Friday, November 30, 2012

[Peninsula-Patriots] Fw: ALERT** Groundwater Management/Groundwater Withdrawal Permit Proposed Rules**

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 of
Interstate 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 Groundwater
Management 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 4,2012
2:00 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.
PUBLIC 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:
629 East Main Street
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, 23218
(804)698-4238 FAX: (804)698-4346
Spotsylvania County
Holbert Building
Board of Supervisors Meeting Room
9104 Courthouse Road Spotsylvania, VA 22553
From: []
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2012 9:07 AM
Subject: Groundwater Management and groundwater withdrawal permit proposed rules
This 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?
Rules 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.  
Groundwater Testimony                26 November 2012
I 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.
Trudy Feigum, citizen taxpayer
Hartfield District
Middlesex County, VA
Public Hearing:  Expansion of Groundwater Management Area
I 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 to
reduce 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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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

7th Annual Christmas Market on Main to be held Saturday, December 1


November 20, 2012
     Yorktown announces the 7th Annual Yorktown Christmas Market on Main Street, to be held Saturday, December 1, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
     Located on historic Main Street, the Christmas Market will feature arts and crafts vendors with unique shopping opportunities, living history exhibits, strolling musical entertainment, classic cars, chef demonstrations, roasted chestnuts, food and more. Historic buildings and museums, including the Custom House, Yorktown Victory Center, Yorktown Battlefield, the York County Historical Museum, the Gallery at York Hall and Grace Episcopal Church will be open and decorated for the holidays.
The Town Crierwill ring in the market at 10 a.m., followed by a performance of The Fifes and Drums of York Townto officially open the market.
     Santa Clauswill greet folks along Main Street from 10 to 11 a.m. and again from 1 to 2 p.m. Strolling entertainment begins on Main Street at 10:30 a.m. with the Dickens Trio, a strolling instrumental and caroling ensemble dressed in period costume. The Santabonestrombone quartet will follow at 12:15 p.m. performing a selection of holiday arrangements with brass instruments. The entertainment on Main Street will conclude with acoustical guitarist Chris Basford,presenting an array of tunesat 1 p.m.  Look for Santa Claus at Riverwalk Landing from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
     Living history will be an ongoing theme at the market on December 1.  Members of the 1st Regiment of the Virginia Volunteers of the North-South Skirmish Association will provide a display of Civil War-era artillery at the corner of Main and Church Streets from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Civil War Belles of Dixie will be strolling the Market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., dressed in period costume, and relating to visitors the trials and tribulations of "keeping the home fires burning" while the gentlemen were away at the war. The York Privateers will offer interactive programs from the sailors of the 1700s.
     The Peninsula Model Train Club will join us again this year with its display of model trains in the lower level of York Hall from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Local collectors will display classic European cars along historic Main Street from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. York County's earliest original fire truck, a 1955 Dodge, will also be featured.
     There will be no shortage of shopping and dining opportunities during the market. Crafters will line the streets with holiday arts and crafts for sale, including a wide variety of items ranging from: Christmas greens, wreaths, trees and arrangements; jewelry, purses, fabric dolls, dresses and accessories: children's books, hair bows, and headbands; birdhouses, wine bottle plates, embroidered items, alpaca products, handmade soaps & lotions; photography, tea cups birdfeeders and lamps; pottery, cedar furniture, gift baskets, and, of course, Christmas ornaments.
     Food will be abundant and guests will have the option of sampling select menu items from the historic Yorktown dining establishments and market vendors.  Don't miss the wonderful Holiday candy-making demonstration "Sugar Plums will dance in your heads" at 2 p.m. at Carrot Tree.  Lunch and dinner specials will be offered as well from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.  A selection of seasonal treats will also be available from market vendors including: New England Clam Chowder, Greek food items; coffee, peanut brittle, jams and jellies; hot pepper sauce, homemade crackers, seasonings, spice blends, and dips; candy, chocolate fudge, popcorn, confections and peanuts. Plus, visitors will have the chance to sample complimentary fresh-roasted chestnuts (while supplies last) being served along Main Street.
     The shops along Main Street and at Riverwalk Landing will be open for shopping.  The Yorktown Shoppe will feature three local artists.  Marlene Whiting, known for her Brandywine miniatures, will introduce a new line of ornament creations. She will also sign Brandywine pieces which are available for purchase in the Shoppe. Ebb Pate will demonstrate and discuss his paintings of Yorktown and Williamsburg. Hilda Jacome will display her varied art and be available for portrait sketches. Light refreshments will be served. 
       Black Dog Gallerywill be decorated and offer holiday entertaining items including seashell trees and wreaths, original photo frames and unique holiday gift ideas. Festive holiday refreshments will be served from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Stop by their booth at this year's market and see some of their beautiful trees and wreaths. The Gallery at York Hallhosts the "Christmas in Yorktown" exhibit featuring local artists as well as art from the Senior Center of York.  Featuring new book by Author, DeeDee Wright "A Heroes Keepsake: Memories of Christmas at War."  Additionally, local artist Linda Miller will provide a Botanical demonstration in the Gallery.
The Sommerwell Market located in the Sommerwell House will be open and features apothecary products including books, spices, herbs, and handmade glassware from Jamestown Glasshouse. Civil War replicas and other 150th anniversary merchandise are available. 
     Free transportationwill be available for the Christmas Market. The Yorktown trolley will run its normal route stopping at several locations throughout town. Trolley hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors may park in any public parking area throughout historic Yorktown. Handicapped parking is located on the lower level of the Riverwalk Landing parking terrace, York Hall, the National Park Service Visitor Center, and in limited quantities at all other public parking areas. The trolley is handicapped accessible.
     No rain date is scheduled for the Christmas Market.  Should weather pose a threat to the event, please call the event weather hotline for the most current information at 890-3520.  For directions to Yorktown and a more detailed schedule of events for the holiday season, call 890-3500 or visit
     The Christmas market is co-sponsored by York County and the York County Historical Museum.

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