After months of public outcry and concerted effort by elected officials, county staff and environmental groups, Dominion Virginia Power and the Prince William Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) agreed to terms for better protecting Quantico Creek and the Potomac River when the company begins closing its five coal ash ponds at Possum Point in Dumfries.
Woodbridge Supervisor Frank J. Principi says that last December, when he raised concerns over Dominion’s plan to discharge millions of gallons of water from its coal ash ponds into Quantico Creek, many community members and fellow elected officials expressed feeling blindsided. “Not enough time was given for public education and input. There were too many questions left unanswered,” he said of the dewatering plan approved by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) in January.
“The community came together–my colleagues, county staff, local citizens, environmental groups–all working toward the common goal of protecting this important waterway and the ecosystem it supports. Last night, our collective efforts got results,” said Principi.
In January, the BOCS authorized the County attorney to file a notice of an intent to appeal Dominion’s wastewater disposal permit; this filing ultimately advanced the dialogue between the County and Dominion.
Principi noted that the agreement successfully negotiated by County Attorney Michelle Robl, along with members of PWC Department of Public Works and a subject matter expert hired by the BOCS, addresses the County’s most pressing concerns, with Dominion agreeing to:
- Reduce levels for six heavy metals, including arsenic
- Test water more frequently
- Allow testing by an independent lab
- Publish test results online
- Reimburse Prince William County for the expense of hiring a third-party subject matter expert
- Involve County in developing the solid waste permit (phase II of disposal)
“This agreement brings greater transparency and accountability; both of which I sought from day one,” said Principi. “The second phase of the pond closure comes with its own environmental challenges. Now Prince William will be part of the dialogue.”
“This partnership between Prince William County and Dominion is critical, with other important issues on the horizon that will require us to work together in search of the best balance for all stakeholders,” said Principi.
The executed agreement and supporting documentation can be found at www.newwoodbridge.org/issues/possum-point-coal-ash/.