Albemarle County Receives $137,750 Stormwater Grant - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Albemarle County Receives $137,750 Stormwater Grant

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A new grant is aiming to improve water quality in Albemarle County. The county was one of 31 localities in Virginia to receive a grant under the state's new Stormwater Local Assistance Fund.

"We're of course very thrilled to receive that kind of help to get this important environmental management project going for Albemarle County,” said Albemarle County spokesperson Lee Catlin.

County planners will use the almost $138,000 to install a stormwater basin along Hillsdale Drive. It will gather stormwater runoff from facilities in the area.

County administrators say the pond will help catch phosphorus from rainwater and prevent it from seeping into the ground. Members from the Rivanna River Conservation are happy to hear the news.

"Ultimately what that will do is it will allow things like heavy metals or oil from cars or from tires or any number of things to settle and be trapped in the soil before it gets into the river system,” said Christopher Mantle, with the Rivanna River Conservation.

Governor Bob McDonnell proposed the new grant program in the 2013 General Assembly. It's a matching grant program, so the county will also fork out at least $138,000 for the project.

"You have to do regular maintenance and make sure it's still working properly so there is still some element of ongoing cost to making sure that it stays effective and functional,” Catlin said.

The Department of Environmental Quality, which administers the fund, found the water basins to be the most cost-effective method of keeping phosphorus out of the ground.

The project is 60 percent designed, and county planners say construction will start early next year.

Albemarle County Press Release

Virginia has awarded the first round of grants under the new Stormwater Local Assistance Fund, Governor Bob McDonnell announced last week. The grants total $22.9 million and cover 71 projects in 31 localities, and Albemarle County received a $137,750 award.

"These grants are another step forward in our efforts to assist localities and continue improving water quality in the Commonwealth," Governor McDonnell said. "By targeting the needs of local governments, we are helping to reduce pollution in our waterways, and cleaning up our environment."

The fund, administered by the Department of Environmental Quality, was included in the Governor's budget and established by the 2013 General Assembly. It makes $35 million available to local governments as matching grants for best management practices that reduce pollution from stormwater runoff.

DEQ will award the remaining $12.1 million in the fund through another grant round in 2014. This will enable applicants not selected this year to identify other options for improving water quality, focusing on cost-effectiveness and enhanced stormwater management plans that address required water quality improvements. Governor McDonnell included another $20 million in the second year of his proposed budget for additional projects.

The approved projects are designed to reduce levels of phosphorus, a key pollutant in stormwater. They have relatively high environmental benefits in terms of pounds of phosphorus removed per year, and they are the most cost-effective of the proposals that DEQ considered.

In the last four years Virginia has reduced nitrogen pollution by 11.1%, phosphorus pollution by 7.7%, and sediment pollution by 6.9% in state waters. The U.S. EPA awarded Virginia with their "Biggest Loser Award" in recognition of these efforts.

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