking Water, give a presentation during the March meeting.
The purpose of the Well-Head Protection Overlay District is to prevent contamination of public wells, public well fields and other groundwater resources that are used as source of public drinking water. The overlay district would protect areas within 1,000 feet of any wells within the town. Even if zoning regulations changed the areas within, the overlay would remain protected.

At the February meeting Commissioner David Coombes was the most vocal on the issue, saying he is concerned this would be regulatory over-reach.

Coombes argued, the wells are deep enough that any contamination would not be at a dangerous level.
Commissioner Kent Rodehaver agreed with Coombes.

“This overlay district should have a significant purpose,” he said at the February meeting. “If we just start putting in overlays for everything then we just have a pile of bureaucratic paperwork and it makes it harder to focus on what we need to focus on. I agree with Coombes that it is unnecessary.”

During the March meeting Brent Waters from Golder Associates assisted Matthews with discussing all the problems that can contribute to possible contamination of the town’s drinking water.

Golder Associates has been in business for 50 years and provides a host of environmental services around the globe.

Waters told the commission that Colonial Beach has four deep ground water wells and a lot of the water residents are drinking is from the western part of the coastal planes of the Potomac Aquifer.

“The water that you drink is very old, some dating as far back as [20,000] to 30,000 years,” Waters said
Waters explained that ground water filters through layers of sand, gravel and clay until it reaches these aquifers. However, old abandoned wells or improperly constructed wells can allow contamination.
Waters warned that these old wells are the main source for ground water contamination.

Chairwoman Maureen Holt  pointed out that before public water supplies were implemented in Colonial Beach, many residences had private wells. Holt is concerned that these wells are not properly capped and could be contaminating the town’s wells.

Waters explained that ground water protection includes properly capping old wells. The program is called “Cap It” and is currently funded in part by the Department of Environmental Quality.

Matthews told the commission he is trying to spearhead a pilot program statewide, comparable to the Cap It program. If implemented, the program would offer more funding to address old and abandoned wells. Colonial Beach could greatly benefit by getting on board with this program in the early stages.

Waters explained that old gas station wells, for example, could allow petroleum contaminants to get into the aquifer.

According to Town Manager Val Foulds the town does have a water protection plan.

Coombes asked why an overlay district was needed if the zoning already protects the wells. Waters pointed out that in R-1 districts underground storage tanks are allowed. The overlay district would prohibit these types of storage within a set distance of the wells regardless of what zoning was in place. Waters also said it would prohibit other types of storage such as chemicals stored in garages.

Coombes was also concerned that storage issues such as gasoline in the garage would be too restrictive and asked if residents would be fined under the overlay district.

Matthews told Coombes that part of the water protection act involves educating residents within the district on the proper handling of these types of chemicals. Matthews said education is less costly than trying to enforce regulations. He said he does not know of other localities enforcing penalties against residents, but what is implemented is dis-allowances for future development within the overlay district.

Matthews recommended not to jump into an ordinance, but rather to review the water protection plan in place, establish a committee to discuss and focus on source water protection and allow Golder Associates to conduct a study.

The study would identify the area’s public water supply wells, assess the potential risks around these wells, and identify ways to implement measures to manage these risks.


— Linda Farneth

201407chamber

 

201407source

 

201401kgpr

Contact Us

The Journal Press, Inc. P. O. Box 409, 10250 Kings Hwy. King George, VA 22485

EditorialAdvertisingOffice
Jessica Herrink, Publisher

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Carla Gutridge
540-709-7061
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Leonard Banks, Production
540-469-4196
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Leonard Banks, Sports editor
540-469-4196
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Steve Detwiler
540-709-7288
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Drue Murray
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phyllis Cook
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Charlene Franks
540-709-7075
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Linda Farneth,
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Elizabeth Foreman,
540-709-7076
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Charlene Franks, Accounts
540-709-7075
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Richard Leggitt
540-993-7460
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Bonnie Gouvisis
540-775-2024
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Lori Deem, Church & Community
540-709-7495
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Advertising Information
540-775-2024
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Jessica Herrink
540-469-4031
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Journal Print Shop

Contact Steve Detwiler

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

540-709-7288 • 540-775-2024

Quikey

Bulletline

link4

Your Invitation Place

Balloon House