Protect Quantico Creek from Dominion Power
Adult bald eagle resting in the shadows on Dominion Virginia Power’s Possum Point property.

Updated January 16, 2016 – Follow Us on Facebook

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, an agency tasked with protecting the state’s environmental health, has approved a plan by Dominion Virginia Power to dump toxic coal ash wastewater into Quantico Creek, a large tributary of the Potomac River, and home to a thriving bald eagle population.

Skip to How You Can Help

On January 14, 2016, following months of public concern, media coverage, and legal action, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Water Control Board approved Dominion Power’s plan to dump millions of gallons of largely untreated coal ash wastewater into Quantico Creek, a large basin teeming with wildlife nestled among undisturbed wetlands.

The inexplicable move by Governor McAuliffe’s DEQ has been labeled a violation of the Clean Water Act1 by the Southern Environmental Law Center and the Potomac Riverkeeper Network, two organizations leading the effort to force Dominion into using environmentally sound cleanup practices for their toxic coal ash wastewater ponds located at the company’s Possum Point Power Station.
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. – Harry Wiggins, Letter to Potomac Local
Dominion’s plan to dump largely untreated wastewater into Quantico Creek seems to favor cost savings, and disregards available filtering technologies that would allow the company to discharge wastewater that has been treated to more closely match the natural levels of toxicity found in the creek.

We strongly oppose this action and need your help to ensure that it is defeated.

How You Can Help


Active bald eagle nest on Dominion’s property.

Just a few minutes of your time could be critical toward stopping an environmental tragedy that stands to affect residents of Virginia and Maryland.

Most importantly, we need you to sign our petition that will be presented to Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, asking his office to investigate DEQ’s response to Dominion’s proposed plan, and intervene if necessary.

We need numbers to achieve success, so please share the petition link with your friends and family through email and on social media.

1) SIGN OUR PETITION ON CHANGE.ORG

We’re asking Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and DEQ Director David Paylor to deny Dominion’s request to dump millions of gallons of potentially harmful, toxic coal ash wastewater into Quantico Creek. We’re also asking EPA Director Gina McCarthy to investigate Dominion’s plan as a violation of the Clean Water Act. Click Here to Sign Petition

2) CALL, EMAIL OR WRITE KEY DECISION MAKERS

Your voice is needed to pressure Governor McAuliffe, the DEQ and Dominion Power into making the right decision for Virginia’s environmental and public health. Here is a list of key decision makers who could work toward stopping this plan at anytime. Please communicate a brief message to any or all of these offices, asking them to reconsider Dominion’s plan in light of serious environmental concerns outlined by experts who have been monitoring this situation.

Terry McAuliffe, Governor of Virginia
804-786-2211 | Email Form | Website

Paul Reagan, Chief of Staff to Governor McAuliffe
804-225-4804 | paul.reagan@governor.virginia.gov | Website

David Paylor, Director of Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
804-698-4020 | david.paylor@deq.virginia.gov | Website

Thomas F. Farrell II, President & CEO of Dominion Virginia Power
804-819-2112 | thomas.farrell@dom.com | Website

3) MAKE A DONATION TO POTOMAC RIVERKEEPER NETWORK

Potomac Riverkeeper Network develops practical, long-term solutions to some of the most important water quality issues faced by our region. They are the only group operating within the Potomac Watershed that offers a unique focus on legal advocacy to adequately protect our rivers and streams. Potomac Riverkeeper Network, working with the Southern Environmental Law Center, has led the legal fight against Dominion’s plan to pollute Quantico Creek, but they are a small organization and donations go a long way toward reaching our shared goal of protecting our vital natural spaces. Click Here to Make a Donation

Visit Potomac Riverkeeper Network Website Visit Southern Environmental Law Center Website


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Press Coverage

Prince William Chairman Corey Stewart: Dominion is a ‘horrible corporate citizen’
January 15, 2016 – InsideNova
Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart had strong words for the state board that gave Virginia Dominion Power its blessing Thursday to move forward with plans to treat and flush about 200 million gallons of coal-ash water into Quantico Creek. Stewart said he’s “disgusted” by the State Water Control Board’s vote and called Dominion “a horrible corporate citizen.”…[READ MORE]

Supervisor Principi Says More Answers Needed on Possum Point Coal Ash Disposal
January 15, 2016 – Prince William Living
There are still many questions to be answered. Why wasn’t the filtration process discussed and agreed upon prior to permit approval? Why wasn’t testing of the toe drain performed prior to mid-December? What is the timeline for dewatering? It is a disservice to the people of Virginia for VDEQ to approve the dewatering permit without requiring answers or responses to all public questions and comments…[READ MORE]

Virginia OKs coal ash wastewater dumping at power plant
January 14, 2016 – WUSA*9
Minutes after the State Water Control Board approved the permit Thursday, opponents said they planned to challenge the action in court. They contend the so-called dewatering at Possum Point Power Station in Dumfries would harm spawning striped bass and other aquatic life. The board is also conducting a separate hearing on coal ash discharges from a Fluvanna County plant into the James River….[READ MORE]

State board approves Dominion permit to dump coal-ash water in Quantico Creek
January 14, 2016 – InsideNova
The Virginia Water Control Board on Thursday approved Dominion Virginia’s Power’s request to drain treated coal-ash water into Quantico Creek. The board approved the permit in a 6-1 vote. The utility can now begin draining about 200 million gallons of treated water into the creek near the Possum Point power plant, which flows into the Potomac River…[READ MORE]

Dominion wins permit to discharge treated coal-ash water into Va. creek
January 14, 2016 – Washington Post
The company’s $325 million plan has sparked widespread opposition from environmentalists and state officials in Northern Virginia and Maryland, who complain that the standards for water treatment in the permit are not stringent enough to protect fish and other wildlife in the area….[READ MORE]

Va. should set tougher standards on this environmental threat
January 13, 2016 – Washington Post
The Chesapeake Bay watershed faces a new environmental threat as Virginia’s State Water Control Board considers final approval of Dominion Virginia Power’s request to empty more than 200 million gallons of treated toxic coal-ash wastewater from the Possum Point Power Station in Dumfries into Quantico Creek, a Potomac River tributary…[READ MORE]

This Energy Company Wants To Legally Dump Coal Ash Waste Into Virginia Rivers
January 13, 2016 – Washington Post
Michael Pace, an aquatic ecologist from the University of Virginia, said in an email that it is well known that coal ash contains toxic materials, especially heavy metals. “These metals can be harmful to aquatic life. Some of them accumulate and biomagnify in food chains.”…[READ MORE]

This Energy Company Wants To Legally Dump Coal Ash Waste Into Virginia Rivers
January 12, 2016 – ThinkProgress
Michael Pace, an aquatic ecologist from the University of Virginia, said in an email that it is well known that coal ash contains toxic materials, especially heavy metals. “These metals can be harmful to aquatic life. Some of them accumulate and biomagnify in food chains.”…[READ MORE]

Possum Point decision expected this week; Feds urge delay
January 12, 2016 – Potomac Local
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Fairfax, Prince William) said more time is needed to review the proposed action before Thursday’s meeting, He also want to amend a federal law to require groundwater monitoring around the Possum Point site for 30 years after the closure of the ponds…[READ MORE]

Officials consider legal action to stop Dominion coal-ash flushing
January 12, 2016 – InsideNova
“We think [Dominion has] been contaminating the water for decades. We’re afraid these ponds have been contaminating the river, the creek and leaking into the groundwater,” Principi said. “Hopefully calmer heads will prevail and there will be more testing of the water, rather than having the permit approved and doing it after the fact.”…[READ MORE]

Dominion’s Plans to Drain Coal Ash Ponds Raising Concern
January 11, 2016 – Bay Journal
An environmental group was threatening to sue Dominion Virginia Power over the mere presence of outmoded coal ash ponds near Quantico Creek’s intersection with the Potomac River when the power plant announced plans last month to do away with them — by draining them into the nearest waterway…[READ MORE]

Letter: Dominion Power’s Possum Point situation needs attention
January 5, 2016 – InsideNova
Further, having been caught with their pants down, Dominion now has the temerity to seek permission to dump some 150-million gallons of highly contaminated water into Quantico Creek. Mr. Thomas says there is “low likelihood” this 150-million gallons will contaminate nearby wells used by some of Dominion’s neighbors…[READ MORE]

Belvoir Eagle | Quantico Sentry Toxic chemicals from power plant leak into Quantico Creek
December 10, 2015 – InsideNova
Toxic chemicals have been seeping into Quantico Creek for decades from Dominion Virginia Power’s Possum Point power station in Dumfries, an official with the state Department of Environmental Quality acknowledged Tuesday. Bryant Thomas, a DEQ water permits and planning manager, said state regulators had long thought pipes extending from the power plant to Quantico Creek were draining only storm water…[READ MORE]

Dominion’s plan to pump wastewater draws concern in Va.
December 9, 2015 – WUSA*9
WUSA*9 interviewed Bradley Caricofe with Potomac River Bald Eagles concerning Dominion’s plan to dump coal ash wastewater into Quantico Creek, a thriving habitat for our nation’s symbol.



Dominion chose cheapest plan: Dump toxic waste into Prince William waters
December 6, 2015 – Potomac Local
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…[READ MORE]

Supervisor Principi Raises Concerns about Dominion’s Coal Ash Pond Dumping in Dumfries
December 2, 2015 – Prince William Living
Woodbridge Supervisor Frank Principi is raising concerns about Dominion Virginia Power’s proposal to empty, or “dewater,” its coal ash storage pond at Possum Point in Dumfries, Va. in a manner that violates the Clean Water Act and Virginia’s toxicity standards for aquatic life. The VDEQ is currently reviewing the proposal…[READ MORE]

Treat and release: What Dominion wants to do with toxic water at Possum Point
November 29, 2015 – Potomac Local
Such self-reporting requirements are common in cases like these as Dominion could rack up several penalties that could lead to major fines if incorrect information on water contaminants is given to state authorities, said Thomas….[READ MORE]

Dominion doubles down on leaking coal ash storage at Possum Point Power Station
November 24, 2015 – Washington Post
The legislators, state Sen. Dave Marsden and Delegates David L Bulova and Scott A. Surovell, all Democrats whose districts include the power station, said the complexity of Dominion’s proposal warranted more extensive examination by their constituents before environmental officials make a decision about the plan…[READ MORE]

It will take Dominion up to 4 years to close coal ash ponds at Possum Point
July 14, 2015 – Potomac Local
Coal ash contains toxic chemicals including arsenic, cadmium and selenium, which are exposed when stored with water in the coal ash ponds, according to Will Cleveland, an attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC)…[READ MORE]

Dominion Virginia moving ahead with controversial unlined coal ash storage pit
July 8, 2015 – Utility Drive
The environmental groups want Dominion to haul the ash to a lined landfill, which is what Duke Energy Carolinas is now doing after hundreds of millions of dollars in losses and fines stemming from the February 2014 Dan River coal ash spill…[READ MORE]

Dominion doubles down on leaking coal ash storage at Possum Point Power Station
July 6, 2015 – Southern Environment Law Center
Two national news outlets (Washington Post and Associated Press) recently investigated the handling of coal ash at Dominion’s Possum Point Power Station in Dumfries, VA, where approximately 3.7 million cubic yards of the toxic waste is being stored in leaking pits near the Potomac River…[READ MORE]

In Northern Va., environmentalists concerned about disposal of coal ash
July 2, 2015 – Washington Post
“Most people in Northern Virginia have no idea we have hazardous waste in our back yard on the shores of the Potomac River,” said state Del. Scott A. Surovell (D-Fairfax), a candidate for the 36th District Senate seat. “It’s full of nasty stuff like lead and chromium .?.?. You go out there in a boat and you see all kinds of people fishing for dinner.”…[READ MORE]

Critics say Dominion Power needs to slow down coal ash plan
June 27, 2015 – WDBJ
Environmental and water protection groups say Dominion Virginia Power is jumping the gun on the closure of coal ash impoundments at a northern Virginia power plant, and they’re asking regulators to step in…[READ MORE]

Environmental groups fearful Virginia utility coal ash plan will leave permanent pollutant
June 27, 2015 – Star Tribune
Environmental and water protection groups say Dominion Virginia Power is jumping the gun on the closure of coal ash impoundments at a northern Virginia power plant and they’re asking state and federal regulators to step in…[READ MORE]

Potomac Riverkeeper Calls on EPA to Investigate Dominion’s Handling of Coal Ash Waste at Possum Point Power Plant
June 26, 2015 – Potomac Riverkeeper Network
In a recent flyover, PRKN discovered that Dominion completely drained all the waste water from a 240 million gallon coal ash waste pond at Possum Point. Dominion claims it drained approximately 52 million gallons of toxic coal ash water out of one…[READ MORE]

Coal ash ponds at Possum Point near Quantico pose risk to residents
April 26, 2015 – Potomac Local
Water quality reports from the tidal Potomac River still show impairments of numerous metals and toxins such as PCB’s and mercury. Eliminating the sources of these contaminants is a vital step in solving these problems…[READ MORE]

Reference Notes

1. Southern Environmental Law Center & Potomac Riverkeeper Network, Comments on Draft VPDES Permit No. VA0002071 for Possum Point Power Station, December 14, 2015