Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Hazel Run is at risk

Hazel Run is a waterway that runs from Fredericksburg into Spotsylvania County.

The waterway is also at risk, according to this article by Rusty Dennen.

I reported a few years ago about how the county was fined for dozens of sewer spills, which led the county to issue warnings to residents.

Dennen also recently reported that the county was fined for a leakage into waterways from a water storage tank at the old Chancellor landfill.

In Dennen’s story today, the following is why environmentalists are alarmed:

From December 2009 to August of this year, FOR volunteer monitors gathered monthly data on the presence of E. coli bacteria at six locations in the 17-square mile Hazel Run watershed. E. coli are associated with human and animal fecal waste and indicate the presence of waterborne pathogens that can cause ear, eye and stomach ailments.

The study found that 11 of 46 water samples exceeded the state standard, with the highest amounts detected after heavy rains.

A sample taken in April on the main stem of Hazel Run, where it joins the Rappahannock, had six times the allowable limit. The problem appears to be linked to leaky sewage pipes.

If you care about water quality, the story offers these tips:

  • Clean up after your pet
  • Keep stormwater on property by planting native plants and installing a rain capturing barrel a rain garden
  • Support sewage treatment plant upgrades
  • Inspect your septic system regularly and have it pumped
  • Volunteer as a water quality monitor

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  • LarryG

    Not just Hazel Run – most/all area creeks that drain areas that have been developed are not in good condition due to impervious surfaces, steep slopes that are not original natural slopes and storm water runoff.

    it’s not that easy and “feel good” measures won’t really address the real problems.

    we need to have comprehensive water quality data to know what the specific problems are – along the watershed.

    In some places, it might be septic tanks, in others impervious services, in yet others – steep slopes that are eroding.

    Do we actually have pet feces in the water all up and down the creek? I seriously doubt it.

    Remember – most woods have critters… lots of critters – squirrels, raccoons, possums – and they poop – and they have been pooping for thousands of years without “polluting” creeks so there is more going on than just pet feces. unless there are LOTS of pets pooping everywhere – and I do doubt that as they. are probably a small percentage of the total pooping critters in forested areas.

    The bigger problem is that just telling people to clean up after their pets is not going to be effective as a solution… and we really do not even have anything concrete to base that advice on to start with.

    Why a rain barrel? It’s not really going to do anything in any one inch+ or more rain… which is going to easily and quickly overflow the rain barrel and then runoff into the streams.

    It’s whats on the ground between the house and the creek that is the problem and I’ve yet to see a study that would tell us how effective rain barrels are (or are not) but if you look at the average storm pond and think of it in terms of how many rain barrels it would take to duplicate that volume – you”d realize how silly this idea really is.

    Look at the more modern developments that have storm ponds – a realize that rain barrels are less than 1% (if that much) of the capacity of those ponds.

    We all want to “feel good” about doing “something” to do our part but what we really need to do is recognize the realities and what it is going to really take to deal with the problem – and it’s going to involve money from each of us, and in reality – the creation of storm water authorities that will be facilities that will capture and sequester runoff – even treat it in some cases before releasing it – and comprehensive monitoring to monitor performance and to use that data to make further improvements.

    this is no free lunch on this and while “feel good” measures might make some feel “good” – if we are really and truly serious about the problem – we need to have real performance metrics – and measure – up and down the watershed…. and fix the problems as they are identified.

    Developers and Taxpayers probably will need to be paying into a fund to do this and the folks who say they care about this problem – need to be honest about what it will take to really improve things.