Received today from friends in Essex and Middlesex Counties.
Subject: FW: ALERT** Groundwater Management/Groundwater Withdrawal Permit Proposed Rules**
Hi All,Please read the entire email below.All of Virginia is not affected! Counties east of Interstate 95 are being targeted for their water resources [and OUR private water resources].To clarify, here are all the counties/towns affected/soon to be affected:"The following localities are currently included in the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management area:the counties of Charles City, Isle of Wight, James City, King William, New Kent, Prince George,Southampton, Surry, Sussex, and York; the areas of Chesterfield, Hanover, and Henrico, counties east ofInterstate 95; and the cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Hopewell, Newport News, Norfolk,Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg.""The following additional localities are proposed for inclusion in the Eastern Virginia GroundwaterManagement Area: the counties of Essex, Gloucester, King George, King and Queen, Lancaster,Mathews, Middlesex, Northumberland, Richmond, and Westmoreland, and the areas of Arlington,Caroline, Fairfax, Prince William, Spotsylvania, and Stafford counties east of Interstate 95.All of the localities listed above are localities particularly affected by the regulations."Here is information on the second DEQ meeting on these proposed regulations:
Dec 4,2012Tuesday2:00 PM Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ):PUBLIC HEARING on Proposed Expansion of the Eastern Virginia Ground Water Management Area (Section 9 VAC 25-600 in the Virginia Administrative Code) to Expand this Management Area to Include the Counties of Essex, Gloucester, King George, King and Queen, Lancaster, Mathews, Middlesex, Northumberland, Richmond, and Westmoreland, and the areas of Arlington, Caroline, Fairfax, Prince William, Spotsylvania, and Stafford counties east of Interstate 95.andPUBLIC HEARING on Proposed Amendments to the Ground Water Withdrawal Regulations (Section 9 VAC 25-610)Period ends January 11, 2013 The Public Comment.CONTACT: Melissa Porterfield: email@example.com East Main Street
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, 23218(804)698-4238 FAX: (804)698-4346
Spotsylvania CountyHolbert BuildingBoard of Supervisors Meeting Room9104 Courthouse Road Spotsylvania, VA 22553Betty-------------------------------------From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2012 9:07 AM
Subject: Groundwater Management and groundwater withdrawal permit proposed rulesThis is a lengthy message, but one I hope you'll read. You may think you won't be affected because you do not withdraw 300,000 or more gallons of water per month. But, think about future consequences of all this...the potential for ownership of all the groundwater by the government, the requirement that we would have to pay not only to have a well permitted and drilled, but also pay to withdraw the water. Where would it end?TrudyRules are being proposed by Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to amend and further regulate groundwater withdrawals and management of groundwater for those entities withdrawing 300,000 or more gallons per month in certain counties east of I-95. Among the counties included are Middlesex, Mathews, Essex, King and Queen, Gloucester and King William.The DEQ began receiving public comment on these proposals Oct. 22, 2012 and will be closed January 11, 2013. Comments can be posted online (see links below) or given at public hearing. The next public hearing will be Tuesday, Dec. 4, at 2:00 p.m. in Spotsylvania at the Holbert Building, Board of Supervisors meeting room, 9104 Courthouse Road.You will note when you see the entire list of counties to be impacted by these regulations that neither of the public hearings are being held at a central location in the counties, but rather OUTSIDE the counties, which makes travel time and taking time from work to testify significant issues. Also, publicity about the proposed rules/amendments has been extremely limited (not published to my knowledge in any newspaper among the counties listed.)I managed to get information published in the Southside Sentinel yesterday about the Dec. 4 hearing only because Tom and I quickly wrote and submitted a Letter to the Editor following our participation in the public hearing held Monday in Williamsburg, Nov. 26. Editor Tom Hardin plans to do a full story on the proposed rules/amendments and the consequences in next week's issue.Tom and I testified at the first public hearing (of which we were aware). Our testimony is below. We were the only "public citizens" at the hearing. Middlesex County's Administrator Matt Walker testified on key issues and also asked that the comment and hearing time be expanded to allow more public input. He asked for a hearing to be held in a central location in our counties, such as Tappahannock.For more information go to the MPPDC Website or: http://www.townhall.virginia.gov/L/viewchapter.cfm?chapterid=1445or http://townhall.virginia.gov/L/Forums.cfm*************************************************************************************Groundwater Testimony 26 November 2012I am Tom Feigum, Middlesex County.Thank you for the opportunity to give my thoughts on proposed regulation of groundwater in Middlesex County.Having found out about this hearing at the last Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission meeting less than two weeks ago, it is interesting that basically all political representatives to that body were deeply concerned about additional intrusion into their local jurisdictions.For example, one county has been waiting for over two years to get approval for a groundwater well for a business that wants to relocate to their Virginia County. Two years later they are still waiting. Inquiries have been futile. Jobs are needed everywhere. The company could easily choose another state.Our Delegate to the General Assembly attending that meeting expressed concern about the extended period of time needed for all paper flow at the Commonwealth level.In our residential development we had application for two replacement wells approved, the wells drilled, pumps and piping with restrictors installed to reduce water flow, completed, and still over one year passed before we could get approval to put the water wells on line. The only reason for the replacement wells was the mineralization of two original wells thus reducing flow below the groundwater withdrawal level originally permitted and needed.One question I have is the timing of this hearing. If a person has a concern as a tax paying resident of Middlesex County, you have to take a full day from work, sacrifice your pay, to try and save your property right of water under your property. That property right has been approved by the General Assembly twice and voter approved in the last election by a 75% margin. And yet I fail to see anyone identified here representing me the tax-paying citizen.I would also mention that all information in the Middlesex County Comprehensive Plan relating to groundwater is a dozen years old or more, copied verbatim from the 2001 County Plan which was probably a year or more old in 2001. It's hard for me, as a citizen, to know what is current fact and what is a wild guess.It was obvious to President Jefferson that errors had been made during the early settlement years of the 13 colonial states or commonwealths. With acquisition of the Louisiana Purchase he felt a need to correct those errors as much as practicable. One of those errors was water rights, another was mineral rights. No such action was taken regarding those rights in the 13 original states. It just might be a little late to start correcting that error in this proposed manner.If the Commonwealth has yet to figure out that power lines can be buried, thus eliminating power loss to residences caused by falling trees, maybe this water management proposal is a tougher decision than you are properly ready to address.As one of the many taxpayers in this country, we don't need another scheme to take more of our money and our rights away from us. We already have Social Security, Medicare, Post Office, and many more that as taxpayers we are expected to bail out. My concern is that those of us in the proposed management area will find ourselves without water unless we pay a high premium for it. That will destroy the value of our property. Then we are going to be forced to move to large metropolitan areas where government can assure us of an allotted amount of this precious liquid.Maybe, just maybe, you need to give a lot more thinking to this proposal to make sure it serves the needs of the taxpayer, not the perceived need of Government.What geologist, engineer, hydrologist was hired by the state to investigate, support and represent the position opposite to yours; i.e., that statewide, government management of groundwater is necessary?My voice here is small. But, I and many like me are the ones who foot the bill for all this. I oppose these proposed regulations.XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXTrudy Feigum, citizen taxpayerHartfield DistrictMiddlesex County, VAPublic Hearing: Expansion of Groundwater Management AreaI wish first to state that I believe the quantity and quality of groundwater is of the utmost importance for the future well-being of Middlesex County. I am responsible. I want to and try to be a good steward of the environment.The purpose of these proposed regulations appears to be in one sentence: "Groundwater levels in[the] undesignated portion of Virginia's Coastal Plain are continuing to decline."According to the Middlesex County Comprehensive Plan, adopted December 1, 2009, and revised April 20, 2010, "The Coastal Plain Physiographic Province, which underlies Middlesex County, stores more groundwater than any other geologic province in Virginia."Further, "There are seven water-bearing aquifers underlying the County." "Groundwater flows very slowly. According to the United States Geological Survey, water within aquifers below the land surface in Middlesex County has been underground for an average of 2000 years." We know the groundwater fluctuates in times of drought and that it's rechargeable.The county's comp plan goes on to state, "The continued withdrawal of large quantities of water has resulted in a steady decline of groundwater levels." In particular, "Zone D groundwater level declines have occurred as a result of significant groundwater pumpage by the … paper mill at West Point. The paper mill withdraws over 20 million gallons of water PER DAY from the ground. …As a result, the directional flow of groundwater, which naturally flows from southwest to northeast, has been reversed in Zone D where it now travels towards West Point."Otherwise, it appears and is reported that Middlesex County's groundwater availability is adequate. If this is the case, why is the Commonwealth of Virginia not requiring an alternate water source for the paper mill? Why is it that if, as it is stated in these proposed regulations that the aquifers are all interconnected, must all citizens in Tidewater be negatively impacted, even penalized by this large user of groundwater? Why wouldn't this be the case in other nearby counties?According to the DEQ, "groundwater levels in proposed management areas are continuing to decline two to four feet per year." Is the scientific research available to prove this, or has DEQ relied on computer models with their highly questionable estimated outcomes?Middlesex County's adopted Regional Water Supply Plan states, "Middlesex County's groundwater is sufficient and rechargeable from rain. In 50 years this county will be using but 50% of its available groundwater."Middlesex County's comp plan also states, "The Code of Virginia…permit(s) local jurisdictions to create groundwater protection area overlay districts in which land use regulations specifically designed to protect groundwater can be applied."I believe these proposed DEQ regulations will remove governance from our elected officials in Middlesex and place more governance in the hands of faceless government employees.Stated in the purpose of the proposed regulations is, "There are no disadvantages to the public from managing the groundwater resources." In almost the next sentence the statement is made, "All withdrawers of groundwater, unless exempted by statute, are required to obtain a permit, which places additional regulations on withdrawers of groundwater occurring within the management area."In our housing development, a permit was obtained to drill two replacement wells due to mineral build-up and subsequent lack of flow. The permit was issued in a short span of time and work commenced. But, once the wells were completed and ready for use, it took over a year for DEQ to grant permission to withdraw water! Lack of adequate staff to complete the permitting process is a big disadvantage to me, the public. Now, due to further regulations on withdrawers, more time will be needed for the permitting process. At the same time, I see the proposed economic impact of results in an estimated increase of six employees at an estimated cost of $240,000. I am a taxpayer. This will directly impact me! After all is said and done, will I be assured a more timely response?There will be further impact--how about the:*Compliance cost on regulated users, application fee of $1200, and after 10 years, subsequent permits of $6,000?*Aquifer test between $10,000 and $25,000?*Geophysical log $1,200? Camera survey $1,000 to$2,000?*Monitoring wells $50,000 to $100,000?*Unknown costs to develop alternate water sources?*Additional employment of six people @$40,000?*Government entities paying higher costs passed along to their end users—that would be me!*Pre-application meetings/more information required?And you say there will be no impact on the citizens of this area? I beg to disagree!I'm also concerned about "After 10 years current users may be required toreduce their withdrawals or no permit will be issued in the future."This tells me it is more than likely that the housing development where I live, although permitted for 500,000 gallons per month, based on the number of current residents and potential residents, may find itself able to withdraw less than what is currently being used. This begs the question: with government management will it be determined the groundwater is needed elsewhere and allowed to be diverted? Am I saying I believe the government wants to take full ownership of the groundwater in my county and this country? Yes, I am!The potential economic impact of these proposed regulations left me scratching my head. There will be more government employees and potentially less "private" economic development. Am I to believe this is good?It is stated, "There is insufficient data to accurately compare the magnitude of the benefits versus the costs." Verbiage goes on that benefits by far outweigh the costs. Then comes the statement, "Groundwater is a valuable economic resource due to its many beneficial uses."Who better to determine its economic value than the government? And who better to benefit from the sale of this water than the government?"Permit fees and compliance costs may reduce the use and value of private property in the proposed expansion areas." Who's representing me in this "acquisition of my property rights?"I am a citizen. I own private property. That is what makes the United States different from any other country in this world—the right of our citizens to own private property! These regulations suggest that as valuable a resource as groundwater is to every single one of us, there could be a negative impact on private property with expanded management by the government. There is no way I could ever support the reduction—planned or accidental—of private property rights. I am, therefore, not in support of these proposed regulations to expand the DEQ's groundwater management area.# # #
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