Stop Virginia Wastewater Treatment Plants From Polluting Water

Target: Doug Domenech, Virginia’s Secretary of Natural Resources

Goal: Stop permitting businesses to pollute Virginian waterways.

Wastewater treatment plants are supposed to treat water to keep it clean. In Virginia, these plants are not doing their job for their state or their country. According to data gathered by the New York Times, they are some of Virginia’s top contributors to pollution in the state. Downstream from the Virginian rivers and streams, other American waterways are affected, too. Stop these treatment plants from discharging pollutants into water.

The Clean Water Act of 1972 seems to be forgotten by many Americans. Pollution has risen steadily and companies are getting away with it without any repercussion like a fine or even a slap on the wrist. In fact, some business have permits that allow them to release contaminants into waterways. This means some businesses are allowed to flush chemicals and heavy metals into American rivers and streams; the rivers and streams that nourish Americans.

Astoundingly, included in the list of businesses with permits are wastewater treatment plants. The objective of these plants is to remove pollutants from previously used and contaminated water using physical, chemical, and biological treatments. Sewage, commercial agriculture, and industrial wastewater are directed to these plants where they are cleaned of contaminants. Different treatments at these facilities clean water and produce both liquid and solid refuse, which are to be disposed of in a harmless way or, if clean of metals or other inorganic materials, can be reused as fertilizer.

Wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) in Virginia are skipping this last step and putting their refuse back into waterways. Plants that have violated the clean water law but are permitted to pollute by the state or another power include: McKenney WWTP, Black Swamp Regional WWTP, Courtland Town WWTP (9 violations), Dahlgren District WWTP, Aldie WWTP, Middleburg WWTP, Hamilton WWTP, Lake Holiday WWTP, North Fork Regional WWTP, Timberville WWTP (53 violations), Stuarts Draft WWTP, Fort Chiswell WWTP (18 violations), Culpeper WWTP (34 violations) and Pound WWTP (5 violations). This is a small list of polluting treatment plants and this does not include other businesses in this one state that have violated water pollution laws. Of these listed, less than five have been fined.

These treatment plants have polluted Virginian water, leading to health problems in the population from tooth decay, to skin diseases, and worse, cancer. Virginians feel it, and so do Americans downstream and along the coast. By allowing pollution to enter waterways, North Americans are suffering. Stand up for our health and tell Virginia wastewater treatment plants to do their job to clean our water. Tell them to stop polluting.



Dear Mr. Domenech,

Virginians are suffering because of water pollution. Allowing wastewater treatment plants and other businesses to discharge pollutants back into waterways is causing disease in Virginia and increasing problems as the polluted water travels downstream and into the gulf.  Over 100 violations of the Clean Water Act by wastewater treatment plants in Virginia are unaccounted for — no fines or apologies to the Virginians suffering from pollution-related disease.

Please, stop allowing businesses to pollute water. Hold them accountable for causing human disease and environmental destruction.


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One Comment

  1. You can try, but it would not do any good. This because EPA never implemented the Clean Water Act (CWA) and from the start ignored 60% of the pollution in sewage Congress clearly intended to have removed. The reason? Rather embarrassing, EPA used an essential water pollution test incorrect. Besides ignoring 60% of the oxygen exertion pollution, EPA ignored also the fact that nitrogenous waste (urine and protein) not only exerts an oxygen demand, but also is a fertilizer for algae and that one pound of this waste will grow 20 pounds of alga. If this algae dies it becomes again a food source for bacteria, who will need oxygen and as such will contribute to the formation of dead zones. now seen in most open waters. Without removing nitrogenous waste from sewage, one might as well dump the raw sewage directly.
    The sad part of all this is that EPA in 1984 acknowledged the problems with this test, without correcting it and that EPA already in 1978 officially in one of its reports acknowledged that not only much better sewage treatment (including nitrogenous waste) was available, but could be build and operated at much lower cost, compared to the conventional systems, that still are based on a century old technology, solely developed to prevent odor problems.
    As long as EPA refuses to implement the CWA as intended (elimination of all pollution by 1985) and nobody is holding it accountable, we will have to live with the present situation, until somebody in Congress will speak up.

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