Target: David K. Paylor, Director of Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
Goal: Revoke company’s permit to discharge coal wastewater into rivers and creeks.
A Virginia utility company released 33.7 million gallons of untreated coal ash wastewater into Quantico Creek last year, and has recently received permits to discharge more, with only partial treatment. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) have been criticized and accused of covering up for the company, Dominion Virginia Power.
Coal ash is a byproduct of burning coal, and contains toxic materials such as arsenic, lead and mercury. The ash was dumped into ditches over decades and filled with water, and these ponds were federally unregulated until 2014. Since then, power companies have been obliged to start closing down and draining their coal ash ponds.
Dominion stated that last year’s discharge was permitted under their permits at the time, but environmental groups, county officials and legal representatives have claimed that neither Dominion nor the DEQ have been forthcoming with the truth. There have been calls for an EPA investigation into the discharge, as well as Dominion’s misleading of the public.
There is sufficient doubt over the conduct of Dominion in regards to the discharge of these hazardous materials. Call for their permits to be revoked until a full investigation can be made.
Dear Director Paylor,
The activities of the Dominion Virginia Power company in regards to the discharge of coal waste should be grounds for revocation of their permits. This is not the first time that Dominion has been caught out in their pollution of Virginia water systems – the contamination of the Elizabeth River, for example, and it seems the trend will continue unless steps are taken.
Whether it was through oversight, negligence or more sinister methods, Dominion were permitted to dump 33.7 million gallons of untreated, toxic coal ash waste water into Quantico Creek in May 2015. To add insult to injury, they were operating under the terms of the permit awarded to them by your office, the Department of Environmental Quality.
This is unconscionable. I urge you and your peers to review and revoke Dominion’s current permits and do everything in your power to see that a full investigation is conducted.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Edward Rice