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Dominion chose cheapest plan: Dump toxic waste into Prince William waters

Letter to the editor 

Dominion Power has applied for a permit to discharge millions of gallons of toxic waste water into Quantico Creek, a tidal water way that flows in to the Potomac River and eventually in to the Chesapeake Bay.  

The toxic waste that Dominion is proposing to discharge comes from unlined coal ash ponds at the Possum Point power plant that are leaking in to ground water and contains fatal to life heavy metals including arsenic, chromium, lead, mercury and numerous other toxic and life killing substances.  

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is the state agency responsible for review and approval of Dominions application and seems inclined to approve a permit that will make Quantico Creek and the discharge area in the Potomac River unusable for recreation, fishing or any human activity for years to come due to the level of toxicity that Dominion is proposing to dump in to the creek.  

For example, in coal ash pond D the level of arsenic in the water is nearly 1,000 times the naturally occurring levels found in Quantico Creek. Remarkably, Dominion’s application sets no limits on the amount of toxic and life fatal material that it could discharge in to the Creek.  

For the past 50 years Dominion has been contaminating the creek with surreptitious discharges in to the Creek, the Potomac Riverkeepers, a non-profit organization that advocates for a clean Potomac has been monitoring Dominions discharges and have found startling levels of toxic materials being discharged in to the Creek and the Potomac River.  

What Dominion is proposing will lead to centuries of a degraded water way.  

There is another way, there are viable ways to filter and clean the waste water that Dominion wants to discharge and bring the discharge to levels of toxicity that are found naturally in Quantico Creek. Dominion, however, is choosing the cheapest route: dump millions of gallons of toxic waste water in to the Creek, and just too bad for Prince William County.  

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently had an “information session” to present an overview of the permit request. My observation of that event that was sparsely attended, due to the failure of DEQ to adequately advertise it, was that DEQ is nothing more than an arm of Dominion.  

I would like to commend Senator-elect and current Delegate Scott Surovell, Delegate Luke Torian and Delegate David Bulova for attending the session and calling in to question Dominions flawed proposal. Unfortunately, Supervisor Maureen Caddigan, whose district the proposal impacts the most, was unavailable to attend one of the most pressing issues facing the Potomac Magisterial District.

There will be a Public Hearing on Dominions proposal on Dec. 8, 2016 at 7 p.m. at DEQs Northern Regional Office, 13901 Crown Court, Woodbridge, VA 22192. If you want to stop Dominion’s plan to poison Prince William County please attend and speak up.  

Formal comments are due to DEQ no later than Dec. 14, 2015, both the Potomac Riverkeepers and the Southern Environmental Law Center are working tirelessly to help save Prince William County from Dominions toxic waste attack.

Harry Wiggins is the head of the Prince William County Democratic Committee. 

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  • Harry Wiggins and I disagree (huge understatement) regularly about a number of things. This isn’t one of them. Excellent letter Harry! It demonstrates the power of citizen journalists.

    In today’s world, we are all Journalists!

  • George S. Harris

    What part does the Clean Water Act have on this decision by Dominion? The Clean Water Act protects navigable waterways and their tributaries. The rule says that a tributary must show physical features of flowing water – a bed, bank, and ordinary high water mark – to warrant protection. The rule provides protection for headwaters that have these features and science shows can have a significant connection to downstream waters. Surely Quantico Creek meets these criteria. How could DEQ come to any other decision than to deny Dominion’s request?

  • TC

    It’s quite an indictment of our educational system that despite his advance years Al Alborn still doesn’t understand the difference between what legitimate journalists do and what he does.

    • Spartacus

      Thank you, TC, for that insightful and helpful comment. Surely it will help in forming my opinions of DomPow, Prince Willie, and Quantico Creek environment.

  • Keret

    Wrong TC……..Al brings a lot to the discussion of local government. He is very well spoken, articulate and genuinely interested in making our community a better place…unlike some others who get their jollies by bashing positive people like Al…..Go back to your cave TC. What does TC stand for? Tough cra.

  • Councilman Brewer

    Harry, Harry, Harry!
    Open mouth and insert foot again. DEQ is a State Agency and the last time I looked we have a Democratic Governor and have had one for a number of years! With that said, DEQ had NO enforcement powers. They had to negotiate any violations whatsoever. It wasn’t until the Dumfries Town Council and the citizens of Dumfries pointed this out and exposed the state and demanded the Governor (Warner) give DEQ enforcement powers due to a continuing problem we were having with concrete companies dumping chemical into Quantico Creek. Luckily it was an election year. You could have asked them to grown breasts and they all would swallow a bottle of hormone pills just to get re-elected. Pathetic wouldn’t you say?
    So you and all your Democratic colleagues are just NOW finding out about this? Better do your homework! When the state wanted to open an Ethanol Plant on Possum Point Road which would endanger the wellbeing of all the residents who lived near and around this, where were you and your democratic homeboys? Out to lunch! Maureen Caddigan stopped that catastrophe. I’m sure she will be in our corner again. As for your help Harry, thanks but no thanks, we will count on Maureen.

  • Councilman Brewer

    Clarification
    From last comment
    The state didn’t want to open the ethanol plant, a private company wanted to open it but the state wanted to allow it.

  • Harry Wiggins

    Cliff, Cliff, Cliff, is anything in my letter incorrect? Did Caddigan show up at the DEQ session or not? NOT! In fact where were you? As an elected official who apparently has an interest in the issue you should have been there as well.

  • Brad Caricofe

    I was responsible for bringing both tv stations to the DEQ meeting. Prior to that I reached out to Harry for some quick background info and to-date, have received no response. I then asked the Democratic Party of PWC to share our petition which was approved by Potomac Riverkeepers; again, no response. I’m wondering how badly Harry and his supporters really want to fight this measure.

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